South Side Schools Thread (Guest Post by Maureen Kelleher)

March 26, 2014 at 10:41 pm 565 comments

South Side

We now have an official South Side post where people can share information and questions about schools on the South Side – written by an ex-CPS writer! Woo!

*Please note that the commentary below reflects subjective comments about these schools written in 2014.   You’re encouraged to post further information in the comments and to visits schools yourself.  With schools, beauty often lies in the eyes of the beholder and people experience schools differently.**

As long as I’m posting, I’ll out myself. My name is Maureen Kelleher and I spent 10 year covering CPS for Catalyst Chicago, mostly focused on high schools. These days I write about education beyond Chicago and am raising a four-year-old with my husband in Back of the Yards, so knowing the South Side schools has become personal. I’m focusing on elementary schools and throwing in all kinds: CPS, charter, and parochial.

For this post I’m going to list schools by neighborhood that are (or perhaps should be) getting buzz on the blog and invite South Side readers to add, comment and share their impressions.
Orozco is a bilingual gifted center that should have more kids going on to academic centers and selective enrollment high schools. Got a new principal recently and I don’t know how that is going. Two Catholic schools: St. Pius and St. Procopius. Pius is small and looking to grow. Procopius has a strong dual-language program I know of CPS teachers who send their kids there. On Zillow, Walsh and Perez get high ratings. I believe Perez is on the upswing from what parents tell me. It’s small. Jungman in East Pilsen was on the closing list and fought its way off.
James Ward has the numbers as a great neighborhood school. Sheridan Math and Science magnet is here and is well-regarded. Healy gets good reviews on Zillow. Armour was on the school closing list last year but won a reprieve.
Chinatown/Bronzeville I’ll kick off with NTA, both for its neighborhood program and RGC, Haines, which gets good reviews and has good test scores (if memory serves), and St. Therese, which offers Mandarin to everybody and conversational Spanish. (We thought about it but rumor has it you have to get on the wait list when your child is born.) Daystar Academy is a Christian school in South Loop/Bronzeville that I know has drawn families.
Little Village: Saucedo is a magnet that made news for boycotting ISAT. It shares space with Telpochcalli, a neighborhood small school with dual-language Spanish, a strong arts program, and test scores that scare some people away.
McKinley Park/Back of the Yards
Namaste Charter in McKinley Park offers the option of dual-language Spanish and focuses on health and wellness. Chavez Elementary is Level I and apparently didn’t accept out-of-neighborhood kids this year. It is very strong in math and improving in literacy. I’ve been there and I’m impressed.
Other RGS in mid-South
Beasley RCG is at 52nd and State, in the heart of what was the Robert Taylor Homes. I just met one of their kindergarten teachers and liked her, but the school has struggled for years to attract and keep families from beyond the immediate area. Carnegie RGC in Woodlawn has had pretty similar struggles, I believe–feel free to correct me on this.
Non-Beverly Far South RGCs and Classical Schools
Lenart is small, located at 81st and LaSalle (so near the Ryan). Poe is at 105th and Langley. I visited there years ago and really liked it–Poe parents, tell us how it is now! McDade Classical is at 88th and Indiana.
Hyde Park
Ray has long been the most coveted neighborhood elementary school in the area, but it has been through some principal turnover lately and I gather parents are feeling disenchanted. Shoesmith is an up and comer; as is Harte.
Kershaw has an IB Primary and Middle Years program–they teach Mandarin.
A Near North Montessori veteran founded The Montessori School of Englewood to bring Montessori back to the children Maria Montessori started the whole thing with. I toured it last fall and think they will grow into a marvelous school. (But they don’t do Spanish–at least not yet–so we won’t be going there now.) Almost hate to put it here but figure they won’t get deluged, even by us South Siders.
Vanderpoel, Kellogg, Sutherland get rated above 5 on Zillow. Clissold has Montessori. Keller RGC is here.
I’d do more but I have to go make dinner. Bring on your comments!

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2014: Annual Elementary MAGNET and NEIGHBORHOOD Mailbox Watch Can “giftedness” be taught? To all kids?

565 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dad in 60655  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention Mt. Greenwood Elementary. The school is busting at the seems with kids fighting to get into the school. A recent addition was added and the test scores rival Keller.

    As the principal at MTG likes to say, “I don’t get to cherry pick my students, and we still pull the best scores in the city.” Every year MTG sends kids to Ag, jones, WY, and Payton.

    Chicago Magazine ranked MTG one of the best in the City. However, the proof in the pudding is the mass exodus of students leaving the numerous Catholic grade schools and enrolling in the CPS neighborhood school.

  • 2. South Loop Mom  |  March 26, 2014 at 11:52 pm

    Maureen – If you want an excellent Spanish program + Montessori, Ancona in Kenwood is phenomenal. If we could afford private comfortably and didn’t have a great CPS option, I’d send my kids to Ancona in a heartbeat.

  • 3. South side obsessed  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:22 am

    So glad to have the south side post,,, I refused to even apply to Beasley & Carneige. They are rgc in name only. I called cps & asked them to differentiate b/t the Beasley rgc scores & the neighborhood & they refused. I called Beasley six times & asked for this information. They never gave it to me & I decided that’s not the place I want my child. You forgot Murray in Hyde Park. It’s not what it used to be but still very coveted. Black in south shore/pill hill is great for the younger grades but as the kids get older . . . They are a magnet school w/neighborhood school problems. South shore fine arts academy used to be a good school. But last year w/the school closings they merged w/Fermi. Now they are doomed to have the same test scores Fermi did. There’s a reason why Fermi closed! Just my two cents.

  • 4. Pie Chart Professor  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:36 am

    A common thread — slightly more north is South Loop Elem — we did the same: asked for RGC scores vs neighborhood scores and were also ignored. IMO there is no way that they don’t have that data! Wonder why CPS and schools avoid providing this info as requested?

    That aside, anyone have commentary on NTA neighborhood program?

  • 5. Counterpoint for discussion  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

    All good, but don’t rely on Zillow for the meat of your thesis points. Not solid journalism. You said bring it:)

  • 6. Beverly Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:09 am

    5. Counterpoint for discussion | March 27, 2014 at 12:41 am

    You’re correct, no one should rely on Zillow. I’ve been at every school in the Beverly Network (which includes Morgan Park & Mt Greenwood). Each school has something unique that adds to the flavor of their school. I will say that I think Sutherland grammar school is the best school~with the most rigorous academics. It also sends the most kids to the academic center at Whitney Young from a neighborhood school and the kids that start 9th grade usually start with Honors Geometry.

  • 7. Brighton Park  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:10 am

    An addition to McKinley Park is Horizon Science Academy. I’ve heard great things about this school.

    Brighton park has Gunsaulus. If I’m not mistaken that is the only magnet school in the area.

    Brighton park is filled with Uno charter schools. I have 7 within two miles of me.

  • 8. Veteran  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Dore in the Clearing neighborhood and Stevenson in the Ashburn neighborhood are great neighborhood schools as is Mount Greenwood in Mount Greenwood. Check out their scores on ISBE.
    Neighborhood schools that take all and still manage to do a fairly decent job.

  • 9. A Team  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Why has Murray fallen off? I have accepted for Kindergarten in the fall. If I receive a call from any of my waitlist schools, I’ll have a tough decision to make. Murray is close to home and my youngest current preschool. Other options would give us a commute every day. Any insight?

  • 10. BeverlyParent  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Very happy to have a southside forum! @3 & 4 When I visited NTA in the fall the principal said that CPS does not distinguish the scores from the RGC and the neighborhood program. I imagine it is in CPS’s best interest not to, because the RGC scores will probably be extremely helpful to a school’s overall scores.
    @ 6 and anyone else…I would love some more info on Sutherland, which is our neighborhood choice. We are hesitant to give up a seat at an RGC, but I hear good things about Sutherland and it would be a lot closer.

  • 11. BeverlyParent  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:55 am

    @ 4 Some additional info on NTA’s neighborhood program from my tour….they are currently Level 3 (lowest in CPS), but they lost many students and gained a lot of new students from a closed school. The principal is supportive of integrating the two groups of students in the contexts of lunch, recess and specials. I also met the K teacher for the neighborhood program. She works closely with the teacher and classroom from the RGC. I think their rooms were connected?? She was doing many of the same things with regard to using technology in the classroom, writer’s workshop, etc. They also have student teachers in the classrooms, because it is an AUSL school. I personally would consider the neighborhood program for a sibling if not accepted to the RGC.

  • 12. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Thank you Maureen this was a great idea! Currently my kindergardener commutes to NKO in Hyde Park. We live in Barnard district. Is it getting better? Applied to all listed schools and on the waitlist in the 30-50 range. And he tested poorly! Is there any hope?

  • 13. South side obsessed  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:17 am

    @10. You are right cps has a motive for not distinguishing the scores. However as a prospective parent, if the school has a great rgc & a not so great neighborhood program, I would consider applying to the rgc. However the way they currently do it, I don’t know whether it’s the rgc & the neighborhood that has low tests scores or just the neighborhood. So I don’t waste one of my precious choices applying.
    @9 I am a graduate of Murray. At one point Murray had test scores that compared to the North side magnet schools. Not know. So while those schools may be ranked a 10, Murray is an 8. That said, if I my child had got accepted into Murray, I would be beating down the doors to accept. The fact that you live close & will get sibling preference is worth it. I have had children in schools in which we commuted & schools that were close. It is just easier on the child & the parents if the school is close w/o sacrificing academics. Hope this helps.

  • 14. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Yes it helps a bit. Do waitlist on the south end of the city move? like up north. I would be taking a big risk with our district schools. It just got off of probation & new principal has it moving in the right direction. Its just the wait and see game!

  • 15. ParentN  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I’m in Chicago Lawn, so pretty centrally located in the South side. We tried the Montessori School of Englewood in the fall for PK3. All of the teachers were wonderful, but I hated the building which is an annex at O’Toole. It’s a full-day program (8am-3:45pm M-Th, 8am-12:45 F), but they have no playground, no cafeteria, and no gym. The kids have to walk over to O’Toole for lunch. Because they are adding grade levels each year, I imagine they’ll need another building change in the near future. I ended up pulling my son out because the hours were difficult for us. Although they have naptime, my kid refused to nap at school and he had a temper tantrum fest every afternoon. I’d consider going back this fall, but I’m still leery of the full day, and they also don’t use the sliding scale fee for PreK. It’s free for Head Start, but anyone who isn’t free is charged tuition of $450/mo. It’s a little steep for me.

    I planned to apply for PK4 at Mt Greenwood for this fall, but they aren’t hosting preschool this year. I plan to apply at Lenart (I called, and they do morning PK3 in the am, and PK4 in the pm) and I’m not too sure about the other 2 choices. I’m thinking Dore and Grimes. I’d appreciate any thoughts on those schools.

  • 16. A Team  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Yes that helps alot!!!! Thank you!

    I hear from my girlfriend Sutherland is a wonderful school. Although they tested for Classical, they received no offers. She’s very pleased with her neighborhood option.

  • 17. Concerned Parent  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Thank you for this Maureen! Appreciate you thinking of the south side. I have 3 daughters. My 2 olders are settled in their schools, Lane Tech & WhitneyY. But my youngest is in our neighborhood school in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood , only a 2nd grader. I tested her for Rgc / Classical missed it no offer & I was hoping for Keller my other girls attended there. My 3rd grader is on wait list at Sheridan (I attended there) but I am very desperate to get her out of our neighborhood school being that we have been thru 4 principals & it just is not the same academic experience it once was. However, these boundaries that come to play cause a major problem & nightmare for a parent who is just unhappy with the current school. We have a ton of other schools I would be happy to send my child to near by but their neighborhood schools. Anything I’m missing?

  • 18. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:41 am

    Were 56 on the waitlist for Sutherland. I love my neighbors other wise Id sell our home and move.It seems easier!lol

  • […] South Side Schools Thread CPS Obsessed: My name is Maureen Kelleher and I spent 10 year covering CPS for Catalyst Chicago, mostly focused on high schools. For this post I’m going to list schools by neighborhood that are (or perhaps should be) getting buzz on the blog and invite South Side readers to add, comment and share their impressions. […]

  • 20. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Thanks to everyone who is adding to the thread. I know I left out a lot of great schools–I wrote that in 20 minutes before dinner duty earlier this week–so please add to the schools under discussion. And yes, counterpoint and the other person who noted Zillow is not a strong source, you’re right. I basically used it as a memory-jogger.

    Really hoping this is just the spark that will light up a whole lot of useful info for south side parents. Thanks again to all!

  • 21. Former Pilsen Dad  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:07 am

    What the southside needs is more SEHS, west of Western Ave. I know lots of kids that commute via bus/train and carpool from Pulaski & 67th st. to Lane Tech/Westinghouse/ Whitney Young. Lot’s of parents from pilsen choose Christo Rey High School over SEHS.

  • 22. SutherlandParent  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:10 am

    Thanks Maureen and CPSO! Great to see a South Side thread! I’ve been really interested to see all the waitlist numbers for the neighborhood 19th Ward schools (Kellogg, Sutherland, etc) in other posts, which I don’t ever recall seeing before. I thought most of the 19th Ward schools manage to fill up most years with kids from within district. That’s what our real estate agent told us when we moved here, anyway 🙂

    I’ve heard for years that Clissold waitlists because of the Montessori program, but it’s always been really rare in the past for Sutherland to accept more than a couple of kids from outside the boundaries, if it happens at all.

    Have I just been out of the loop, or is this a new CPS thing? I wonder if it has anything to do with the shift to per-pupil funding and principals trying to get as many kids as they can into the school?

  • 23. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

    I heard parent are unhappy Sutherlands principal was let go. I was hoping this would work out to our favor. Any feed back?

  • 24. PilsenMom  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Love this! Our family has been in Pilsen for the last 30 years. I’m very familiar w/ a lot of the neighborhood CPS, charter, and parochial options.

  • 25. Rachel K  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Hi, thank you for adding a South side feed!

    I have 2 kids – my son is a freshman at Mt Carmel and my daughter is a 1st grader at Poe Classical and we are very pleased with her development there. She’s currently reading at a 3rd grade level. Homework is strenuous and lots of testing. Last year, there was an extremely messy issue with the non-renewal of the principal’s contract (still in arbitration) but we have a new principal and AP and both are doing a great job. Class sizes could be smaller (27-30) but that’s CPS, not Poe. Sketchy neighborhood immediately surrounding the school but slowly gentrifying with the addition of the new Method factory and business development (Walmart/Ross) nearby.

    I’ve had lots of conversations with friends who are running north for WY/Lane Tech, etc and asked why they didn’t apply to Brooks. Most didn’t know about the school. The acting principal Mr. Weaver was the AP at Payton before he came to Brooks and he is revitalizing the school. My niece attends and she is excelling with a 4.1 GPA (freshman) in all honors classes. Rigorous instruction, strong partnerships with Northwestern University and others, beautiful campus. I don’t know why anyone would allow their kid to commute so far north when there are viable educational options on the south side.

  • 26. 19th ward Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:04 am

    @25 Rachel K

    Thanks for bringing up Poe. My daughters meet some kids from Poe at a summer program last year, very super smart kids. I was curious about the school because I had never heard it mention in the CPSObsessed threads and I was blown away by their ISAT scores. Those kids are killing it. I think Poe is a well hidden secret gem.

    In regards to Brooks. I really wanted to consider this school from kids, but here are my 3 issues with it:
    1. Very concerned about the issues with the principal. With all the lawsuits this summer, ex-principal being sued by the alderman, allegations of financial fraud with the “found” funds from a old Mendel bank account. It made me wonder who was in charge there, and what interest where they looking to move forward, their own or the kids.
    2. I believe in diversity and keeping my kids in a diverse environment. Very disappointing this school has not done more to achieve that goal (i.e Lindblom’s shuttle bus service)
    3. This probably impacts my point #2, but I want my kids to have some level of independence in high school. I want them to get to school back and forth by themselves. But the area between I-57 and Brooks is a no mans land. Way too many gangs and shootings happen in that area for me to feel comfortable with them catching the 111th bus through that area. No mind you the immediate area around Brooks is very nice, and it is a gorgeous campus.

  • 27. In Bridgeport  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:11 am

    It’s great to have a South Side thread! My son was accepted to Lenart for Kindergarten. We are a little concerned about the commute from Bridgeport, although it’s really not far. Any thoughts on Lenart? Any others with an offer there? If yes, I’d love to know where you’d be commuting your child from. Thanks.

  • 28. chimom1920  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:12 am

    daughter is in at Beasley RGC… does anyone have info on this school? Kindergarten program… Thx!

  • 29. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

    @South Loop Mom–thanks for the tip on Ancona. We cannot afford private comfortably (stretching to pay for private preschool now) and are lucky enough to have a strong neighborhood option. I did not know Ancona does Spanish. If our ship ever comes in… 🙂

  • 30. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

    @ChrisK how do you like NKO? Haven’t been there in years but was very impressed when I saw it back in the day. I don’t know about Barnard. Have you visited? Beverly parents with wait list experience, it would be great to hear whether those schools’ lists move. I will say I live far enough north of Beverly and Mount Greenwood to be in the dark except for a little knowledge of Keller.

  • 31. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:26 am

    @15 Nikki PItcher, thanks for your comments on Montessori of Englewood. I am sure they will be in a different building next year–last fall the principal told me they are going to have to move.

  • 32. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:28 am

    @15 and others on Dore. I haven’t been close in to it since Victor Simon was principal, but he really built a great school and from comments here I gather that has been sustained. Any Dore parents reading who want to weigh in?

  • 33. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

    @28 and others on Beasley. Someone earlier said that Beasley and Carnegie are RCGs in name only. While some parents have had positive experiences at Carnegie, it still only has a gifted class through fifth grade, I gather. I find it frustrating that Beasley has never been as strong an RGC as Lenart, for example. And Lenart is really small, so there’s clearly need for more quality RGC spots. I’m sure Beasley’s location at 52nd and State historically scared off parents. Maybe as the new development comes in it will get more attention from CPS and from parents.

  • 34. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    We love NKO but the long days plus impact program are tuff when you are only 5. I called around they say the lists only moves a few places. I have a neighbor who my son car pools with. Most people send there kids to Lab. But not a option finacialy! Any loop holes out there? I just don’t know about.

  • 35. chimom1920  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:39 am

    darn. we are also #6 on the murray wait list (T3). not sure if we have a shot at getting in…

  • 36. Rachel K  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:44 am

    19th Ward Mom – When my daughter tested for Poe’s Kindergarten, we found in general conversation with other parents there that we were the only family in that session and the following testing session who were applying to Poe. Such a shame because my daughter came in reading and now she is reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” style chapter books – 1st grade! Poe’s instruction lives up to the expectations. If I have any complaints, it’s with the parents and their lack of participation. It’s not enough to pick up and drop off every day. Kids need a community and too many parents don’t work to build that IMHO. But that’s not just at Poe.
    In regards to Brooks, most of the issues you raised are related to the previous principal who was asked to leave. My understanding is that a lot of the teachers and staff were dissatisfied with the previous leadership and were pleased when she left. This new administration is moving the school in a positive direction. I would bet that within 2-3 years, entrance into this school will be just as competitive as Lane Tech.
    There is diversity but like anything on the South side, it could be better. 84% AA, 13% Hispanic, 0.1% Asian, 0.7% White. My thought is that as the scores rise, so will the diversity. Currently, the ACT average is 21.8. Lane Tech’s is 24.8 and Jones is 26.3 (CPS average is 17.6). So Brooks is within that range.
    And the biggest component (for me and it sounds like for you too) is safety. How safe will our kids be in the school and around in the surrounding area? I will say that the immediate surrounding area is sketchy. I live in Historic Pullman close by and we experience a comfortable existence but I am keenly aware of the environment. My son sometimes rides the Metra to and from school (Mt Carmel which is also in a weird area) and I pay attention to what is going on. But I also attend CAPS meetings for our Beat and the police are keenly aware of the students and they work closely with Brooks staff and teachers to make sure that they are safe. Plus there is some bussing but I don’t know much about that.

  • 37. Mom23  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:46 am

    We ave a child in Murray K. We like the teacher but our child tells us that they are bored. I volunteered in the classroom a few times and have seen some classroom issues with 29 kids in the class there are about 3 kids who are very disruptive and my child has been the subject of bullying (teachers words not mine). This may be the case with all CPS but I only have this experience since we did not encounter this at the private PK and daycares that we attended before Murray. Also, the afterschool programs are horrible.

  • 38. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:09 am

    Some intel on Ray: apparently retired Byrne principal Bob Deckinga is now an assistant to the Ray principal. My wise source on this says he’s good at getting resources and a very hands-on leader. Hope that will help ease the new Ray principal’s transition in I think the current principal is in first year now, is that right?

  • 39. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I think there are disruptive kids every where even at NKO . You have to ask yourself is this worth it? Or is there a better fit for you?

  • 40. 19th ward Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    @36 Rachel K Is Mr. Weaver the acting principal or has been appointed the permanent principal ?

  • 41. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Any feed back on the Charter Schools on the south side?

  • 42. Another SS Parent  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I have a 1st grader at Murray and have been pleased so far. I think with both Murray and Ray (where I also have a student), the schools are considered good to great until the 4th grade or so. Then the opinion drastically changes, and for sure at Ray, there is a mass exodus around 4th grade or so. Yes, this is the Principal’s 1st full year. She came from Pershing West.

  • 43. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Forgot to mention that among U of C charter schools there’s also one in Bronzeville: Donoghue. I visited about two years ago and would describe them as an up-and-comer. They were just starting to attract some middle-class Bronzeville families after years of serving mostly children living in Chicago Housing Authority buildings, as I understood it. They use lottery admissions with a neighborhood preference.

  • 44. Mom23  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I figurred there were disruptive kids in every class, but not to this level at Murray. We are most likely pulling our child out of Murray next year-back to private for 1st grade. I really did want the whole CPS thing to work out but unless we get into Sheridan (WL#6 for 1st grade) we will have to find the funds somehow for private school. Does anyone know if we have a shot at Sheridan at #6?

  • 45. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Re: South Side charters. UNO dominates the southwest side. Yes they got all the negative patronage publicity. I also hear of parents leaving because the uniform and discipline policies are unreasonably strict. At the same time, I’ve known people I thought were solid educators working at UNO schools. They are very old-school assimilationist about Spanish and are strictly English-only, so we didn’t bother since we could get English-only at a good neighborhood school.

  • 46. Rachel K  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:37 am

    @40 19th Ward Mom – As far as I know, Mr. Weaver is still Acting Principal. I haven’t heard any reason why he won’t be appointed. Poe’s principal is also interim but I really believe that it’s because the previous principal is still involved in arbitration so it could be the same at Brooks. I would be extremely surprised if Mr. Weaver isn’t confirmed.

  • 47. Beverly Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:38 am

    #12. ChrisK, I think you should tour Barnard. The principal and ap have done some wonderful things there in the past year since the new principal began. He and the ap are Beverly residents and that also is beneficial. It’s really turning into a wonderful neighborhood school to walk your kids to & have friends in the neighborhood. I don’t think that many parents are upset about the current principal leaving Sutherland. 40 people, about 25-30 parents, show up for an lsc meeting in support of her, but there are hundreds that don’t. I doubt Sutherland’s takes more than one or two kids on the waiting list, usually it fills from the attendance boundary.

  • 48. ChrisK  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:42 am

    I feel I have very few options here in East Beverly with schools that don’t have a commute. Pay for private, keep commuting,wait and see
    if we move up the waiting list or move. Ehhh

  • 49. carol Gittler  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:45 am

    thanks for the newsletter. I would love to also share programs and resources. the board is actively trying to destroy neighborhood schools. Your letter might just be the ticket to fight this policy SHoesmith garden teacher

  • 50. SutherlandParent  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Per @47 BeverlyMom’s point, some people at Sutherland feel very strongly about the principal’s contract non-renewal. But I don’t know that it will dramatically impact whether a significant number of people decide not to send their kids to Sutherland next year.

    @48 ChrisK, have you looked at Vanderpoel Magnet? I don’t know many (any?) neighborhood kids who go there, but I’ve heard good things.

  • 51. Gennatay  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    My Kindergartner is waitlist for all magnet schools applied and scored a 98 in reading, but 56 in math for classical. We just put an offer on a house in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood (moving from west side). It sounds like there are very few options for us, any recommendations?

  • 52. LynnJ  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Southside Obsessed… Can you tell me why Murray is no longer coveted. My DD is waitlisted here #12 and would consider it if given an offer. We toured the school and liked what we saw, and found it easy communicating with the principal. What am I missing?

  • 53. LynnJ  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Pie Chart Professor…. Don’t take it personally that you didn’t get any info from SL. My DD attends there now and in my opinion I’m not impressed with the administration or the school in general. I have asked for information on things unrelated to test scores that my child needed and my requests have gone ignored. Have emailed and called the principal requesting returns calls and again ignored. The parents are very cliquish as well. Again, not impressed.

  • 54. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    @Gennatay I might check into Mahalia Jackson. Don’t know a ton about it but it rang a bell for something positive. They have a deaf program and I think the hearing kids learn ASL too. If you’re able to go private St. Sabina’s has a good parochial school. Perspectives Charter Schools runs a middle school and two high schools in the old Calumet HS building. Oglesby has some great health work going on but I don’t know too much about it academically.

  • 55. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    @Gennatay friends of mine in Auburn Gresham have a child at

  • 56. chris k  |  March 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Maureen Thanks! I will look into Barnard again. We are on Vanderpools waitlist as well. And will just wait & see.

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

    Other thoughts as I’m reading responses:

    Beasley – During the SEES application process, contact Beasley to get info on the school, tours, open houses, etc. Staff appeared rude and incompetent with requesting basic information. First impressions mean everything to me. I passed.

    Acona (private) – Toured this school and I was blow completely away. I would send my child here if I could afford it.

    Lenart – Toured and slam dunk. If my child was offered a seat here, she would attend in a heartbeat.

    McDade – Same comments as Lenart. I was nervous thought about them only going to 6th grade.

    QUESTION: Why is there no feedback or little knowledge on Cambridge School (private) on 47th Street in Kenwood?/HP area?

  • 58. DanielleSB  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I have a Kdg at Poe and she likes it however, I still had her test to see if she could get into Lenart. She attended Pre K there and I loved the diversity. She was offered a spot in McDade and I am thinking about taking it they lack diversity as well but are much closer to home. It seems as though Poe has dropped in the ranking quite a bit. I only have a few days to make up my mind.

    On the other hand I have a 2nd grade at Tuner Drew who who has been on the waiting list every year who (I think it’s because we are tier 3) who is getting very frustrated and bored in class. His sister and him are working on the same curriculum. I will be forced to pull him out this year and possible pay to put him some where else if he does not get expected anywhere else. How do you all feel about Black, every year they call and ask for him? Our neighborhood school is Dixon which is pretty good for primary grades but I would prefer him to go somewhere else.

  • 59. Gennatay  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations Maureen. I’ll look into them.

    Another thought. Do any of you believe the school rankings will change once the new standardized testing is implemented?

  • 60. Rachel K  |  March 27, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    @57 LynnJ – my best friend sent her children to Cambridge and she loved it. Both did very well, but her daughter thrived – skipped a grade and is doing well at Brooks (4.1 GPA). She loved the small class sizes, loved the depth of the instruction – much easier when there are small class sizes. They went there before Cambridge received a grant that helped with the tuition so she bore the brunt of the larger tuition (Yikes).

    @58 DanielleSB – Mr. Dockery has voiced a concern that Poe’s ranking has dropped because the scores have dropped and he is working to uncover why. There was a noticeable drop between K and 1st grade and I doubt that it has to do with the teacher – she was pretty good.

  • 61. Southside Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    A lot of schools have new principals so looking at past records really is no indication of the future. I am seeing some schools that have a great reputation but are undergoing inner turmoil as a new principal tries to assert himself/herself for better or worse. I suggest if you are interested in a school talk to the primary parents AND talk to a parent who’s been there some time to get a balanced picture.

    As far as diversity, I have found over the years that if the student population is over 70% AA, White parents will not even consider the school no matter what it has done. They will enroll their students in private schools or have them travel very far north. I’ve had my children enrolled at selective enrollment schools on the southside and there are only 1 or 2 white families in the entire school even though the school is highly rated and has gone to multiple neighborhood events to recruit. The principals and staff can only do so much to diversify.

  • 62. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    @Gennatay, I don’t know if rankings will change but based on what’s happened when other states have brought in new tests (New York for example), we can expect big drops in scores across the board.

  • 63. Gennatay  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm


    That’s a good point on diversity. For my son, I’m looking for a school that has some diversity because I’ve found that these schools have a higher percentage of parental involvement.

  • 64. Patricia Smith  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Why did you leave out Murray Language Academy in Hyde Park and also a very good high school Kenwood Academy? Very ragged list. How was this compiled?

  • 65. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    @61 Southside Mom I don’t doubt your experience one bit. It does seem like NTA is poised to make the shift from overwhelmingly AA to more diverse, including white. Maybe that’s just because South Loop’s gifted program is closing out and NTA is close enough to draw white South Loopers (and even some Near North Siders) as well as Bronzeville families (and other South Siders of all races).

    My guess is we won’t see that repeated at a place like Beasley until the mixed-income housing that is replacing Robert Taylor fills up with parents demanding a high-quality RGC.

  • 66. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    @64 Patricia This was not intended to be a comprehensive list; it was just a discussion starter. I literally wrote it in 20 minutes. Also, I deliberately left high schools out of the discussion in the hopes I would have time to do a more thorough post on them later. Both Murray and Kenwood are fine schools and of course parents like you are bringing them into the discussion. Thanks!

  • 67. 19th ward Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:21 pm


    I think your comments were directed at me. I would be interested in your reply to my point #3 (safety). Even if #1 and #2 can be explained away, how do you deal with issue #3. And let me use Lindblom as an example, that principal has done a ton to overcome issue #3 at his school. They have created a private shuttle to pickup / drop off kids at train stations, etc. Beverly/MP parents would love to have a SEHS they could utilize in their near area, but I can tell you that the issue is not the majority black population at Brooks, it is the commute between the two points.

  • 68. Rachel K  |  March 27, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    @ 67 19th Ward Mom – Now I’m curious as well. I know Mt Carmel offers a variety of commuting options from shuttles to organized car pools to security escorts to make sure the boys are safe but I don’t know what other schools are doing. Does anyone else know what the schools are doing to help with commuting?

  • 69. BeverlyParent  |  March 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    If you accept and RGC spot, and say want to transfer back to your neighborhood school later (sibling, commute, whatever), can you always go back to your neighborhood school? I didn’t realize there were such waitlists at our neighborhood schools!

  • 70. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    @69 BeverlyParent My understanding is if you want to go to your neighborhood school, you can always go as long as you live inside the attendance boundary. Waitlists at neighborhood schools are for families who live outside the school boundaries.

  • 71. Gennatay  |  March 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    So, if I didn’t apply to a school and in not in the neighboorhood, can I gonup to the school and apply to see if they have space. (Considering it’s not a magnet, classical etc)

  • 72. Southside Mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    @19thwardmom. No my comments weren’t directed at you specifically. I will address your point of safety. Where in the city can you go that you are 100% guaranteed that violence will not occur? I attended an open house at Westinghouse High School. The principal talked about St. Ignatius. She commented that the school has been well attended year after year even when the neighborhood around the school was very dicey. It’s the staff, parents, and administration at a school that makes it great. Out of the hundreds of kids at these schools, 99% of them have not experienced any problems. If you ask someone outside of the community, they will swear that the students are getting beaten up and robbed everyday. All I’m saying people should go to a school and see for themselves to see the jewels we have on the southside. Visiting the school and talking to other parents will dispel any myths out there.

  • 73. Hyde Park mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    We are #104 WL at Murray, any chance of being taken off? I am not even sure about it anymore, from reading the bad reviews here and elsewhere.I am not surprised there are behavior/discipline problems, it’s quite a rowdy bunch from my direct observations. Also, it doesn’t seem that diverse.
    I may have my son test next year for 4th grade, Lenart.he currently commutes to Edison from the Woodlawn area, and Im getting tired of the commute and sense of disconnect with the school.We are too far to attend most functions or have playdates, as most of the kids there are northsiders.Wish I had applied to Lenart 2 years ago, he may have gotten in!

  • 74. reenie  |  March 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    @71 Gennatay if there’s a nonselective school you’re interested in, I’d say go check them out. I think the options booklet tells you which neighborhood schools are so overcrowded they are not accepting any students from outside their boundaries this year. If they have a wait list for out-of-zone student, I would figure they would tell you that.

  • 75. South side obsessed  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    @44 hmm . . . IMO bullying is more about the parents than the teacher(s). My question would be how does the school respond to bullying? Does the general atmosphere of the school discourage it? My son had an issue w/bullying. I called & emailed the teacher & the case manager. They set up a meeting w/the teacher & the social worker. The social worker did a class workshop. my son reports a change in the way the whole class handles it now. Even when one kid does something the others stick up for the victim. There is nothing more I could ask for.
    Also remember that kindergarten is still socializing children to school. Some of the things we consider behavior problems is actually immaturity. You may not see those same problems next year.
    Finally I think (not positive) Murray May be experiencing the same problems other magnets are. They have to have a certain amount of students. So now they are not as quick to put out the disruptive ones b/c they need their warm bodies.

  • 76. hyde park mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 6:54 pm


  • 77. VincentJ  |  March 27, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Looks like the Hyde Park / Kenwood area just got a Community Action Council for schools. Sounds like they have a big interest in improving Shoesmith, Harte, Ray, Murray & Kenwood Academy.

    Worth checking out for local Hyde Parkers.

  • 78. One Year To Go  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    So happy to see this thread! Yay!

    I went back to some old posts of mine from open house season. I visited Lenart, NTA, and Poe during the fall. Here’s what I thought about Lenart:

    My overall impression is that Lenart is a small school full of absolutely adorable nerdy kids who fall over themselves to answer math questions (yes, I saw this), and who aren’t afraid to be smart. I love that about the school and could see my daughter there.

    There are a few things, however, that keep it from being #1 on my list. The biggest thing is that there is a lack of resources. Because the school is so small (less than 300 students), they don’t receive a lot of funding from CPS. For example, there isn’t a library. There’s a room with books, but they lost their librarian when he retired and CPS cut the budget to hire a new one. And unlike NTA, who also lost their librarian, they didn’t seem to be brainstorming ways to staff the library, even on a part-time basis. The “library” looked like it was being used as a storage closet.

    They don’t have an art teacher. They bring in someone from the South Chicago Art Center to do projects with the kids. They have a lot of great partnerships with organizations around the city, but it would be nice if more of these specials were available in-house
    I did like that the parent association was strong, but it was clear that the school relies heavily upon their fundraising to do anything extra for the kids. For example, the gala last year raised enough money to buy one iPad cart with 30 iPads. Parent volunteers are also responsible for some of the extra-curricular activities. For example, one parent coaches high school football, so he was able to get the kids involved in a Park District flag football team. Another parent was able to get soccer balls and nets donated to the school because the kids were interested in soccer. I love that the parents are so involved, but the idea of having to rely so heavily on fundraisers is part of what keeps Lenart from being #1 for me.

    That said, I think this is a nice little school that does the basics very well–helps gifted kids reach their potential in a warm and friendly environment.

    It’s definitely on my list, and if my daughter were lucky enough to get the offer, I would gladly send her there.

  • 79. One Year To Go  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Here’s what I thought about NTA.

    I attended the NTA open house last night, and I have to say that I really liked what I saw. I took quite a few notes (I apologize in advance for the length of this post):

    • The school opened in 2002

    • Currently 583 students—90% African American, 90% receive free or reduced lunch

    • The principal is in his second year.

    • Opened in partnership with UIC. Beginning in 2007, they became partners with the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)—their contract with UIC was over.

    • It is a teacher training academy, which means that in some classrooms there are two adults in the room—the regular (mentor) teacher and the mentee teacher. The mentee teacher occasionally teaches lessons.

    • Some of the curricula used are Everyday Math, Interactive Science, Words their Way, and FOSS

    • They are big on differentiated learning. For example, the RGC K and 1st grade teachers administered pre-tests at the beginning of the year to see where the kids were with regards to reading. The kids were then broken up into small reading groups based on ability. They are given books and homework that are on their level.

    • They are one of the leading schools in Chicago using technology. They have 330 iPads, laptop carts, chromebook carts, and PC labs. They have a 1-1 iPad program in K, and their goal is to have a 1-1 device program in all levels by the end of the school year.

    • They have an on-site clinic run by UIC, which is staffed at all times. For example, if your kid complains of a sore throat, he can go and get a test for strep. If it is positive, they can write you a prescription for antibiotics.

    • The school is a nut-free facility with a cafeteria that cooks everything on-site (they said the food is actually good.)

    • The athletics are baseball, football, wrestling, soccer, track, basketball, and cross country.

    • The school day is 8-3:30. Recess is every day for 30 mins. Lunch is 25 mins. There are 6 enrichment activities for the younger grades, which rotate every six days—PE, art, music, technology, swimming, and eventually Spanish once they hire a Spanish teacher. The enrichment periods are 64 mins.

    • There are several afterschool programs that go until 5:30. There is also some space in the Chicago Park District program (located on-site) that go until 6:30.

    • There is an inclusion of the RCG and the neighborhood kids at lunch, recess, assemblies, etc.

    My overall impressions:

    • The facilities are gorgeous. The school is huge, clean, bright, with an amazing zero-depth pool, a separate “Young Readers” library (with tiny chairs!), a technology room, and breathtaking art and music rooms. Honestly, this is the nicest looking school in the city I have visited, and that includes the privates I have been to.

    • The K-1 teachers are very well trained and gave a great presentation about what they do and how they educate the children. They stressed their differentiation practices, their educational use of technology, field trips, and interdisciplinary approaches. This presentation included both neighborhood and RGC teachers.

    • The RGC classrooms are very diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. Slowly, the neighborhood classrooms are changing in terms of diversity as well. Students from outside of the neighborhood boundary can enter the Options for Knowledge lottery to enroll in the school.

    • There is some parent involvement, but there needs to be more. I anticipate this changing as the RGC program grows.

    • The scores are bad, and the school is currently listed as level 3. Personally, this doesn’t bother me. They didn’t talk about this during the presentation, but since I’m familiar with the area, I know that as a neighborhood school, the school was initially there for the kids who lived in the projects nearby. Those buildings have since been torn down and the families relocated, which is a big reason for the current small student population of the school
    • In my opinion, NTA is where South Loop was years ago (albeit, with much better facilities)—an underperforming school with great potential. The RGC began to change South Loop, and as siblings of RGC kids enrolled on the neighborhood side, the school became more desirable across the board. Scores went up, and now the school is so popular that they are overcrowded. I predict that this is the direction NTA is headed.

    • NTA is attractive to me for many reasons, and it will most likely be our #1 choice. DD is only 3, so she won’t test until next year for possible enrollment in 2015, and in that time, I anticipate that the school will only continue to improve.

  • 80. TMcDonald  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I apply for Sutherland and my child is 5 on the wait list. Do you think we have a chance of being accepted?

  • 81. One Year To Go  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Sorry for the serial posts, but I also visited Poe, and I realized that I never posted my impressions, so I’ll do that now (although the memory has faded a bit).

    Poe is a small school. The building itself is something like 100 years old, and it shows its age in many respects. That being said, the scores are off-the-chart amazing. I asked the AP what she attributed those scores to, and she said that it was mainly due to conscientious, involved parents who support their children’s pursuits. They don’t seem to have a lot of resources, but as a classical school, they still put an emphasis on language (Spanish) and art/music/drama (they rotate those specials).

    We got to peek inside of every classroom, and I liked all the teachers. They had interesting and creative ways of helping the students learn, and I was able to see some of the differentiation at work as the students worked in their small groups. The K teacher was very engaging, and the kids were so excited to be working on their vowel sounds (hands raised everywhere, lots of smiles and enthusiastic repeating of the sounds).

    The school is primarily African American. I saw maybe five non-black students in the school. Also, all of the parents who where there on the tour with me were also black. I’m from Roseland, so the neighborhood doesn’t scare me off (ha!), but now that I live on the near south side, the commute takes Poe off my list–that, and the fact that it doesn’t go up to the 8th grade.

    Oh, and I have to say that I loved talking to the kids there. They were so bright, articulate, and enthusiastic about their school. Like the kids at Lenart (and there were a few who had transferred to Lenart from Poe for 7th & 8th), I could see my daughter fitting in there socially.

  • 82. VincentJ  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    @Southside Mom I’m curious, what schools on our side of town over 70% AA would be travel worthy for north siders (or downtown/south loopers)?

    I know of Poe & McDade, (both of which I applied for), but honestly the south side is so much bigger than the north side. Evanston would basically start at 78th street if you flipped the city. Even Lenart would be a haul from the Lincoln Park area and I can’t imagine to many parents doing that and it’s the 3rd best school in the state (public). Short of the South Loop, Hyde Park, Beverly & Mt. Greenwood, I also don’t know where you pull white students from. Understand, I’m not saying this doesn’t happen. And I’m sure more often than I’d like to think, but there is partly a numbers game going on here as well.

  • 83. southie  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    In Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood, integration is no accident –
    March 26, 2014 by Natalie Moore

  • 84. 19th ward mom  |  March 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    @82 VincentJ
    The southside has a few more arena that whites live in large numbers then that. Totally leaving off Bridgeport,Carneyville, McKinley Park, Midway area, the west end of Ashburn, Hegewisch, parts of South Deering and Pullman.

    southsiders chime in if I missed an area.

  • 85. star parent  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    The Question is will Rahm Emanuel get the majority of the black vote after closing over 50 schools in the black community

  • 86. Questioner  |  March 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    @85 Let’s hope not!

  • 87. chee-ka-go  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    Nice addition to the site with this blog! I too am Back of the Yards and glad to see you managing this section of the blog Maureen.

    As far as Beasley goes, I went there back in the late 80s/early 90s (when the Robert Taylor homes were up and running). It was a great school then and a feeder into W Young, as annually 30 or more kids went there. Back then, Beasley helped prepare me for Young. Not sure about it now…

    Now I have two kiddos in the CPS chase for a great school (a 4th grader and a soon-to-be K).

  • 88. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    @82 Vincent J, 19th Ward Mom did a good job pointing out South Side neighborhoods with significant numbers of white people, but just to flesh out “Midway area” I’ll name community areas: Clearing and Garfield Ridge. I think we’ve had a couple of posts from out that way. To a lesser extent there are white folks in West Elsdon and Archer Heights–now majority-Latino neighborhoods but with white populations around 20 percent. East Pilsen is gentrifying and so more white people, some with children, are arriving. Even here in Back of the Yards I see more white faces now than I did when I arrived almost 10 years ago, though I don’t think the increase is enough to show up in statistics.

  • 89. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:44 pm

    Welcome neighbor 87 chee-ka-go! I wouldn’t say I’m managing this thread as much as posting a lot to keep its traffic high so more people will notice it. Curious to know what you’ve learned about our neighborhood’s schools and others nearby. From what I’ve gathered Chavez and Seward have the strongest academic performance. Hedges has a gem of a community liaison in Marina Alonso. Hamline has struggled for a long time but I met their fairly new principal a while back and hope she’s making progress. I’m excited that Daley has started a Parent Mentor program modeled after the longstanding successful work in Logan Square.

  • 90. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Also, Vincent J, while you might define “travel worthy” as super-high scoring (which would pretty much lead you to Poe, McDade and Lenart–though they don’t have 70 percent African American students), wouldn’t it matter what your North Side choices were? If someone from the Near North Side zoned into Jenner or Manierre struck out on SEES and north side magnets, might they not be glad if they had put Murray on their application? Plenty of Hyde Park families are commuting the same distance in reverse.

  • 91. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    Just to clarify–Poe and McDade meet the 70 percent African American threshold thrown out earlier; Lenart is more diverse than that.

  • 92. chee-ka-go  |  March 27, 2014 at 11:57 pm

    I’m most familiar with Seward and Lara but have heard great things about Chavez and all the progress they have made lately. I also have met all of the principals for Chavez, Hamline, and Daley at the Peace and Ed Coalition meetings along with Marina Alonso, who is a great leader! Seems like the collaboration among these schools can serve as a great resource to help out the community.

  • 93. BeverlyParent  |  March 28, 2014 at 6:42 am

    @ One Year To Go. I completely agree with your reviews of NTA and Lenhart. Your strengths/challenges were spot on to what I also noticed! We ranked NTA over Lenhart, mainly because of the resources and also the K teacher at NTA really impressed me.

  • 94. SutherlandParent  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:54 am

    @80 TMcDonald, it depends on what grade you are applying for. Most of the upper grades have 33+ kids in a classroom, and there are rarely kids allowed in from out of boundaries. For the last couple of years, the lower grades have been less crowded, so your odds are better. The switch to per-pupil funding has increased pressure on every principal to get as many kids in the classrooms without tipping over into the point of overcrowding.

  • 95. CPS wonderland  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:37 am

    @Mom23 My son is #7 for the 1st grade at Sheridan. I was curious is Sheridan your strongest option? Also, did you try to contact the Sheridan’s administration to check what your chances are? I’m getting conflicting information and don’t know in what to believe.

  • 96. Rachel K  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

    In the Pullman area, there is a conscious push to recruit young families into the area. Many of the older residents are passing away and their children have moved on so the area found that we were decaying because there was no new blood, so to speak.

    So, the Pullman Community Organization (PCO) and a couple of other community organizations formulated an Education Committee to better determine 1)where the kids who did live in the neighborhood were going (because they clearly were not going to the neighborhood school Pullman Elem), 2) what the true condition of the educational situation was In the area (not relying on the media, CPS or any other non-biased entity to determine if the schools were truly bad or just needed help) and 3) to help revitalize the neighborhood by marketing renovated homes to young families with young children. This all happened right before the epic closing of CPS schools and the strike so the Education Committee (lead by my mother Cheryl Briscoe) had a front row seat.

    What we found was that many people were not aware that there were pockets of great neighborhoods like Pullman on the south side – many simply believed the alarmist press that we get and thought that all areas were gang-infiltrated war zones. We also found that people were driving all over the map to get their kids to good schools – some drove all the way north to Disney Magnet.

    So, the PCO, Education Committee and others made a commitment to recruit more families who truly were invested in their children’s education (beyond just dropping them off and picking them up), they committed to supporting the schools in the area (Brooks, Poe, Pullman mainly but others as well) by volunteering as tutors, getting on LSC’s as Community members, by supporting all efforts each school made to engage the community.

    Many of the new families who are moving into the Pullman/Roseland area have very young kids (babies to K). What were being told is that people no longer want to commute if they can help it so Pullman is an attractive area – reasonably priced homes, quiet, Metra accessible. So, they are moving from the North side back south. And they are looking at the local school options. Far south side schools are not going to attract commuters from the North side but they will attract families who are looking to get away from the north side and provide attractive options.

  • 97. Southside Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Maureen thank you for starting this blog.

    Some people have mentioned Beasley. The AP from Poe became principal a few years ago and has made dramatic changes for the better. She started a lot of clubs and activities for the students. She had the building repainted with beautiful murals on the walls. Her scores are increasing over time. She is working with the students and parents to let them know that failure is not an option and is constantly seeking resources. Given time and her leadership, I believe the school will return to its former academic status. Note I wrote, given time. A lot of families and staff were left from the old administration and are fighting change, even though the change is for the better.

  • 98. Sheridanmom  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

    @Mom23 & @95 CPS wonderland
    What you need to ask the administration is if they have already factored in an estimate of the kids that do not return for 1st grade from prior years in the offers that they have given for next year’s 1st grade class.

    If they have not, then at #6 and #7, you stand a very good chance. We will lose at least a handful of kids out of the 60 that are there today.

    Now if they have already factored in the average loss of kids from kindergarten to 1st grade, then your chances will only depend on the people ahead of you and if they decline their offers. And for some reason the level of interest in Sheridan seems to have skyrocketed this year (not sure what caused it because Sheridan has been consistently as good as it has been for years including the diversity aspect!).

  • 99. Sheridanmom  |  March 28, 2014 at 10:46 am

    @Mom23 & @95 CPS wonderland

    Also, I can tell you that we have not received any type of communication yet from the school asking if we are returning or not. So if they did factor in the loss from K to 1st grade, it is just an estimate at this point.

  • 100. One Year To Go  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:27 am


    I definitely know that NTA will be my #1 choice, but I’m torn as to which school to put second–Lenart or Skinner West. We’re within the busing limits for SW, and the school has *tons* of activities and just a lot of stuff going on. I went to the open house, which was during school hours, and wow, that place was hopping! Lenart and SW are on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of size, and I think my DD would be fine in either. But I am a little concerned that SW is so overcrowded that they are holding classes in the hallway (this was told to us during the open house). On the flip side, a bigger school usually means more opportunities to get involved in various extra curriculars and really discover who you are as a person. So it’s a toss up.

  • 101. Mom23  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    @Sheridanmom & @CPS Wonderland
    Thanks for the information. I will definitely be in contact with Sheridan because if we are accepted, we will definitely take the spot but I know that the WL doesn’t move much. We live in Bridgeport and were on the proximity WL #130ish last year for K and obviously didn’t get a spot (I heard that almost half of the kindergarten spots went to siblings last year) but some of our neighbors and friends got lucky in previous years and say great things about the school. And its so close to home and I hate driving to HP every day to Murray.

    We were accepted for 1st grade to J Ward, Mitchell, Burr, and Pritzker with WL# in the 100s everywhere else but really would love to get a spot a Sheridan. Our child’s SEES scores were scary bad so not an option.

  • 102. VincentJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    @Maureen Kelleher

    Completely forgot about Bridgeport and I use to live there. Pilsen to some extent as well. My son is actually in pre-k at Lenart, but couldn’t test in for Kindergarten. To anyone passing on this school, don’t, I’d kill to have my kid get in there. Don’t worry about the not having funds for this or that. It’s the third best public school in the state! What else do you need? A state championship basketball team? It’s our first choice even given the fact we could afford private school.

    Still, I’m want to know are there any other schools like Poe & McDade that I missed on the south side. There’s always 1st grade.

  • 103. VincentJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    So I know this is a CPS themed forum, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has looked into private schools as an option.

    Beside out of most everybody’s budget Anacona ($17k a year) & UofC Lab ($23k a year)

    What is everybody’s thoughts on
    Day Star (South Loop),
    St. Thomas (Hyde Park)
    Old St. Mary’s (South Loop).

    Please add others that are good that you know of?

  • 104. Concerned Parent  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    As a resident of the Garfield ridge area, it is very frustrating , to have so many of our schools have the issue of overcrowdnesses be our schools main problem . Every school is crowded but our neighborhood has been changing in the last few years. My children’s school, I am not happy with due to turnover of principals, no true change for the children and boundaries are keeping kids suffering. All I can do is keep applying to other type of schools to get my child out.

  • 105. 19th ward Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    @103 VincentJ

    In the Beverly/Morgan Park area, you have:

    St. John Fisher School
    St. Walter school
    St. Cajetan School

    Another budget buster with Morgan Park Academy (approx $25k). But it is an awesome school, if I won the lottery I would love to send my kids there.

    St. Therese Chinese catholic school in Chinatown is also another awesome school. I know 2 kids that go there. But I have heard that it is super hard to get in.

  • 106. Rachel K  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I have friends who enrolled their kids in Daystar and loved it. Heard no complaints. I graduated from St. Thomas so I looked into it and was discouraged by a close family friend because of some internal issues with the principal. I know a couple of people who enrolled in Old St. Mary’s but I haven’t heard anything.

  • 107. 19th ward Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    @102 VincentJ

    Earlier this summer, CPSobsessed did an excel worksheet that ranked all the schools based on how many kids “Exceeded” on the ISAT. If we look at rankings alone (and excluding the ACs), these are the top 10 southside schools.

    And let me throw in that disclaimer again (this is soley based on Exceed rankings for the ISAT). We know scores are not everything 🙂

    KELLER 76
    LENART 69
    MCDADE 58
    POE 50
    HEALY 27
    EARHART 21
    WARD, J 21

    The number to the right of the school name is the number of kids that exceed on the ISAT.

  • 108. 19th ward Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Here is a link to that post with the complete excel spreadsheet. It is at comment #6.

  • 109. One Year To Go  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Thanks for that list, 19th ward Mom. I feel like I can exhale a bit knowing that Pershing is my neighborhood school.

    @VincentJ: DH and I interviewed for Old St. Mary’s last year for entry into PK3. The school came highly recommended by some friends of mine who rave about it. But both DH, my mother (who joined us for the interview), and I came away from the experience with negative feelings about the school.

    First, the entire focus of both sets of interviews (one with the AP and one with the principal and the head priest) centered on what *we* could bring to OSM. Not once did they ask us about our daughter. They had no questions about what she liked to do, what kind of person she was, our roles as parents, nothing. All of the questions (and I’m not exaggerating) were focused on what we could bring to the table.

    Second, through glancing around the school and peeking into classrooms (the interviews took place during the school day), there was very little diversity among the students and none that I could see amongst the teachers. Given the school’s great location and it’s “relative” affordability (around 8K), this just didn’t sit well with any of us.

    Third (and most important), we only found out through accident after our interview that there were no slots available for PK3. Yes, you read that right. OSM took our $50 application fee and made us rearrange our work schedules (we were given an interview day/time and were told that changing it would be difficult) knowing full well that there were no openings. This felt deceitful and OSM is crossed off our list.

    As a side note, the principal has since been replaced, so I don’t know how things are run now, but we won’t be reapplying.

  • 110. Evelyn  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    So I have a 3rd grader who attends Ray. He is having serious focus/comprehension issues. He was offered a spot at M. Davis and Beasley, and waitlisted #1 at Kershaw. I don’t know what move to make there, if any. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    My K’er was offered Disney I and Newberry Math and Science. I would love for her to attend Disney, but worry about the logistics/commute. She scored 108 so no gifted option and she got 98% in math and 84% in reading. Tier 3. Any suggestions there?

  • 111. Evelyn  |  March 28, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    We live in Hyde Park, so Ray is the neighborhood school. I don’t know well enough about it to comment or decide if it’s a good place for the K’er to start. We just moved in January.

  • 112. 19th ward Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    Ray has had their challenges over the last few years with the Principal. But now there is new principal and she seems to be doing a good job. All things considered, I would want my kids to be able to “walk-to” school and have classmates in the same neighborhood.

    M. Davis and Kershaw seem to have challenges, I would definitely not move my child from Ray to those schools. I cannot speak to Beasley.

    Newberry seems like a dream school, and one that is not dependent on current principal issues. If you are up for the commute, and really need to get your son out of Ray, I would say go for it. If you went with that option, I would keep your son at Ray for this year(if that is an option) and then next year you should be able to move him over to Newberry with sibling preference.

  • 113. 19th ward Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm


    I wish we had an edit option on our post. 🙂

    I forgot to comment on Disney and why I said to go with Newberry. Disney is a further commute than Newberry. And the schools seem to be equally good. Hence the vote for Newberry.

  • 114. Evelyn  |  March 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Ahhh, ok. thanks for your input. It is a really stressful decision, especially when you’re worrying about giving both kids the same opportunities. You are right, she may be able to pull him in next year in a sibling lottery and that would give me time to evaluate his needs further. I’m going to look into both Newberry and Disney and see which one offers the best long term solution for both of them. I don’t want to do this again for a few years. Thanks again!

  • 115. PK in HP  |  March 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Our son attended Murray for PreK (when they had PreK) and now attends Ray. We have had great experiences at both schools as well as frustrations but in the end, our son is thriving. Personally, I love the community at Ray and the feel of a neighborhood school. Though both schools are in our neighborhood, Murray did not have the same Community Hub feel that Ray does. At Ray, I think it’s easier to maintain a strong PTA and achieve successful, high turn-out after school functions since most families live near by. Murray tends to struggle with this from my experience because many families travel from further away. The student body at Ray is diverse and really reflects the Hyde Park and UofC community. The new principle is experienced and clearly loves her job. This year, she somehow was able to cut the classroom sizes down to the low 20s across grade levels while keeping teaching positions in tact. Amazing. What a difference having 5-10 less bodies in a classroom can make. If Ray is on your school radar, you might want to give it a try!

  • 116. woodsy  |  March 28, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Evelyn, I forgot to mention, Im also in Hyde Park and my twins were offered Disney I.They attend Ray Prek for all. I like the preschool , and the lower grades seem to do fine.My concern is with the upper grades, the kids seem to have discipline issues, I hear lots of cursing, sexual talk, and it only goes up to grade 6.Not sure I want my kids growing up in that environment…It is very diverse for the most part, but seems to be more AA with a few Asia and White.From my research, I was also concerened that it went down to a level 2 school. a few years ago it was a Magnet, and the test scores didnt impress me.It does have a strong sense of community with very involved parents, but for now, that is doing little it seems.Thus, off to Disney we go, with a longer than desire d commute and having to fork over $$$ for a bus company.Plse let me know what you decide, and I can exchange emails if youd like.sent from android, excuse typos)

  • 117. Sashamommy  |  March 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Thank you so much for starting this thread. A little late to the game, I didn’t realize it had been started already but happy to see a good number of folks posting already!

    I have done some research on the privates @103 VincentJ. Here’s my two cents:

    Day Star – great program and community feel at the school. Lots of parent involvement. My daughter has attended language class there and a few kid-related activities at their space which is newer and clean. I do have some concern about how the homework and classroom style prepares them for more standardized testing (which no matter how we feel about testing, at some point is required of all our kids). From what I have heard from current parents, through about 3 or 4th grade the program is pretty strong. They have a newer principal that used to be a Kindergarden teacher at the school and is very approachable, and may also be able to imprrove on some of the feedback I have heard about the upper grades. Drawbacks: there is some odd dismissal at like 1:30 every Wednesday. Fine if you pay for aftercare or have flexibility but a few parents with current students said it can be a pain. There is also a different schedule for having time off. My memory escapes me at the moment but it was something like 1-2 weeks off every 3 months(?). Again, difficult for working parents or those that do not have flexibility. No uniforms. Lastly, the tuition is rather costly, the highest of the 3 that I looked into at about $11K/for the school year. But, still on my list as an option though not sure can afford it comfortably.

    St Thomas – I know a number of folks that went there when I was in grade school and it was a competitive school. two friends sent their kids there a few years back and ended up pulling them out. They didn’t feel like the curriculum was challenging their kids and it didn’t seem like they did alot of differentiation within the classroom. But, I have spoke with their staff as well as some parent group leader and they have been very warm, welcoming and accommodating regarding talking about the school, program, the religious influence (which, being a non-Catholic was a concern for me) and their personal experiences while involved with the school. Uniforms. They encourage families to join the school for mass. Their tuition is more reasonable, about $5,500/school year and they have very affordable aftercare. I believe something like $150/month. I have yet to actually tour the school but would recommend taking a closer look to see if it is a good fit for your family.

    Old St Mary’s – strong school with lots good parent involvement and activities other than the traditional school day. They do not have a gym facility onsite so bus(?) the kids to De La Salle for gym. Thought that was weird, but they are planning on building onto their facility to provide more space (though I can’t really see where, they are somewhat landlocked). They do have a school uniform and require students as well as families to participate in services at minimum 1x month.

    Cambridge – this school is on 47th just east of St Ambrose. I was hard-pressed to find info on it other than their website but it seems like a small, tight knit school. I am not sure how diverse it is but the Principal/Executive Director seems to have a vision for the school and from what I understand has done a good job of keeping them on-track. There are a number of afterschool electives as well as aftercare and the students wear uniforms.Their tuition was just lowered last year, maybe under $4K/school year or so.

    Anyone else have any info on these. Firsthand experiences from any attending families?

  • 118. Evelyn  |  March 28, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    @woodsy. As of right now I’m leaning towards accepting Newberry and driving her in in the mornings and paying for after care. It’s soo expensive to bus to Disney and I don’t think the hours would work even then. My son is on the waitlist at #14 at Newberry so I’m keeping hope alive. He’s #75 at Disney and I figure that’s a long shot. If I can keep them together, I will. Last resort, he stays at Ray another year and we try the sibling lottery next go round. You can email me at We should stay in touch. Play dates!!!

  • 119. Evelyn  |  March 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for the info on Ray, PK in HP!

  • 120. Father-of-1daughter  |  March 28, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    I have a daughter in K at Beasley rgc program, and it’s great. The teacher is great and it’s separate from the other kindergarten classes. My daughter tested very well on the test last year, but the test scores and being tier 4, it’s hard to get in your first choice. My daughter took the test again this year and did very well again. This time she got in to our first choice. Beasley kindergarten gifted class teaches two grade levels higher the homework and projects are challenging. I can honestly say that Beasley prepared her for the test because she maintain her test scores and scored 99 math and 99 reading. So I wouldn’t turn down a rgc program for a regular program school because I would hope parents would want their kids to be challenge where other schools can’t meet the needs of a gifted class.

  • 121. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    @120 whoo-hoo so glad to hear from a current Beasley parent! And interested that Beasley was a valuable stepping stone. Would you be willing to share the first choice where your child is going in the fall? And do you have any sense of how Beasley is doing in the grades above K? Thanks for posting!!!

  • 122. 8stories8  |  March 28, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Old St. Mary’s doesn’t bus for gym, fyi.

  • 123. trice  |  March 28, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    So happy to see a southside focused thread. I am a lifetime southsider. I grew up in West Englewood and live in Beverly. Our home school is Kellogg, but I was not a fan of the class size. We were accepted at Skinner West. If she didn’t attend West, we would have enrolled at St. Barnabas. We just got an email saying that the kindergarten students may leave the main building. I’m really happy with the change. We are at a VERY small Catholic preschool and I was nervous about my baby being with ALL those big kids. Best of luck to everyone

  • 124. Sochigirl  |  March 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Does anyone have any info on the Gifted program in South Loop elementary school? Wondering about transitioning into one of the middle elementary levels.

  • 125. LynnJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    I noted Dixon Elementary is a level 1 school on 83rd & St Lawrence. Anyone have any feedback to share on this school?

  • 126. LynnJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Mom23 would love your thoughts on Murray. I am reading very mixed reviews from multiple sources. Are you wanting to only due to distance? Any behavioral issues among the student body? What’s your take on the administration?

  • 127. One Year To Go  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    @LynnJ: Dixon is my DH’s alma mater! He’d get a kick out of knowing that it’s a level 1 school. Any intel I could relay to you about the school would be completely outdated because it’s been about a hundred years since DH was last there. (Shhh. Don’t tell him I said that!)

  • 128. South Loop Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    @One Year To Go:

    Thanks for the NTA write up. We have a first grader in the NTA RGC and love it. We came from a wonderful private school and are actually happier with NTA. With two younger kids, we decided to go all-in and move into the neighborhood boundaries too. If our younger two don’t test into the RGC (which they likely won’t) they will attend the neighborhood program happily. We are making the NTA Neighborhood Pledge.

    If you want your 3yo to go to NTA, they have a Ready to Learn Pre-K. Applications are due April 11. I’m applying and hope my 3yo will be attending half days.

    Also, there is an AfterCare program that goes until 6pm: JCC. It is great – our daughter loves it. I checked out the Park Kids at NTA and passed, even though it is so reasonably priced. Too chaotic IMO. Yet, I was probably being a bit paranoid. Other kids go and like it.

    We really have faith in this school. It is fun to be a part of its growth. I hope it continues its upswing as more committed families join.

    Next Open House is April 2 – Wednesday Night at 6pm.

  • 129. LynnJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    @ one year to go LOL!

    For all that received RGC and Classical offers…… How did your prepare for the mystery test? My child can already read and can do simple math. I have worked with my DD on Cognitive Abilities test, OLSAT, Iowa, and NNAT.

    I spoke to a “subject matter expert” at cps this week and held told me the test is purely based on logic and critical thinking, and that none of the material I covered with my daughter has nothing to do with their test.

    I don’t buy it. We will more than likely go through this again for a 1st grade spot. Any recommendation on test prep? I hear they have to fill in the bubble and have to listen carefully which are already stacking odds against my child who can be easily distracted!

  • 130. LynnJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    @ south loop mom I have followed your posts almost one year. Thanks for being committed to this board regarding NTA.

    My family is in a tricky situation. We live in Bronzeville and wait listed for everything and no SEES offers. We were considering moving into the NTA neighborhood boundaries.

    A year ago some parents had concerns about behavior issues among neighborhood kids which concerned me. There was a short article that made the paper too!

    What have you seen? Have you been focusing also on what is happening in the neighborhood program? I am alarmed by the level 3 rank. Toured the school and loved it though! Is the principal as committed to the neighborhood program as he is the RGC? Why are the scores so low????

  • 131. LynnJ  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    My child currently attends South Loop pre-k but I am not 100% in love.

  • 132. South Loop Mom  |  March 28, 2014 at 11:45 pm

    My daughter did much better on her test going into first grade. K scores were OK but didn’t result in an offer. We did zero prep the first time, so I tweaked things the second go-round.

    We didn’t really prep much academically, but I did get her some fun critical thinking workbooks like this:

    I also played school with her where she filled in bubbles. She was totally unfamiliar with the concept of sitting down for a test, so I wanted her to get it the second time around.

    I actually think the “prep” that was most helpful was taking her to the testing site a few days before her test. We parked, walked around and went in the building. She saw the auditorium and I let her take her time checking things out, showed her where the bathroom was, let her get a drink from the fountain. We went for fries after. So, she had a positive association when we went back for the real test (and we got fries again too!). I could tell when we parked the car on the day of her test she was just more comfortable because she didn’t have to process going to a new place.

    I also told her she was invited to take the test because she loves school and that it was just for fun.

  • 133. South Loop Mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 12:32 am

    @LynnJ: sorry for the novel…

    That article about the fight on the playground scared me so much! My husband had to talk me off a ledge. I asked Castelaz about it point blank. Safety was a huge discussion at the Open Houses. I believe it was not students but other kids on the playground post school. NTA learned their lessons and are more careful. They have security at school and onsite. I still keep a close watch though.

    Re behavior issues, it is a mixed bag. NTA is by no means perfect. I’ve heard some rough language on the playground with older grades, but I’ve also had a group of 7-8th grade girls make a point to say hi to us every day. A lot of the families are great and committed to the school. Others make me shake my head (like loud rough music at drop off, babies not in car seats, or parents littering on school grounds). For the record, I was also annoyed by crazy-driving Lexus SUV mom always on her phone at our old private. 🙂 NTA will always be economically diverse – the neighborhood has a range of high end homes to public housing. For us, that’s a plus.

    The Administration seems – to me – fully committed to the whole school. I love how they make sure all kids get lunch and recess together by mixing the classes. All kids have the same access to specials too.

    The Level 3 rank confused me too. A couple of years ago an underperforming South Side school merged with NTA and those test scores followed. It was a rocky union from what I understand.

    Re scores, we just don’t get too worried about it. NTA offers the resources for my kids to excel because we will take advantage of the offerings: tutoring, after school programs, going to the parents’ nights where they give you tips on homework. The “Learning to Read” night was fantastic. I got tips I’d never heard… And they really helped us help our daughter. Hardly anyone else was at that event though. I suspect, sadly, some of the kids with low scores just don’t have this support network. I don’t blame NTA or the kids.

    I think the neighborhood teachers are great. They are very tech-aware, so you can follow them on Twitter to get some insight into their approach. On HUGE plus to the neighborhood program is having an extra adult (mentee teacher) in the classroom.

    They also have iPads for differentiation in the neighborhood classrooms. For example if Jamila needs help with subtraction, she has a review lesson chosen for her skill level during iPad time. If Loretta rocks at subtraction, her teacher may choose enriching double digit subtraction for her 20 minutes.

    You should go to the Open House again on Wednesday April 2nd at 6pm. Also, when (or if it ever warms up), we walk to school every day. If you want to get the vibe at drop off, you are more than welcome to walk with us. Be ready to practice spelling words! If interested, list an anonymous email address and I’ll shoot you a note to plan.

  • 134. Lympicoleman  |  March 29, 2014 at 8:25 am

    You are truly out of touch and placing your judgements on OLD news, and for all this speculation it still offers very little

  • 135. LynnJ  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:03 am

    South loop mom thanks for the “novel” lol. I found it helpful.

    Lympicoleman since we are out of touch, let’s hear your perspective. Please enlighten us.

  • 136. Sosidemom5  |  March 29, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I have children at Kellogg, and class size can certainly be an issue (as there is only one class per grade), however, administration is attuned to that fact and does work to ensure that students get quite a bit of attention. My fifth grader there has had as many as 36 in a class, but various things have been done to break that up. In some years, groups were pulled out for reading and math, in other years, the class was split. My first grader has around 30 now, and while this is large, it is not uncommon for CPS. There is an assistant in the room. I have been very happy at Kellogg. They have some really great teachers, and the administration seems to be very responsive to parents. Definitely a place to consider for your kids.

  • 137. Going into 4th  |  March 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm


  • 138. TMcDonald  |  March 29, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    @94 Sutherland. That’s for the information. My daughter will be entering 2nd grade this fall. I hope she gets in.

  • 139. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 29, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    136. Sosidemom5 | March 29, 2014 at 11:10 am

    I’ve heard really good things abt Kellogg & how all the parents are really happy w/their children’s education there. Good to know that Kellogg has assistants for larger classes.

  • 140. DanielleSB  |  March 29, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    @LynnJ I had (10) nieces and nephews attend Dixon from about 1997-2007. It is my neighborhood school. The school curriculum for the primary grades are good and challenging, of the 10 kids attending the school 5 were gifted/ higher learning children. The advanced learners enjoyed themselves and were challenged until about 4th grade when the focused changed more towards discipline than curriculum. The average kids had some mild struggles but with parent involvement (auntie tutoring) and good communication from the teachers it was nothing that was worth worrying about. Only 1 of the 10 actually went from K-8th there.

    The preschool program has a dress code that prohibits boys from having long hair. When expressing interest for two of my nephews one who is part Nigerian and has Locs like his paternal side and the other who had a neat ponytail I was told by the head of the program that they would need “good little boy hair cuts.” She never asked about there academics which at the time were well beyond grade level. Needless to say I did not have them enroll there.

    Also the school is a feeder school for another smaller neighborhood school Pirie, for the 7th and 8th grades. This seems like a really bad idea. The structure and groups that these kids have developed have to all of a sudden come together and it turns into a them verses us type of thing. During the first half of the year there seems to always be an adjustment period with a lot of disciplinary problems.

  • 141. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 29, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    @124 school girl, if they are phasing out South Loop’s gifted program, are they still accepting transfers for the grades where the program is still operating? I don’t know how this works and am curious.

  • 142. L. Steele  |  March 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    You left off Cardenas in Little Village. Level 1 school. Great school, great staff!

  • 143. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 29, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Thanks L. Steele! Is Cardenas working with Enlace on after-school programming? I know a bunch of Little Village schools are and the work is good. The Enlace coordinator, Fanny Diego Alvarez, is spectacular.

  • 144. M. Norwood  |  March 29, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    @107. 19th ward Mom…….

    “The number to the right of the school name is the number of kids that exceed on the ISAT.”

    I think you meant the number to the right is the percentage of kids that exceed on the ISAT. I’m a McDade parent and I can tell you without a doubt we had many more than 58 kids that exceeded the ISAT standards.

  • 145. Family Friend  |  March 29, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    I have to speak up for Amandla Charter School in Englewood (I’m on the board), presently 5-10 and adding a grade each year. The academics are rigorous, and the rate of growth averages 1.5 years for every year in school. Many of our kids do come from tough neighborhoods, but we work hard to keep it out of the building and out of the school experience (including transportation). We are not diverse – one white kid and one Hispanic – but we attract middle class black families who want a college prep education for their kids. We lose some of our best 8th graders to SEHS, but that’s part of what we are trying for.

  • 146. Family Friend  |  March 29, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I also should mention Namaste Charter School at 37th & Paulina. It’s K-8 and is pretty much perfect in every way. They have a two-way Spanish immersion program for about half their students that really works. They fully integrate their special needs kids, no matter what the disability, and that works, too. They serve healthy meals and teach about healthy eating. They have a strong focus on physical activity. They have a full time staff person in a parents’ room to help build community among the families. They are consistently one of the highest-performing schools on standardized tests. The walls ooze a welcoming atmosphere. This year’s application deadline has passed, but those of you with younger kids might want to look into it.

  • 147. Family Friend  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Other south side charter schools worth looking into: Perspectives Rodney Joslin (7-12) at State and Archer; Academy for Global Citizenship (K- 8, eventually) at 47th & Cicero; Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (9-12), 25th & Western; Kwame Nkrumah (K-8, eventually), 107th & King Drive; LEARN Hunter Perkins (K-8, eventually), Paulina & 83rd; Perspectives IIT (9-12), 37th & Wabash; Providence Englewood (K-8); 65th & Ashland; Young Women’s Leadership Academy (7-12), 26th & Calumet; plus all the south side Noble Street and Urban Prep campuses. All of these schools are staffed by people who go above and beyond to focus on your child’s potential, and I would feel comfortable sending my protegee and her brother to any of them. My protegee’s best friend commutes from Edgewater to Instituto, and it is really working out for her.

  • 148. 19th ward mom  |  March 29, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    @144 M. Norwood.

    Please look at the facts that were linked to in that thread for 2013 ISAT results. While 96 % of McDade students meet or exceed on that test. Only 58% actually meet the exceed threshold. It has been shown that the meets threshold is pretty easy to meet, The exceed threshold is more challenging to hit.

    In that thread it was asked to sort the schools not by the minimum “meets” but look at the schools by how many are hitting the exceeds bar. Exceeds are also typically the kids hitting the high scores on ISAT to qualify for SEHS or ACs.

    For the obsessed parents on these threads, those are important variables in school selection. But as I indicated in that post, scores are not everything.

  • 149. anonymouse teacher  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    @142, I can’t speak for all of Cardenas, but I do know a primary teacher there and she is beyond fabulous. She should be teaching ed majors.

  • 150. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 29, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    @145 Family Friend, thanks for the great tips on South Side charters! Is Amandla planning to grow lower than 5th grade or will that always be its entry year?

  • 151. LynnJ  |  March 30, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Thanks Danielle SB for feedback on Dixon.

  • 152. M. Norwood  |  March 30, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    @148. 19th ward mom

    I understand completely that it’s more challenging to meet the exceeds threshold. I’m not debating the alleged facts in the thread or your interpretation of the data. I haven’t studied the information in the thread so I won’t challenge it’s validity, but I am very familiar with the data presented to the school. If it matches, so be it, but that is not my issue. I was simply correcting your statement that –

    “The number to the right of the school name is the number of kids that exceed on the ISAT.”

    This is incorrect. There were many more than 58 McDade students that exceeded the standards. It’s a big difference between 58 students and 58% of the student population. To state that only 58 of our kids exceeded the standards paints our school in a negative light. I believe you meant 58% and I will accept that it was an honest mistake. All I ask is if you take the time to present what you believe is accurate data, please make the effort to ensure your comments are accurate as well. For the obsessed parents on these threads, FACTUAL information and comments are important variables in school selection.

  • 153. SoxSideIrish4  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    107. 19th ward Mom | March 28, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t want to be nitpicky, but for cps obsessed parents like myself, Mt. Greenwood 30 should be #6; EARHART 21 &WARD, J 21 should tie for 10th.

  • 154. 19th ward mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    @152 m. Norwood

    I think it was pretty clear to everyone but you that the numbers were percentage especially if they took the time to look at the data that was referenced. If you have problems with the data take it up with the state board. It seems to be a sore spot with you.

    To use the actual number of students frames no point of reference with the total numbers at that school. So like everyone else we use percentages to do comparisons. That is the only logical thing.

    Now can we continue the point of this thread or are you looking to argue another non-needed point.

  • 155. 19th ward mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    @153 SoxSideIrish4

    You are absolutely right, I overlooked them when I was trying to pull out the southside schools. And to think I call myself a 19th ward mom. :).

    KELLER 76
    LENART 69
    MCDADE 58
    POE 50
    Mt. Greenwood 30
    HEALY 27
    EARHART 21*
    WARD, J 21*

    The number to the right of the school name is the number of kids that exceed on the ISAT.
    * Tie for 10th

    I guess the next argument is what I am defining as southside. 🙂

  • 156. carris  |  March 30, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Hello eveyone! I’m new to the forum. I have 2 1/2 year old twins. One was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Does anyone have any insight on good south side schools for special needs children pre-k? We’re located in beverly. I have so many questions, please bear with me lol…..

  • 157. Southside mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 3:40 pm


    Barbara a Vick

  • 158. Where should I move?  |  March 30, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I love this post!! We are looking to get a bigger place on the south side, and I see homes for sale in school districts that I’d love to know more about including Kozminski in Hyde Park, and Holden in Bridgeport. The stats are bad on those, but are any parents at these school on this thread? I don’t trust stats and would rather hear directly from parents.

    I’d love insight on the schools in Chinatown, as those all have good stats, but how are the schools, really?

    And last question for anyone who’s listening: I was on the CPS School locator and saw that Powell, just south of the South Shore cultural center, is level 1. That’s a surprise to me. Does anyone know much about Powell?

  • 159. Maureen Kelleher  |  March 30, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    @156 Carris I was just talking to an LSC member at McClellan in Bridgeport yesterday. Apparently they have a spectrum program. Didn’t get details but will let you know if I find out more.

  • 160. Veteran  |  March 30, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    #156 You need to go to your neighborhood CPS school to fill out the paperwork now to get your child placed when he is 3.

  • 161. Father-of-1daughter  |  March 30, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Yes my daughter will attend Keller. My wife and I are so proud, but sad because Beasley has a great RGC program. I just think Keller is smaller and my daughter will learn to love it. My daughter loves Beasley and her teacher just as much. I think if you have the good fortune to attend Beasley RGC program go for it. Every school loose kids to seventh and eight grade programs but lets be honest, parents would pay to get their children into a classical or gifted program. Beasley was great!!!!

  • 162. Southside mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    @156. If distance isn’t a problem. Brete Harte in Hyde park, Skinner West at the preschool annex, Otis and Coonley. Too name a few

    Your home school will have to complete an evaluation and placement is sent from central office. However you have a right to deny and request a new one. I went through the same process with one of my twins 5 years ago. It helps to have an trusted advisor on your side that knows your child as your advocate.

    Hope this helps!

  • 163. 19th ward mom  |  March 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    @156 carris

    If you are on Facebook, there is a mom’s of Beverly & Mt. Greenwood board that is very helpful with local schools and questions. They would know lots about Barbara Vick. It is a hidden group though and you have to be added by a current member.

    Let me know if you are interested.

  • 164. carris  |  March 30, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Thank you for the feedback Maureen and everyone! @Southside mom I didn’t realize I would have that many options.Thanks, I’ll look into those school’s. I’ve heard about Barbara Vick but was also told that they may have a waiting list. May I ask which school did you choose and how was it? @ 19th ward mom I would be interested in the Facebook Group. I’ll put in a request. Thanks!

  • 165. Carla  |  March 31, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Thank you for the South Side thread. It was greatly needed. I will have a K at Lenart and 3rd grader at Keller. We love Keller, its an excellent school with great Leadership.

  • 166. ruby  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:37 am

    A quick question for southside parents. My daughter was accepted to Poe. We are thrilled about the offer but are worried about the logistics of the daily commute. We live in Hyde Park and it is my understanding that this is outside of the service area for the school bus. Are there other transportation options ( I work so driving there each day would be difficult)? Is anyone using private transportation services and if so which?
    Finally, thank you for the South Side thread!

  • 167. BeverlyParent  |  March 31, 2014 at 9:03 am

    @164 If your child has special needs, they would have preference on the wait list, I believe. Not sure how it works if you are outside attendance area. Someone else might know that.

  • 168. One Year to Go  |  March 31, 2014 at 9:52 am

    @ruby I don’t know about private busing options, but when I visited Poe, there was a display of projects the kids did about their neighborhoods, and Hyde Park was represented. You might want to try calling the main office and asking to get connected to other Hyde Park parents. Perhaps you could work out a car pool.

  • 169. 1moreSouthSider  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:14 am

    My DD received a couple of decent offers in the CPS magnet lottery and then today received an accept from University of Chicago NKO. I’ve seen a couple of posts for NKO, but welcoming any other comments as we originally planned to use that option as a back-up if CPS didn’t work out. Now we (fortunatey) have more decisions to make prior to April 11th.

  • 170. PREP Chicago  |  March 31, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    @166 The afterschool program that my kids attend, Children’s Rendez-Vous, does a pickup at Poe. . They have an excellent afterschool program in addition to the transportation and they are located in Kenwood at 51st and Greenwood.

  • 171. M. Norwood  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    @154. 19th ward mom

    SoxSideIrish4 points out one of your mistakes and you’re good with that, but a McDade parent does the same thing and it elicits this type of response??!! Unreal!

    I don’t have a problem with the data and I said as much. This was never an arguement. Your statement was wrong. I merely pointed it out. For whatever reason, my doing so is a MAJOR sore spot for you. I think it’s pretty clear why. That’s your sickness to deal with. You’re beaneath me and not worth my time.

  • 172. Edith Cardenas Michmerhuizen  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    My child received two offers. One from Mark Sheridan and the other from the RGC for English Language Learners at Orozco. I cannot find much info about the RGC at Orozco. Do you know anything about it? Would you recommend one school over the other? (Orozco vs Sheridan)

  • 173. Veteran  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    OT Please vote for Katie McAlinden, a cancer survivor and CPS teacher. Voting ends tomorrow and she is in second place-let’s move her into first place!

  • 174. In Bridgeport  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    @165 Carla
    I was wondering if you found the homework to be over the top when your daughter was in K at Lenart? Some comments I’ve read about the intensity of RGCs, even in K, worries me. My son, who was accepted to Lenart, requires ample amount of time for creative play and a school with tons of homework would be a struggle.

    This is a tough decision for us because we feel he’ll be missing out on the social and community aspect of the neighborhood Catholic school he’s in for preK. Although, it seems Lenart may be better able to meet his academic needs. It would be great if there are other incoming K families at Lenart in close proximity to us.

  • 175. DanielleSB  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    Did anyone take the school tour today for McDade? When I called to ask if I could tour Friday the office clerk told me Friday is not good for them and they had a tour today but I didn’t see it posted anywhere. I will be touring Wednesday morning.

  • 176. Kay&EvsMommy  |  March 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Thankful for this thread! Also received 2 offers in the CPS magnet lottery (Ray and Smyth) and then received an accept from University of Chicago NKO. I’ve seen a couple of posts for NKO, but welcoming any other comments as we are strongly considering cps vs. charter and which would be best in the long run. Decision time!

  • 177. Southside mom  |  March 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    @ 164. If you will like to connect please feel free to contact me via gmail at chi mommie x 3. No spaces.

    As aside note I suggest families start to consider NTA neighborhood school before it’s overcrowded with “new” neighborhood and RGC sibling students (i.e. South Loop School). Especially if you are in the Bronzeville/Oakland area where schools with resources are few and NTA is a closer commute. I live in the area and have kids at SEES and Magnet schools and wish NTA was a choice when we started out.

  • 178. CPS not obsessed yet  |  March 31, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Does anyone have any comments/ impressions of Pui Tak Christian school in Chinatown?

  • 179. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:22 am

    @150 Maureen Kelleher: At this time there are no expansion plans for Amandla, but we are always talking about expansion and second campus options in our long-range planning. Our founders were high school teachers at Robeson, who originally planned just a high school. But research revealed that it is difficult to catch kids up to an elite level in just four years, so we started at 5th grade. Our most likely next step is a second middle school on the south side. Right now we have trouble filling our high school classes, which results in freshman classes divided between very high and very low performing. Students from a second campus would not have priority in admission to the high school, but their families would know what Amandla is about and would be inclined to keep their kids in a school with our model.

  • 180. Family Friend  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:36 am

    @168 and @176 NKO: The University of Chicago Charter Schools are well run, and have great teachers and involved families. They are run by or very closely tied to the university’s urban education program, which means lots of support from the university, including great consulting on the latest research on what works. Graduates of the elementary programs have priority for admission to the middle and high school programs and their high school graduates have an excellent college admissions rate (in the high 90s). I have never toured any of their campuses so I can’t comment on intangibles, but I know a former teacher at NKO who absolutely loved it. I would ask to tour all the schools where your child has been accepted (some may not agree because of the disruption, and I would not necessarily hold that against them), and ask for the telephone numbers of parents you can talk to. See if the parents are focused on the same things you are — can they answer your questions about academics and social and emotional development or do they just talk about how much they like a particular teacher? I have noticed that communities will rally around schools that are failing miserably on the academic side because they create a good sense of community. In the ideal world, parents should be able to choose schools that succeed in both areas. Call the Principal and see if you get a cordial return call. It’s not essential, but it really adds to my comfort with a school.

  • 181. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:23 am

    @172 Re: Orozco vs Sheridan. I would take a good look at Orozco. They got a new principal recently and I would want to know how that is going. Orozco has a lovely building and I’ve met some great K teachers there, but it’s stats for later on, like entrance to SEHS, are not outstanding. Sheridan has a much better track record. Orozco has more Spanish than Sheridan, which I believe has none, but the focus is on transitioning children into English. At 6th grade neighborhood students come to Orozco for middle school. They have had some longstanding partnerships for after school programs at the middle school level. Hope you are able to see them both up close and determine for yourself which is the right fit for your child and family.

  • 182. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Also wondering if anyone has heard about the Chicago Free School, a new private school opening in Hyde Park. I think they are positioning themselves as an alternative to test mania in CPS.

  • 183. Gennatay  |  April 1, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the Chicago Virtual Charter school?

  • 184. PK in HP  |  April 1, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    @182 Maureen Kelleher: Hearing about Chicago Free School.

    Yes- I know a few HP families that are interested in this school and its concept. It is still in the fundraising stages but I believe they hope to open this coming school year and will be located in the Augustana Lutheran Church building on Woodlawn & 55th. I believe the school is just using the building space and isn’t associated with the church. Students apparently would have a voice in setting rules, what they learn & how they learn it. There will not be a principle. The families that I know are interested in the idea of having small class sizes and a creative environment for their kids to learn. It is definitely not for everyone and I can imagine decision making will be a struggle (or nightmare!) but interesting.

  • 185. Maddie M.  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    I know this is more of a blog for parents, but as I was reading comments, I felt I could answer a few questions. I am currently a student at Lenart RGC in the 8th grade. I started out at St. Therese in Chinatown for pre-k and kindergarten. Truth be told, I can’t tell you much. I know that I enjoyed class and liked my teachers but that’s about it. However, they must have done a pretty good job because i then tested into skinner. But as for the gifted test, I bombed that. I went to Skinner west for k-3. Because I went to pre-k early, I had to do kindergarten again. My time at Skinner, was not the best. I was a mostly A student with a few B’s. Most classes I did well in but math was a struggle. I went to Skinner when they were in their temporary building because they were renovating the original. The biggest thing for me at Skinner was it’s size. With about 2-3 classes per grade, it was overwhelming and I do recall incidents of bullying. I remember taking mandarin there and I loved it. I was in the gifted program at skinner but I don’t remember much of it (I just have a random trophy in my room). During 2nd grade, my sister had just tested into Lenart RGC and got in and so for convenience, my parents wanted me to test, just to see if I could get in and it would stop them from going back and forth. At first, I didn’t get it. I did however get into Keller but that was too far for my parents to drive me. However, during 3rd grade, my mom got a call from cps that said a seat just opened up and I could go. So it must have been pretty tough because you have to literally wait for seats. I wish luck to all those who are testing because i understand where the frustration is coming from.I made my little pros and cons list and decided to take my seat. And I have been going there ever since. I have tough love for this school because it is very challenging and does give a lot of homework. So I would not recommend this school for children who can’t handle a rigorous curriculum. But here at Lenart, I have flourished. I have had straight A’s since 4th grade so I guess I do much better here than at Skinner. Math is now one of my strongest subjects and I am one of the best in the class so I have come a long way from my Skinner days. As for teachers, I definitely have my favorites but I don’t hate any of them. I have many friends and will be sad to see them go. I do see how people say that Leanrt is lacking with funding and it is true. Many teachers were cut and some do double duty (same teacher for science and s.s.). we do hold lots of fundraisers but we have a very involved parent club who try their best. They host events like fall frolic or literacy night and we just had a candle fundraiser. The library is a work in progress and while we don’t have an official art teacher, we do have a lady come every Thursdays who works with us for about an hour. Extracurricular activities are not the best. There are few and I have pretty much tried all of them. But overall, this school I do enjoy. I don’t dread school though it will wear me down and I do have late night studying. All the kids here are smart and we are currently doing sophomore reading, geometry, and biology. The thing that may be lacking is motivation… But when I look back and compare between my experiences at lenart and skinner, I am very glad I chose lenart.

  • 186. Maddie M.  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Other things I saw was what high schools kids are getting into from the schools. Personally, I will be attending Walter Payton and a few other kids are too. Many are going to Jones and a handful to Whitney. A few to Northside and some got full rides to Lake Forest, Mt. Carmel, Mcauley, etc. The thing for my class is that my class had choices. People with 898 are going to Jones and people with 896 are going to young. I feel lenart really gave me good education because I got to have my choice of school.

  • 187. South Loop Mom  |  April 1, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Maddie – thank you so much for the contribution. I hope my CPS first grader is as articulate and helpful as you are 7 years from now!

  • 188. PoeParent  |  April 1, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    @185 Maddie- Congrats to you Maddie M. You make Lenart look good!

    @166 Ruby – Try calling the office to see if they have any flyers. I have seen flyers in the office for transportation services on occasion.

  • 189. BeverlyParent  |  April 2, 2014 at 7:11 am

    @185 Very well stated, Maddie & congrats on Payton! One of the things I was most impressed with on my visit to Lenhart was the kids. They were bright, articulate (more so than many college students), and they were all going to great high schools (last years class). The principal listed all the students’ schools, not just 4 or 5. I was less impressed by the library, resources, etc. But the kids? Very impressive. Ranked it #2 for my kid.

  • 190. LynnJ  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Thanks Maddie for your post!

    @beverlyparent, I too visited Lenart back in November 2013. Very impressed overall with the academics, the children’s energy and the passion that the parents have about the school. And yes, all of their 8th graders from this past school year went on to top high schools around the city. Old building and limited resources are true. Their budget, like many other CPS schools, was cut and the principal was very honest about that during her presentation. What confused me most when I first drove up to the school was a stone with another school name on it. But that of course is minor compared to what goes on inside of the school! If my DD was offered a spot, we surely would have taken it! Love the diversity of the student body!

  • 191. LynnJ  |  April 2, 2014 at 8:45 am

    southloopmom, not sure if you are monitoring this thread today. If you are, shoot me an email at Thanks.

  • 192. One More Year to Go  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:50 am

    @189 Beverly Parent–That was exactly my impression of the school. I loved the Lenart kids. When I visited, many of the young ladies were buzzing over wanting to go to Choate or other east coast boarding schools. I later found out that they had just had a high school fair where those boarding schools visited and obviously, made a huge impression on them. It was absolutely adorable.

    On paper, Lenart was going to be my #1 pick before I visited NTA. But now that I’ve seen NTA and the facilities, Lenart has moved to #2. I am weighing the newness of NTA’s program against the proven achievement of Lenart. But NTA also edges out Lenart for me because it’s closer, and also, I think we’d really struggle with Lenart’s 7:45 start time.

  • 193. Carla  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    The homework was not over the top for my K at Lenart. I truly understand your dilemma regarding community and social aspect, we had a very close K class, as I stated my daughter transferred to Keller for 2nd grade but we still attend birthday parties from her former classmates because they built very strong bonds, she does miss all her classmates but loves Keller more.

  • 194. BeverlyParent  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    @ 192. We did the exact same thing. NTA took our #1 spot, and my child will be going there in the fall. We are most concerned about the effect of the commute on our kid. We were very impressed with the kindergarten classroom and teacher, as well as the principal. Lenart does have the track record, but I think NTA will too. We are also realistic that his friends will be all over the city, but I actually don’t think that is such a bad thing.

  • 195. Mom of Twins 2  |  April 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Can anyone shed any light on what the homework is like for 1st grade at Keller?

  • 196. One More Year to Go  |  April 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    @194 Beverly Parent–How funny. You will be doing the opposite commute of what I do now. DD handles the commute just fine. Your little one will, too. I definitely think that NTA will rise, and will rise quickly. I hope we’ll be joining you in fall 2015!

  • 197. Sosidemom5  |  April 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    There is quite a bit of homework at Keller in first grade, especially if you are coming out of a kindergarten that required little in the way of writing. However, the teacher is absolutely AMAZING–I literally cannot say enough about her, so the homework is all relevant and worthwhile. It’s not simply busywork.

  • 198. Mom of Twins 2  |  April 2, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    @197 Sosidemom5 Thanks so much. I’ve heard great things about the Kindergarten teacher. Although my little guy hasn’t done much writing, I think he’ll get the hang of it quickly. Hopefully! 🙂

  • 199. ChrisK  |  April 2, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Has anyone heard anything about St. Margarets of Scotland off 99th?

  • 200. LynnJ  |  April 2, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I wonder has the SEES and Magnet process improved at all over the last few years to make this process flow a bit better? This is my first time in the process applying for K, and I see areas where they can improve. Why don’t they narrow the testing window in order to get test and lottery results sooner? Better yet, start the testing process in September or October and have more than one testing center. Why is IIT the only test site? Why do parents need 3 weeks to make a decision on accepting a spot? By the end of the school year, all parents should know what school their child(ren)will attend and the majority of the waitlisted parents would also know by late spring of early summer if they got a spot in round two.

    This process is so backwards.

  • 201. Southside Mom  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    @ChrisK my neighbor’s children attended St. Margaret. One graduated and went to DeLaSalle the other is still there. I don’t know about the academics but the parents are very satisfied. The class sizes are very small. I think there were 20 kids in the graduating class last year. Most of the kids go to Catholic High schools from what I was told.

  • 202. CPS wonderland  |  April 2, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Anyone knows about open house at Mark Sheridan? I can’t find any info.
    Thank you!

  • 203. Disappointed in Montessori  |  April 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    We sent our son to Englewood Montessori for K this year, specifically because the principal worked at Northside Montessori; however, we have been very disappointed and we are at the point of pulling our son out in the middle of the school year. The school focuses too much on socio-emotional development and not enough on academics, resulting in a problematic culture. I would suggest that you NOT send your child here if you are a middle class parent – the focus seems to be more on supporting lower income students who may have additional social needs than providing a rigorous, academic environment.

  • 204. Family Friend  |  April 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    @183 Chicago Virtual: I have visited Chicago Virtual and had a long talk with the principal. It’s not for everyone, but it could be a godsend. Because students move at their own pace, the population tends to be an upside down bell curve — very bright kids and kids who struggle. It’s good for both; advanced students don’t have to wait for anyone, and slower students get to learn the material without holding up everyone else. You definitely need someone at home to supervise. Classes meet on line, but most of the learning is self-directed. In other words, you study the material, which is presented in a fairly engaging way, answer questions along the way, and progress or go back according to your success in answering. On-line classes are scheduled on a regular basis and led by certified teachers. One day a week there are activities at the school, so that kids get to meet and socialize. With younger kids, an adult needs to be an active partner; with older kids someone has to make sure they are not goofing off.

    On the down side, the school tries but I am not sure it succeeds in building community. The last time I paid attention (it may have changed, so check if you are interested), the board was not truly independent, but was installed by and went along with the wishes of K-12, which operates the school. The principal was new when I met him, and I was optimistic about his ability to make a difference. Most of the parents seemed really happy — they kept coming back.

    I think if you want to home school your child but don’t want the burden of doing it all, or don’t want a religious curriculum, this could be your school. If your child gets intensely involved with a topic and wants to run with it, this could be the right choice. If your child struggles and you think he would do better with more individual attention, this is your chance to provide it in a structured and guided manner. They have regular open houses. I did not expect to be impressed when I visited, but I was.

  • 205. ChrisK  |  April 2, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Southmom thanks for the info.They have a open house this month. Will look into it!

  • 206. Carla  |  April 3, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Lenart is having an informational for the new K class tomorrow, hopefully we will meet a lot of new parents tomorrow.

  • 207. For Bridgeport residents...  |  April 3, 2014 at 11:17 am

    FWIW, I just toured Holden Elementary in Bridgeport. I believe the principal said they had 13 8th graders go to SEES schools last year, up from zero a few years ago. It seems to be on the upswing. The art teacher was very enthusiastic, the algebra teacher seems like a star. Worth checking out.

  • 208. Longwood Mom  |  April 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Daughter tested for Kdg and got into Poe Classical with Math @ 99 and Reading @ 89 and RGC score @ 115. We are in Tier 4. Poe was third choice after 1) Lenart and 2) McDade. Interestingly, we got waitlisted for all our close neighborhood schools (Kellogg, Sutherland, etc), so it really was coming down to the selective enrollment results.

    Initially, excited b/c Poe is a top ranking school, but equally apprehensive. The neighborhood is questionable and, per CPS data, I really would like more student diversity represented. Although incredibly grateful, I still kept hope alive for Lenart and made plans to keep pursuing. I mean seriously, for the last week, I was stalking the Office of Access and Enrollment with Lenart questions.

    However, I just completed a Poe tour this morning and blown away!!!Why this school is not highlighted and sought after more–I have no idea. The kids are bright & well mannered, the teachers are instructionally strong, and administration friendly, approachable and ambitious. It was not staged for the sake of visitors, but an every day feel and synergy. An epic lesson learned–don’t make assumptions until all information and evidence is accounted. Now, I feel really good about the upcoming school year. Will keep all posted as things unfold. If there are any current Poe parents out there–would really like to connect and hear your feedback. I saw a couple of Poe postings above which were extremely helpful! If you are comfortable sharing email, let me know.

  • 209. Rachel K  |  April 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    @208 Longwood Mom – I am a Poe parent and we love the school. The principal and AP are new and they bring a lot of energy and excitement to the building. The teachers and staff were always warm and welcoming so the new administration is like a breath of fresh air.

    I agree about the neighborhood – it is sketchy but it’s changing and I can’t say that I’ve ever felt uneasy being there, even at night for LSC or PTA meetings. We were also looking for a bit more diversity as we are a biracial family, and I think there could be more strides made there. But that’s not in the hands of the school. What they do offer is an on-site Spanish teacher who is wonderful and a commitment to learn about and celebrate different cultures.

    Poe is one of the best kept secrets on the south side. If you want more in-depth info about the school, feel free to contact me at

  • 210. Kate Cabral  |  April 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    I thought I’d offer some information about Gunsaulus magnet at 44th & Sacramento. My son got an offer there for K next year and we toured the school last week. Overall, I liked it and my husband thought it was just ok, that it wasn’t or wouldn’t be any different from our McKinley Park neighborhood school.

    I emailed one of the principals (there is a separate principal for K-3) about setting up a tour and she replied within a couple of hours. She was very friendly and we easily arranged a tour. We got there and an office staff member walked us around. The principal, Meghan Duffy, ended up meeting up with us halfway through and talked with us for about 10 minutes before she got pulled away. She really wanted to make sure we had all our questions answered and I got a great impression from her.

    We peaked into the 3 K classrooms (2 are monolingual/English and 1 is bilingual) but didn’t talk to any teachers. The kids looked happy. We saw their music room (ok) and their wonderful art room. Gunsaulus is an old building (in good shape) and the art room probably used to be the teachers lounge; it was huge and had an old fireplace. The kids we saw moving between classes seemed well behaved without being robots. The art and music teachers and librarian (with an MLS/advanced library degree) are all full time.

    A negative for me is that I asked the staff person giving the tour that since it’s a magnet school, what is its focus (STEM’s is science & technology, etc.). Her response was “oh, we just focus on everything!” There also doesn’t seem to be a lot of parental involvement, or that is an issue for them, at least. They don’t have any after school programs (classes or after care), which is an issue for us. We asked the principal what working parents do and she said she just doesn’t know and guessed that relatives must take care of the kids after school.

    Gunsaulus is not at the top of my list, but it looks like a good school. Like I said, my husband didn’t see anything really special here. We’re torn, though, because it’s good and conveniently located (it’s just down Archer from us about 2 miles). Our other 2 offers right now are inconveniently located but more appealing otherwise, Burr and Pritzker magnet. I’m having a difficult time deciding if convenience (Gun.) is more important than an interesting/exciting school (Burr or Pritzker). Sigh, any opinions are welcome!!

    Oh, and somebody from Gunsaulus did call me yesterday asking if we’ll be enrolling our son or not. I said we’re still deciding. I confirmed that we have until the 11th to turn in our confirmation but she seemed ticked that we haven’t decided yet (!).

  • 211. Longwood Mom  |  April 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    @209 Rachel K–all so true and amazing, thank you. Poe had me before I entered the building. As I parked, I watched as a child deboarded the bus. It was late (only a few minutes, not a lot) due to rain/inclement weather. Before she reached the last step, a staff member rushed out with an umbrella, warmly greeted her and ensured she made it in secure and dry. She was smiling and bounced right into the building. It was such an authentic moment and an indicator that a) she enjoyed being at school and b) she was comfortable with the staff.

    Aside from the academic success, which is easily validated through data, today I was seeking contextual clues regarding community, culture and climate. I saw confirmations of my earlier observations in spades.

    Rachael, we are a biracial family as well, so I am definitely going to follow up with you via email. I have a few questions. Thanks!

  • 212. DanielleSB  |  April 3, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    @Longwood Mom I am a parent of a Poe Kdg. She loves it. She was accepted to McDade for 1st, however after touring Wednesday I believe she will stay at Poe. She was one of the kids that received the phone call a few days before school started last year and we accepted after attending the last minute parent registration. I found the teacher, principal and AP extremely energetic and forth coming. On the times that I have visited the school there was a sense of warmth from the staff and the children all seemed generally happy to be doing whatever it was they were doing. I didn’t get the same vibe from McDade. Indeed the children were bright (we know all of these students are bright) but they did not appear to be as exuberant as the Poe kids or even the kids at Lenart, during her PreK years. I also have a thing with tones and I didn’t care for the tones that the teachers I was able to observe at McDade had with the children. I would love more diversity as well and will continue to have her test for that reason alone for the years to come. I attended Kenwood and Whitney Young and feel that having diversity is a great thing.

  • 213. Southside edu mom  |  April 3, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Does anyone know why Keller doesn’t have a kindergarten class?

  • 214. 1moreSouthSider  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

    It’s hard to believe this process could go on through the 3rd week of school. It’s so much going on right now with open houses, filtering through school emails amongst the junk in my in-box, reading multiple threads on this blog, checking voicemail for wait list calls….yikes! I’m going to need a vacation once school actually begins.

  • 215. NIse  |  April 4, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Hello Was wondering if anyone knows how far does the waiting list go for Sheridan 4th grade? My son is wl at #4

  • 216. cps teacher and parent  |  April 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I am a parent and I teach in cps. Mt. Greenwood seems obsessed with only test scores. The administration, while loved by some, appears to micromanage and be negative toward the private schools in the area. It is tiresome to hear how MT G is so advanced. Sutherland School feels the they are too special with a arrogant vibe. Cassell is a ray under the radar.No positive or negative feel in area. Clissold seems to push the Montessori program and not much else.

  • 217. Wanderer  |  April 4, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Carnegie, McDade, Diversity – OH MY!

    My daughter attended Carnegie for K & 1st grade. It wasn’t my first choice by far. However the the teachers were fantastic, and once she was with them I never worried. But I was concerned about how good the upper grades were, so I decided I would keep trying to find a better option for middle years. She loved her teachers, friends and school. The neighborhood is a mixed bag, but honestly I never encountered a problem. They don’t break out the RGC scores, but Carnegie is on probation. I think the RGC is good, but the rest of the school not doing so well.

    I got a call in August for McDade and we jumped at it. But when we arrived I found out the 2nd grade teacher was leaving at the end of October. I was really concerned, but decided to jump in and help find a replacement. So far my daughter is doing fantastic and loves her teacher.

    Academics were definitely more challenging for my daughter at McDade at the beginning. She got her first bad grade ever, and was crushed. I just told her every single day, I don’t care as long as you do your best – you make me proud. In reading, two of the books they read she had already read in 1st grade at Carnegie!

    I think McDade staff is very friendly, especially compared to Carnegie’s office staff. I used to dread going into the office for that reason. To be fair Carnegie got a new principal last year and she really seems to be cleaning house! I like what I saw while I was there, and think there will be continued improvement. There are a handful of white families at Carnegie, in the primary grades. They seem to walk from Hyde Park daily.

    McDade is a small school, but that’s a plus. At Carnegie, recess was pretty wild at times even though they tried to keep the big kids separate. My daughter didn’t like the big kids, and mornings outside the school were too chaotic. A small but regular group of parents helped watch over our class before the bell. After school it was easy to catch up and chat with the teacher.

    McDade by contrast seems rather parochial for my tastes. While polite and professional, I felt it lacked warmth. But they seem very nurturing with the kids, know all of them, and kids seem to love it. The teachers don’t come outside so there is limited opportunity for informal communication. But they are 100% responsive to every request I’ve made.

    I guess I just can’t be pleased! :). It would never have worked for my oldest child, but my little one is doing so well, I’m feeling better about my decision every day. I think regardless of how I feel, the bottom line is, is it a good fit for my kid? Every school isn’t a fit for every kid, regardless of reputation and scores. Do your research, don’t just rely on what you read, and make the best choice for the kid you have, not the school you want.

    If you really value diversity, it takes extra effort…it just doesn’t happen on it’s own. If you aren’t used to being in the minority, it takes the will to challenge your assumptions and personal comfort level. Based on my experience with diverse and homogeneous schools, both as a student and a parent, I think diversity is overvalued by minorities and underrated by the majority lol! It’s what you find in that school community that matters most. This will always be an issue in a city as segregated as Chicago.

    I grew up in Englewood, and as a product of CPS I traveled all over the city as my father was always looking for the ‘best’ school. I was sad to leave my friends every year. I went to Skinner, Whitney Young, Murray and Lincoln in that order. I went to Lindblom all four years and made friends for life. It was not diverse and it was not Whitney Young, but I loved Lindblom and was so lost and miserable at Young. I took AP classes and got into several top universities, ending up with a full scholarship for the first two years.

    No one WANTS to travel across town for a good school, but many Af. Amer. families are accustomed to the practice. My oldest leaves home at 640 am for an 815 start across town the past 3 years! But of course no one would choose that unless they had to. I am hoping she gets into Brooks via principal’s discretion to cut that awful commute. As for the neighborhood, that’s what cars are for.

  • 218. pantherettie  |  April 5, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    My daughter went to Ray 1st – 6th grade. She’s now at an Academic Center at the Selective Enrollment High School where she’ll remain until she graduates. I’m really very sorry to hear that families are not considering Ray an option and would rather have an hour long commute. My thinking about Ray is this. It’s a strong public school. It has dedicated teachers and a strong and committed principal. There were and still are some problems in the upper grades that can be directly linked to the former principal during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years. She misused funds and significantly disrupted the teaching environment to the point that many strong families did not keep their kids in the school. Some of the “brain drain” that happens at Ray after 4th grade was due to the fact that up until the 2013-2014 school
    Year, the highest grade was 6th. Parents often tested and moved their kids to SEES so that they continue to through 8th grade. Now the brain drain occurs because kids leave to attend ACs. Last year out 80-85 kids between 25-30 kids were accepted and attended ACs. So the problem is and will remain that younger grades are more socially and intellectually diverse than the older ones. It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad school it just means that you need to know the strengths and weaknesses. I say that it’s really worthwhile to speak to some Ray parents IRL to get perspectives before deciding that it’s not an option for your family.

  • 219. hyde park mom  |  April 5, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I actually have spoken to Ray parents.I also have children in the prek and have observed first hand the discipline issues in the upper grades.Parents have told me that once their child reaches third grade,they transfer to other schools.Its a strong community on a nice block, but I feel the school has gone downhill.It used to be a level one magnet,now its a level 2.The cons:only goes up to sixth grade,but some sources tell me its adding a grade each year and will go up to 8th.Hopefully.The school starts so late,8:45,how in heavens do working parents get to work?I dont have the luxury of making my own hours or being a stay home mom for those hours to fit my schedule.Furthermore,I still would have to fork over hundreds per month to hire a private company to take my kids there,we dont qualify for bussing,its a neighborhood school.I figure I may as well send them to a much better school thats further away if thats the case.I feel
    Ray is a school in.a nice community,but its just mediocre.Along with Murray and Harte.I will not send my kids there just for convenience,especially since we are a family of color.We dont need any more setbacks.

  • 220. pantherettie  |  April 5, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    HPMom – as I read your post it sounded to me like you felt that I was implying that you should absolutely go to Ray. I’m not saying that at all. I’m also not trying to judge you or anyone else for deciding to send your kids to a school outside of Hyde Park. As a long time HP resident and a U of C alum and a woman of color I understand why you want the best for your kids. I’m just providing some info for families that are still open to considering Ray. This blog reaches many people for whom Ray is their neighborhood school and only choice. I think that I have a valid point of view as a parent who had extensive experience with the school as a parent, volunteer and community member. HPMom, I don’t doubt that you spoke with some parents and I agree that Ray has challenges but it is a strong school. It continues to be a magnet cluster school(although I don’t believe that is in any way an appropriate judge of the quality of a school). The level 2 vs. level 1 status is the consequence of bad leadership for two years. I understand why you would make a decision based on those ratings but it Definately does not provide the whole picture of the school. Regarding discipline, I’m not sure at all what’s going on this year but I absolutely reject the idea that Ray had a systemic discipline problem with the upper grades ( 4th, 5th and 6th) over the past two years. There were kids that got into trouble, as there are in all schools, but to say that it was just full of problems is simply untrue. As I said, it’s really up to you to determine what’s right for your kids. I’m just going to say that there are many, many parents of kids in older grades and some who have already left or graduated from the school that would give an alternate view of the school than the one you presented here.

  • 221. LynnJ  |  April 5, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    Anyone have feedback on Cassell? It’s a level 1 school on the south side. A tiny bit of diversity but not a ton.

  • 222. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:26 am

    Cassell is a great school and they are getting an annex next year to relieve over crowding.

  • 223. LynnJ  |  April 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

    SouthSideIrish4 will the annex be for certain grades? Or maybe the question is how many grade levels/classes are they adding? And will the annex be at the current location of the school?

  • 224. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

    The annex is at the current location at Cassell, w/8 more classrooms.

  • 225. LynnJ  |  April 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Wow that’s great about Cassell!

  • 226. SuperMom  |  April 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Can somebody please let me know if Sutherland would be a good fit for a kid who also qualified for a regional gifted center. I care more about an amazing school environment and rigorous instruction than I do a gifted label. So Sutherland parents where are you? Represent.

  • 227. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    I am so happy they are getting an annex at Cassell. I have a cousin attending there and her 7th grade class had more than 40 kids in it, with no assistant or co-teacher. There were also a few primary grades with 40+, no assistant, no co-teacher. They are desperate for the space.

  • 228. anonymouse teacher  |  April 6, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    @210, I know the new-ish principal at Gunsaulus and he’s really, really, really good. I think karma worked in his favor and he finally got a decent school. I’m glad for him. Gunsaulus is lucky.

  • 229. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 6, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    226. SuperMom | April 6, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    I think any school in the 19th ward would be a good fit for a student who tested into a rgc.

  • 230. SutherlandParent  |  April 7, 2014 at 10:59 am

    @226 SuperMom, for what it’s worth, I know of at least two kids who have transferred from RGCs to Sutherland and another who transferred from an RGC to Mt. Greenwood. I think it depends on your kid, which is always true! We have some amazing teachers at Sutherland, but some of the classes are large (30+ students), which is hard for any teacher.

    Of course, my SutherlandStudents are marvelous and perfect and awesome in every way :), but I do wish one was a little more academically challenged. This kid got into the second choice Academic Center this year, but will stay at Sutherland. The advantages of being there outweigh the stress of commuting and changing schools, we think.

  • 231. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 7, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    So, South Side friends, do you want me to add a long comment here about south side high schools or offer a second guest post? I really won’t be able to do it justice until early May due to press of work, etc. I was thinking about offering a separate guest post but maybe we should just keep it all in one thread. Let me know what you all think about one South Side thread or a second thread just for high schools.

  • 232. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 7, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    I vote for a second thread for SouthSide high schools!!

  • 233. South Loop Mom  |  April 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    I vote for a separate HS thread. We were at NTA today and learned that our zoned neighborhood high school – Wendell Phillips Academy – is a Level 1 HS (located at 244 E. Pershing). My oldest is in first grade…. But we have 3 kids and need to plan long term.

  • 234. southie  |  April 7, 2014 at 8:50 pm


  • 235. cpsobsessed  |  April 7, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Ok, I’ll make the south side HS thread tomorrow.
    So great to see all the discussion on the south side schools – thanks to everyone for contributing!

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

  • 236. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 8, 2014 at 1:58 am

    I will post to the south side HS thread when I can. This might inspire me to try to find out more about what is going on at Phillips. It was a really tough school for a long time and I remember reading somewhere someone asking why are they Level I when their PSAE scores are still in the basement? But as we all know school reputations often run a few years behind reality.

  • 237. montessorimom  |  April 8, 2014 at 10:14 am

    We just attended an open house at Sheridan. Here’s some info that I took down, with a specific focus on kindergarten.

    1) Specials: They have the following one time per week:
    a) library
    b) PE (twice per week)
    c) technology
    d) fine arts: combination of music, drama, and visual arts
    e) science lab (in the 1-8th grades they have a 90 minute lab.)
    **note: no languages are available.

    2) Recess: They have 20 minutes of recess daily. They have a playground, but no equipment. They are working on fundraising for playground equipment, but it sounded like they will finish fundraising to get air conditioners in all parts of the building first.)

    3) After school programs: They do not have any for K, but they were very accommodating in providing a list of local organizations and transportation options that many of their families use.

    4) Bussing: The offer bussing for children between 1.5 miles and 6 miles away.

    5) Facilities: The building is clean and well-maintained. The ceilings are high and the walls are painted bright colors. I was there the day after parent teacher conferences, so there was a lot of student work to look at. It struck me as welcoming, inviting, and happy, but not cluttered.

    6) Admin/Staff: I was impressed with both the Principal, Mr. OConnell, and the AP, Ms. Nessner. Both have been there 6-7 years and came from other high achieving buildings (Skinner West and Orozco, I believe.) I was also impressed with their office staff and

    Sheridan seems like a great place, but my concern for my child is whether kindergarten will be challenging enough. They included a packet of materials for us and one of them was a progress report for kindergarten. My child can already do all of the items on the list except for tie shoes. I’m highly likely to stay where we are (Montessori age 3-6.)

  • 238. Kay&EvsMommy  |  April 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Thanks for the posts on Ray–really insightful and good to hear all perspectives. Any other thoughts on the UChicago charter school system (or NKO specifically)? We are leaning towards enrolling our son there because of great references, resources from the university, and built-in before/after-school programming. Also, anyone know anything about Smyth? We got an offer there too, but I havent heard anything positive from parents I know there yet…

  • 239. worriedmama  |  April 9, 2014 at 9:14 am

    What is the earliest time allowed to drop-off students at Brooks and Lindblom?

  • 240. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    @MontessoriMom, would you mind sharing what Sheridan asks K kids to do? We are wait listed there and I”m having the same debate about going anywhere in CPS or staying Montessori for one more year. And does anyone have a sense of how deep in the waiting list Sheridan might go? We are at 40 for Tier 2.

  • 241. RoGina Williams-Montgomery  |  April 9, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Has anyone any reviews or thoughts in the Chicago International Charter Schools. Specifically the Loomis Primary and  Avalon locations. The internet reviews I’ve read are all 2 to 3 years old. — Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  • 242. pantherettie  |  April 9, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    WorriedMama – Lindblom opens its doors at 6:30 a.m. and officially locks up for students around 8 p.m. Most students arrive between 7:15 and 7:55. I believe that most kids leave the building by 6:30p.m. The school has a very open and positive yet serious vibe so most kids who arrive before school are there meeting with teachers or attending study groups. After school there are kids waiting for their parents to pick them up, participating in a club or meeting with teachers. I don’t know anything about Brook’s hours. Hopefully someone else will respond with the info.

  • 243. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 10, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I knew someone had recently shared experience with the Orozco principal. This is from a contact who is involved with after-school programs around the city: “not very friendly towards parents. she freaks out easily over the smallest things…she’s not been the easiest to work with.”

  • 244. ChrisK  |  April 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    NKO far exceeded my exceptions. My son is only in K & we commute from Beverly.If that says anything. I just wish it was
    closer. We were to go to Loomis Primary. But received a call the Friday before school was to start.

  • 245. chimom1920  |  April 10, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    just wanted to add another perspective re: beasley. my husband and i visited on tuesday because our daughter is in at the RGC kindergarten class. i have to honestly say i was blown away by these little students. we visited K, 1st and 2nd grade classes (RGC). the children were articulate, engaged and so nice. we watched the teachers teach from outside of the classroom and they were so engaged with the students. you could see light bulbs going off in the heads of these children. it was amazing to see.

    it is not an RGC in name only. i spoke to the counselor and she said 50% of their 6th grade RGC students are in at Academic Centers and all but one of their 8th graders in the RGC is going to a Selective Enrollment high school. Just wanted to clear that up in case folks were wondering.

    The 1st graders were reading chapter books when we got there. It was amazing.

    The school is not as professional as other schools we have visited and we do have to make some trade offs to send our daughter there (we live on the north side) but are strongly considering it. it also is not as diverse as we would have liked so another trade-off we have to be willing to make…

  • 246. south sider  |  April 10, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Thanks chimom1920! I met the RGC K teacher at Beasley recently at a workshop and thought she was great. But I have long looked skeptically at the school. Good to know there’s more going on than meets the eye.

  • 247. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    244. ChrisK | April 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    If you don’t mind sharing, what is your neighborhood school?

  • 248. K&E's Mommy  |  April 10, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    ChrisK–Thanks for sharing that NKO feedback! Can you tell me anything about the parent involvement or the before/after school options? Thats that only thing I haven’t really heard much about. Thanks so much!

  • 249. worriedmama  |  April 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    AC students – I am curious to hear what others are choosing for electives. My daughter would like orchestra (string) or art. However, study hall was highly recommended and I could see the benefits of having that time during school.

  • 250. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 11, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    249. worriedmama | April 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    Yes, instructions support is highly encouraged, but if she has the chance to get her Art elective out of the way, I would. There is hardly any homework~it might be advantageous to her.

  • 251. ChrisK  |  April 11, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Barnard is our district school. It just was taken off level 3 ranking. I really can’t say I know much about the PTA. There is a after school program till 6pm.Space is limited so sign up ASAP. I think school can start as early as 7am.

  • 252. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    251. ChrisK | April 11, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Barnard is on it’s way to being a very good school. The principal has been there for abt 1 1/2 yrs and the AP is very good~both are from Beverly.

  • 253. ChrisK  |  April 12, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    That would make life easier.With 3 small boys under 6. All arrows seems to be pointing in that direction. I’ll have to check it out at there next open house. This system stresses me out!

  • 254. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    So, did we ever get an answer about why Keller starts at grade 1 and not kindergarten? I don’t know the real answer, but I had a guess that maybe it had to do with three-year Montessori programs in Beverly, like the private Beverly Montessori plus Clissold–are there other CPS schools using Montessori programs down there? Or is it for some completely different reason?

  • 255. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    253. ChrisK | April 12, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Check our Barnard~it’s moving in the right direction…staying in the neighborhood, kids walking to school together and playing w/kids in their own neighborhood~strengthens the school & community!

    254. Maureen Kelleher | April 13, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Clissold is the only CPS Montessori program in the 19th ward, I believe. Keller probably doesn’t have a grade 1 bc it’s too small of a school~it doesn’t have the room.~just my 2 pennies.

  • 256. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 14, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Thanks for the $0.02 SoxSideIrish4! Plus, I think people have heard about the Lindblom Arabic debaters but this CPS web site story has a few details I hadn’t seen anywhere else, including that one of them is going back to Doha this summer for a study abroad program. Really cool stuff:

  • 257. ChrisK  |  April 14, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Does anyone have any info on Kwame Nkrumah Academy? I think they recently moved in May. Its one of two charter schools rear by without a huge waiting list.

  • 258. pantherettie  |  April 14, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for posting about the Lindblom student debates in Doha. My dd takes Arabic at Lindblom as a 7th grader and she is challenged and thrilled and frustrated by the complex language. I’m so glad that she’s having that experience. It’s interesting to read the discussion about language programs at elementary schools. My dd’s experience has really highlighted the importance of language education. The particular language doesn’t matter but the understanding of how language and grammar and culture intersect. The discipline required for academic language study was also pretty beneficial to her – not just in the study of language but in other academic areas. So if I had any advice for folks looking at elementary schools, I would say choose one with a strong language program. If there are opportunities for your kid to study language outside of school at an afterschool program consider it.

  • 259. hyde park mom  |  April 14, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I echoe the importance of studying a foreign language.It opens up your mind in so many ways,the world is full of people with different cultures and it is so much fun discovering them.Our family speaks two different languages,and being a non native English speaker, I assure you it is a priceless endeavor to learn new languages.Definitely choose a school that offers one,if possible.

  • 260. PREP Chicago  |  April 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

    @pantherettie My daughter was accepted into Lindblom’s 7th grade program and so far I have been throughly impressed by the staff and particularly the principal, Mr. Mather. Would you mind contacting me directly so that I can get a parent perspective? Thanks. You can reach me at

  • 261. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    @258 & 259~I completely agree~a very strong world language program in an elementary school is so vital~and I equate it having a strong math & reading program. Students get so much out of it and it really expands their minds. Our schools start their world language classes in grade k and others in grade 1 and it’s been so enriching for my children.

  • 262. pantherettie  |  April 14, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Absolutely Prepmom! I will email you either this evening or early tomorrow.

  • 263. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 14, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Just another voice in the chorus praising world language in elementary school. Keep your fingers crossed for us this week–the Namaste lottery is Thursday and I really hope we land a spot. I saw their dual language program in action and am very impressed. When my husband and I went on a school tour we requested the student guides speak Spanish only and they did a great job. You could also see plenty of examples of student work in both languages at a variety of grade levels and I thought they were strong.

    To be quite honest, dual language is a higher priority for us than SEES. I think the most important thing my son can learn in elementary school is how to speak to his abuela. We do as much as we can at home but my husband (the primary Spanish speaker) is working night shift and taking classes. My Spanish is passable but not good enough to raise my child fluently. Much as I love our neighborhood school–and much as they use Spanish informally–I really wish they had formal Spanish-language instruction, either as a dual-language program or Spanish as their world language for IB. Hoping that IB will come down to at least one Back of the Yards elementary school in a few years since our new high school is one of the recently opened “wall-to-wall” IB programs.

  • 264. Lenart/hydepark mom  |  April 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I hate getting to the conversation late! I stopped at 60 and had to comment on my experience at Lenart.

    I love the families in our child’s class. They are well-rounded and not at all trying to keep up with the Jones’ type attitudes. The principal is great and she really understands gifted instruction and the children seem to love her as well. The staff seems stagnant and not able to make the transition to the new way of teaching but hopefully that will change. The assistant principal is great as well. The office clerk is kind and welcoming. Just a great place.

    My kid is happy and loves going to school.

  • 265. @Lenart/hydepark mom  |  April 15, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Thanks for sharing your Lenart experience. My husband and I attended the kindergarten open house recently and we were both impressed. The principal and assistant principal both seemed very warm, friendly and understanding that families have lives outside of school. The principle mentioned that while homework is important, it should not become an argument or point of contention in the home. The kids were super impressive and seemed like a tight knit group. We only had a chance to speak to the French and music teachers and observe in a few other classes. Do you mind sharing your child’s grade and any thoughts on the current kindergarten teacher? Also, how do you find the home work load? Lastly, what is the new type of teaching you are referring to? Thanks!

  • 266. 1moreSouthSider  |  April 16, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Ooops…meant to post this on Southside forum…following too many…

    While we’re all waiting on second round letters and wait list calls, I started going back over some of my notes from school tours and open houses. Not much new to report, but I did attend NTA’s day tour more recently and had a couple of points that had not been previously reported, FWIW…

    – They do offer Spanish as one of the 6 enrichments, however it seems to be a little random this year. They had hired a great Spanish teacher to start offf 2013-2014 and he was all prepared to kick off the school year (set up classroom and all), then got an offer from Northwestern that he couldn’t turn down. At that point, it was too late in the game to find another (good) Spanish teacher. NTA has plans to get someone permanent next year.
    – Funding from adding a new RGC classroom each year is anticipated to be spent on additional language options. The programs will be open to all students, not just RGC.
    -iPad & chromebook info has already been shared, but they are also piloting Google Nexus tablets in certain grades
    – There are in-room bathrooms on all first floor classrooms…PreK, K and 1st grade (hey, might be important for some…)
    – There are about 160 people on waitlist. They have not offered any open enrollment spots yet, as they want to wait until after neighborhood registration. Planned neighborhood registration will begin in early May and anticipate starting wait list calls in late May/early June

  • 267. Mario Parham  |  April 16, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Hello parents, my name is Mario Parham, I provide transportation for Future World learning center located in Hyde Park. For the upcoming school year I will be providing transportation for children that will be attending school in the downtown area and the north side of Chicago. The rates will be reduced because each parent will participate in a group rate. If you are interested please contact me at 773-678-8217 or email me at

  • 268. ChrisK  |  April 17, 2014 at 8:00 am

    Any info. out there on Kwame Nkrumah Academy on 108th?

  • 269. ProudMom2  |  April 17, 2014 at 9:27 am

    @1moreSouthSider Thank you for the NTA. My daughter tested into the RGC for next year and I’m wondering about diversity in the RGC classrooms. Any insight?

  • 270. K Cabral  |  April 17, 2014 at 9:35 am

    While we’re waiting for any second round offers to come in, does anybody have any feedback or info of any kind, including guesses about chances of getting an offer, about:

    Galileo — Tier 3, waitlist #74. Some info has already been offered, but anything else?
    Haines — general, #19
    Perez — general, #22
    J. Ward — general, #33

    They’re all in the Univ. Village/Chinatown/Pilsen/Bridgeport area, respectively.

    We’ve already accepted a K offer at Burr but traveling between 35th & Ashland and North & Ashland everyday might get old fast. Transportation is a huge issue, I don’t know if it’s worth it or not.

    If we do get offers from these other schools I’m not sure if we should accept them over Burr or not. I’m trying to get prepared, just in case. I love the way Burr looks, I wish it was closer!

    We would definitely accept offers from A. Jackson (#127), Sheridan (#89), or STEM (#56), but don’t think our chances are good.

    While I’m at it, does anybody know anything about McClellan or Walsh? We’re #5 of McClellan’s waitlist. It seems decent but not better than Burr. Also, it’s a Level 1 school but has been on probation for 2 or 3 years. I don’t understand how that happens.

    We’re #48 on the waitlist for Walsh, but I’ve eliminated that one. The ONLY info I can find anywhere is on the CPS site. The school doesn’t have its own site and it’s not really mentioned anywhere else. Too much mystery for me.

    Thanks for any info or discussion at all that anybody can provide!

  • 271. MomOfTwinz  |  April 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Hi everyone! Does anyone have information on Langston Hughes elementary? I see that they have a beautiful new campus, but I can’t find any reviews. I’m interested in Pre-k and their special needs program.

  • 272. South Loop Mom  |  April 17, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    @ProudMom2: I have a child at NTA in the RGC. The RGC classrooms are diverse with all groups represented – a good reflection of the City.

  • 273. @Momoftwinz  |  April 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    My brother transferred my niece from Hughes due to bullying and because for this school year they were a welcoming school for a school that closed. Yes, the building is beautiful but the bullying is out of control! I don’t think he was happy with the academics either…

  • 274. Sped Mom  |  April 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    If you’re looking for details about sped programs around the city, you might gain some good information from Rod Estvan at Access Living. He is willing to speak with parents.

  • 275. LynnJ  |  April 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I was looking at Clissold’s cps report card and they look good on paper however is a level 2. Does anyone know anything about this school? I see they are considered a Montessori.

  • 276. VincentJ  |  April 18, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Sheridan questions:
    I saw a few people posting about having kids at Sheridan and I was wondering if any of you knew how far they go in the wait list and when they started calling in the past? We’re #3 for Kindergarten (tier 1).

  • 277. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    275. LynnJ | April 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Clissold is a very very good school. Right now it is very overcrowded but they are getting an annex next year that will have 8 classrooms~much need relief. Don’t believe the Level 2~it’s a wonderful school w/great families. Please note it is, however, not a montessori school.

  • 278. Going into 4th  |  April 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I was under the impression that Clissold had a Montessori program and that they were making every incoming kinder class Montessori so that they would eventually be completely Montessori. Is that not accurate?

  • 279. LSmom  |  April 18, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    @278, I’m pretty sure that is right, and it’s what their website says.

  • 280. Erin  |  April 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Clissold is Montessori through sixth grade I believe, then IBMYP.

  • 281. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 18, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    #275 #278 @279 #280~YOU ARE CORRECT~I’m sorry, I confused CLISSOLD with Cassell. CLISSOLD is a montessori program through 5th; 6-8th is the IB middle years. SORRY.

  • 282. LynnJ  |  April 18, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Yes Clissold has a very decent report card on the CPS website. If you get a chance check it out.

  • 283. Southside Mom  |  April 21, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    As a parent of a Lenart student, I must speak up for the teachers. My child is a middle school student and have had some of the best teachers work with her. Have there been some hiccups along the way? Yes. Is there some confusion with the new principal? Yes. Your perspective will be based on what grade your child is in. Most of the teachers my child encountered answered questions quickly and gave tips on how I could improve her performance. They know my child’s personality and worked with my child so that every year, my child scored well on any standardized test. I strongly disagree that the teachers are stagnant. There may be a few but most are dedicated teachers that are working hard to make positive change for the students.

  • 284. VincentJ  |  April 22, 2014 at 3:33 pm

    Sheridan update:
    So I called the school today to see if they had any open houses coming up and they told me they normally don’t do open houses. However if someone’s child is accepted they do do tours on occasion. I also put the charm on a little and was told that the school has not started making acceptance calls yet to people on the list.

    I asked if they knew how high in the WL they normally get and threw out 60 as a number, to which they replied they never get that high, but was also told that being 3rd on the WL was a good number.

    So anyway, to anyone ahead of me, or who had an offer, I’m hoping that you get a call from the school you really want and it opens a spot for my son. It’s top south side school we have on our list and also have a chance as WL numbers go. (not holding my breath for #538 at South Loop).

  • 285. Nise  |  April 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm


    They got up to k Tier #1 number 3 on the list. It was my nephew who got in.

  • 286. VincentJ  |  April 23, 2014 at 1:44 pm


    Are you sure that was “Tier 1” and are you talking about Sheridan? I’m looking at the letter from CPS and our son is #3 Tier 1 for K at Sheridan.

    I would be really interested in talking to your brother/sister about us possibly having the same place in line. Unless of course you one of my son’s Aunt/Uncle and are posting from the future.

    my email is vincentdavidjohnson [at]

  • 287. Nise  |  April 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm


    Yes the information is correct. But this was last year’s list. My nephew is currently in Kindergarten at Sheridan.

  • 288. VincentJ  |  April 23, 2014 at 4:55 pm


    Thank you for clarifying. I was terrified we got passed over on a snafu. Crossing my fingers they do the same this year.

  • 289. trice  |  April 23, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I received a call from Murray this afternoon. We are Tier 4 and I believe #10 on the wiat list. I turned down the offer. So if anyone is near me on the list, you may get a call soon.
    Best of luck to you all.

  • 290. Pantherettie  |  April 23, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    For those interested in these things – here are the U.S. News & World report 2014 rankings for high schools. Here’s the quick info on the SEHS on the south side:

    Lindblom Math and Science was ranked #14 in the state and is listed as a “Gold” ranking school.

    Brooks College Prep was ranked #33 in the state and is listed as a “Silver” ranking school.

    King College Prep was ranked #58 in the state and is listed as a “Silver” ranking school.

    Kenwood (not technically SEHS but has an AC) was ranked #59 in the state and is listed as a “Silver” ranking school.

    Chicago Ag Sciences (not technically SEHS but highly regarded) was ranked #72 and is listed as a “Silver” ranking school.

    I didn’t see South Shore listed.

    Anyway, here’s the link:

  • 291. Nise  |  April 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm


    You are welcome. Wishing you the best. I know how stressful the process can be. It is a good thing that you received a good number.

  • 292. VincentJ  |  April 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I’ve been meaning to comment on Lenart RGC as I’ve seen some comments good and ambivalent on this thread. Our son is currently in 4 y.o. pre-k there and I can’t tell you how much I’m in love with this place and wish he had tested well enough to get in. I can’t talk about the curriculum and how teachers are adjusting to teaching it, but I will say on every level of how our son & we have been treated and to see the connection between other parents even though they may live on opposite ends of the city is amazing.

    Since pre-k children rarely make it in I can absolutely see where the front office might look past building a relationship with the parents & students in pre-k, but Ms. Simms, the principle, and her staff know my son name, have talked about his progress and inquired about past conversation we have had about his schooling. Even after they were aware he didn’t score above the 115 needed to get in a Gifted program.

  • 293. mom2ck  |  April 25, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Hi all. Would love to hear from current (or former) J Ward parents. I accepted a K spot for the fall. Also interested in joining transportation pools in the Chatham area.


  • 294. LynnJ  |  April 26, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Has anyone gotten a wait list call from Murray?

  • 295. local  |  April 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Clissold: Check it out very carefully. It’s a bit of a two-tier school.

  • 296. SoxSideIrish4  |  April 26, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    295. local | April 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Why would you say that Local? I’ve never encountered or heard anything like that at Clissold.

  • 297. Maureen Kelleher  |  April 26, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Hey fellow South Siders and friends, rumor has it the southwest side might be getting an SEHS:

    Ray Salazar also gives a nice summary of most of the Southwest Side high schools, though he overlooks the new HS in Back of the Yards, which took CPS 20 years to get around to building. It’s a “wall-to-wall” IB, whatever that means. I just hope it’s good enough to send my son to in a decade or so.

  • 298. LynnJ  |  April 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Who on this thread actually has children in Kellogg now? I checked out the progress report and there seems to be growth gaps at specific grade levels. What type of after school programs do they offer to include clubs/extra curricular? I’d really like to connect with someone that has current personal experience. What are your thoughts on the IB program? How many 8th graders actually go to SEHS? Please email me at It’s challenging to call the school during the day because I work, so any info for me to ponder over now would be greatly appreciated. My family is going to move and we are looking at Beverly and South Loop at this time. TIA!

  • 299. CPS wonderland  |  April 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    Did anybody get a call or mail from Mark Sheridan, for child on wait list for the 1st grade?

  • 300. DanielleSB  |  April 29, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    Tier 3
    RGC: 106
    Classical: 89 R/98 M
    Second Round: Poe..accepted
    Glad I declined McDade for his sister. Now they can be together. He is so excited.

  • 301. Parent  |  April 30, 2014 at 7:27 am

    Like @270, I’d love to hear from anyone who has a kid at McClellan. We’re thinking of buying a home in the area.

  • 302. VincentJ  |  May 1, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    @CPS Wonderland

    Our son is #3 on the kindergarten WL and we have not been contacted as of this post

  • 303. Maureen Kelleher  |  May 2, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Wanted to share an article link with everyone about the hybrid IB/neighborhood enrollment process at Back of the Yards HS. I am guessing this is the same process used at other “wall-to-wall” IB schools. But our new high school was only built with capacity for about half the neighborhood kids. The official neighborhood high school, Richards, has been struggling for years. Seems really harsh that only half the kids in our neighborhood have a shot at a decent local school.

  • 304. South Side SEHS thread can start here  |  May 2, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Suggesting we use this a a jumping-off point to consolidate discussion of the South Side SEHS schools.

  • 305. Checking in with someone from McClellan  |  May 3, 2014 at 7:33 am

    For those interested in McClellan, I met an LSC community rep from the school at a Friends of the Parks event and have emailed her asking to comment on McClellan here. Hope we get a response.

  • 306. LynnJ  |  May 3, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Looks like McClellan turned around. Wasn’t it once on probation?

  • 307. KC  |  May 3, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    Does anyone have any information on or experience with Pershing West? I believe it is a Level 1 neighborhood magnet school but I don’t think I’ve seen it mentioned here.

  • 308. Questioner  |  May 3, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    @303 Juarez is Southwest, 1450-1510 W. Cermak.

  • 309. Pershing West merged  |  May 4, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Looks like Pershing West merged with Pershing east last year, based on this story. I can’t find anything more recent on a fast search.

  • 310. what is the southwest side?  |  May 4, 2014 at 10:36 am

    @308 now we’re getting into the question of what is the Southwest Side. Personally I wouldn’t consider Pilsen Southwest Side, more near south side. The official community area name is Heart of Chicago, for whatever that is worth. Some people don’t even consider Back of the Yards to be Southwest Side, saying it is too far east. I disagree but would agree it’s the extreme eastern edge of the Southwest side.

  • 311. mom2ck  |  May 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Hi parents. Has anyone received any Southside waitlist offers lately? Traffic on this post has been pretty quiet. Personally, I’m still waiting to hear from schools..

  • 312. 1moreSouthSider  |  May 8, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Was just thinking the same thing…thread has been quiet. Does that mean no wait list calls or everyone content with where they are? SEES Gifted & Classical thread has gone awry…so thankful that the south siders are being a bit more mature.

  • 313. LynnJ  |  May 8, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    I have not received any calls, emails, or letters from south side waitlisted schools. We are over it and moving to Beverly. The next shenanigan will be proving to the school that we live in the Sutherland boundary as opposed to Barnard. The map shows we live in Sutherland boundaries but the address tool on the cps website says otherwise. Hope I’m on the winning side this time.

  • 314. trice  |  May 8, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    I received an offer from Murray a few weeks ago. The principal called and was very nice on the phone.

  • 315. Maureen Kelleher  |  May 8, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    We have not heard anything from Sheridan or Murray. We were wait listed 35 at Namaste and got a call from St. Procopius in Pilsen telling us they had a K spot. We went with it.

    In actual CPS news, there’s an interesting piece in the Back of the Yards local paper about the admissions process for the new high school. One point that is made in the story is that local kids are turning down offers at Curie and other good schools not just in favor of a spot, but in hopes of getting off the wait list. I just heard from our next door neighbors that their 8th-grader chose Back of the Yards’ fledgling IB program over Whitney Young.

    Here’s the story:

  • 316. LynnJ  |  May 8, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Trice for Murray can you provide your tier and wait list number and grade? There were some on this thread awaiting call backs from Murray. A few weeks back Murray reported to me they’d be sending out letters for second round offers. Surprised to hear you actually got a call.

  • 317. trice  |  May 8, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    I got a call a few weeks ago. I can’t recall the exact date. I am Tier 4 and I believe we were about number 10 for the kindergarten class. We passed on the offer.

  • 318. mom2ck  |  May 9, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Re: Murray, I was advised they’ve put a hold on making any more waitlist calls until after the 5/16 deadline for parents with offers to submit their applications. Once they see how many remaining spots they have at that point, they’ll start calls again. My understanding is they place calls – never heard about mailing letters….

  • 319. VincentJ  |  May 9, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Just got of the phone with Sheridan and was told today (Fri. 5/9) was the last day for parents to accept offered spots and that they would be making calls next week. They asked what my child was on the WL (Tier 1 #3 for K) and said I could call back next Friday to check my status. The woman on the phone was very polite and I thanked her for letting me bother her about the WL and she told me it was no problem at all. Very excited and hope my son gets in here.

    Saw some questions about Murray’s WL. We’re #6 on a proximity for K and haven’t been contacted yet. Hope that helps.

  • 320. Tommy  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    anything on new principal at sutherland?

  • 321. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 9, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    #320…Sutherland names new principal

  • 322. Parent  |  May 10, 2014 at 7:20 am

    To the folks interested in McClellan, I toured a few weeks back. I really wanted to like the school but didn’t. It has a big autism program, which is probably great if your kid is in the program. And I think it’s probably a great experience for other kids to develop a camaraderie with the spectrum classes. The school also had diversity, which is a plus. What bugged me: kids HAD to read at the level they were assigned, no reading books higher or lower. No librarian. No language. I visited a classroom where the kids weren’t paying much attention, and I visited another classroom where the teacher was blatantly teaching to the test. I think if I knew there were other parents fighting to improve the school, I would’ve felt better about it. I just didn’t get that vibe from the principal. On the other hand, I got a very good vibe from Holden on a tour a few weeks earlier.

  • 323. Neighborhood Schools Picnic May 24  |  May 10, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    CTU is publicizing (and I would guess working with neighborhood parent groups to host) a Neighborhood Schools Picnic in McKinley Park on May 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thought this might be of interest to many who have commented on the thread. You can see the flyer here:

  • 324. Angie  |  May 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    If you go to CTU picnic, please ask them why the already negotiated 3% raise is not enough, and summarize their anti-Rahm speeches for us.


  • 325. Veteran  |  May 10, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    I hope that CTU can exert pressure on CPS to stop the per pupil budgeting. Special education teachers and other teachers who teach in non-classroom positions are being used as subs in order to save money. Substitute monies now come out of the school’s budget and principals do not get enough money to cover teacher absences so programs are often shut down. Principals have told this to central office but no one is addressing this issue.
    Principals are not always hiring new personnel based upon experience but on what the salary will be in order to save money for other things. Experience is especially important in special education where there is a shortage of certified teachers so a principal may be torn between hiring a first year teacher who may leave the students after a year (many leave for the suburbs) or an experienced special education teacher who will stay.

    Also, CPS is very slow if not invisible when it come to school repairs-I wish someone would do a survey on how many schools have non-working air conditioning.

  • 326. Angie  |  May 10, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    @325. Veteran: “I hope that CTU can exert pressure on CPS to stop the per pupil budgeting. ”

    I hope they fail. The money should follow the students to schools these students want to attend, and the principals should have the incentive to fire the teachers who don’t do their jobs. It’s a lot easier to look the other way when CPS pays the bills.

  • 327. Veteran  |  May 10, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    So, you actually think that per pupil budgeting will be an incentive to the principals to fire the teachers who don’t do their job? Please explain this to me.

    The money does not follow the students-ask the charter school operators if they send the money to the CPS schools with the “counseled out students.”

    “It’s a lot easier to look the other way when CPS is paying the bill”-who is paying the bill now-please explain.

    It would seem to me that if a school is given a set amount for teacher salaries that principals would be almost forced to hire not the best but the cheapest/least experience usually, but maybe you think that is OK.

  • 328. Angie  |  May 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    @327. Veteran: Previously, CPS allocated the teaching positions per certain number of students, and paid their salaries, whatever they might be. So what if Mrs. A is a bad teacher with 20 years experience? That’s not the principal’s problem.

    Now that the principal has a pot of money for the salaries, he or she might reconsider that. If they have to fire someone, do they keep Mrs. A, who is bad, or Mrs. B, who is great, assuming either of the two can be fired under the contract rules?

    “It would seem to me that if a school is given a set amount for teacher salaries that principals would be almost forced to hire not the best but the cheapest/least experience usually, but maybe you think that is OK.”

    This is a choice the principal will have to make. Do they fire all the veterans, good and bad, staff the school with the cheap rookies, and watch the scores and discipline plummet and their contract not renewed? Or do they look closely at the value each of the teachers brings to the school, keep the good ones, and replace the dead wood? Again, assuming they can accomplish that under the union rules, which really are made to favor longevity instead of performance.

  • 329. cpsmommy  |  May 11, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Angie, I don’t think principals feel like they have power to do much anymore. Here is something from today’s Sun Times.

    Under Emanuel, principals have no voice Letters to the Editor May 9, 2014 6:46PM

    I am the son of a black father from the South Side and a white mother from the North Side. I grew up in Bronzeville and now live in Beverly. I attended five Chicago Public Schools and I’ve taught in every corner of Chicago, in schools that were predominately African-American, Latino-American and European-American. I have served students who were homeless, and students whose families owned multiple homes. I was an assistant principal in a turnaround school, and I am currently the principal of Blaine Elementary, one of the city’s highest-performing neighborhood schools. Finally, I am a CPS parent with a son at our neighborhood public school.
    I am fortunate to have experienced public schooling from such diverse viewpoints. However, nothing I’ve seen can compare to what I’ve witnessed as a CPS principal under the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
    Since 2011, CPS principals and teachers have experienced unprecedented political burdens. Early on, teachers felt publicly maligned and disrespected by the mayor, leading to the historic strike of 2012.
    While publicly praising principals in speeches and with awards, behind the scenes this administration has disregarded principals’ knowledge and experience. They have ignored and even suppressed principals’ voices in order to push City Hall’s political agenda for Chicago’s schools.
    The administration’s interaction with principals is often insulting. During the debate over the longer school day, some principals questioned its merits. CPS officials were then dispatched to tell the principals their opinions didn’t matter. “You are Board employees,” a central office official told a room full of principals at a meeting, “and when you speak, your comments must be in line with the Board’s agenda.” He instructed us to have an “elevator speech” supporting the longer day ready at a moment’s notice. We were told that if Emanuel and the press walked into our schools, we’d better be prepared to list the benefits of his longer day. In a move that further humiliated principals, they were called on at random to give their elevator speeches at subsequent principal meetings.
    Shortly afterward, CPS slashed school budgets, voted to close 50 schools and made disingenuous statements about the slashed budget giving more “autonomy” to principals. They insinuated these cuts would have little effect on classrooms. I spoke up to give Chicagoans a factual assessment of the effects of these cuts. A reporter from WBEZ Radio recorded a statement I delivered at City Hall in July 2013 and posted it on the station’s website. It became one of the station’s most downloaded audio files.
    Several months later, I spoke about overcrowded schools on WYCC television. A few hours before filming, I emailed CPS officials to inform them. Later that afternoon — unaware the show had already been taped — those officials told me not to appear because I did not have permission. On the subject of whether I had the right to speak as a private citizen, CPS said I should wait to receive clarity. After more than two months I’m still waiting for “clarity” from CPS on my right to speak.
    Recently, during a break at a training session, a few principals gathered to discuss what they could not say publicly. They expressed concerns about the impact of Emanuel’s effort to cut teacher pensions on our ability to recruit talented people into the teaching profession. They questioned unfunded mandates that pull resources from classrooms, and condemned CPS’ expenditure of over $20 million on Supes Academy — an organization the CEO of CPS once worked for — to provide principal training, a training that principals agreed was among the worst they’d experienced.
    Principal after principal expressed legitimate concerns that none felt safe expressing publicly. Finally, I spoke.
    “This administration gets away with this because we let them. We are the professionals. Yet, we allow political interests to dominate the public conversation about what’s good for the children in our schools. Every time these officials misinform the public about the impact of their policies, we need to follow them with a press conference of our own to set the record straight.”
    Those who responded expressed concerns about being harassed, fired or receiving a poor evaluation. Principals sat paralyzed by fear of what might happen if they simply voiced the truth. One of them asked me plainly, “Aren’t you afraid of losing your job?” The question awakened a memory:
    “General Quarters! General Quarters! All hands, man your battle stations!”
    In 1989, when I was in the Navy, I was stationed onboard an aircraft carrier and accustomed to hearing the “General Quarters” battle readiness exercise. However, on January 4 of that year, it came with a sobering declaration: “This is not a drill.”
    Our ship had entered the Gulf of Sidra near Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, and crossed Gaddafi’s “Line of Death.” Two Libyan warplanes were headed our way. Fortunately, our F-14 fighter jet pilots were able to shoot the warplanes down. Our captain later praised the pilots and ship’s crew for our willingness to risk our lives to preserve American freedoms.
    So when people ask me, “Aren’t you afraid of losing your job if you speak out?” this is my answer: I did not travel across an ocean and risk my life to defend American freedoms only to return and relinquish those freedoms to an elected official and his appointed board of education.
    The world’s highest-performing school systems are built on the ideas of American education professionals ranging from John Dewey to Linda Darling-Hammond, ideas that recognize school improvement is not an individual race, but a team sport. Yet, our own elected officials have been ignoring those ideas in favor of teacher-bashing, privatized choice, fly-by-night fast-track teacher licensing and over-reliance on testing — ideas that have not improved schooling in any nation that has tried them.
    Those of us who know better must lift our voices to persuade the residents of Illinois to reject these backward ideas and to oust the politicians who peddle them. We must work together to build our own system-wide improvement effort. The future of public education is at stake, and the future of Chicago’s children is at risk. We must lift our voices and be heard.
    This is not a drill.
    Troy A. LaRaviere, Principal
    Blaine Elementary School

  • 330. Angie  |  May 11, 2014 at 9:59 am

    @329. cpsmommy: “Angie, I don’t think principals feel like they have power to do much anymore.”

    Most of Mr. LaRaviere’s complaints stem from the fact that CPS is out of money. Plus, this is all part of the campaign for Karen Lewis’s mayoral run, which Sun Times reported is going to happen.

    Current pensions are bankrupting our school system, and they have got to be cut. I don’t care who promised them to CTU in exchange for what endorsements and campaign contributions, but the money just isn’t there. And you probably heard that this year’s increase in per-pupil budgeting will actually go to pay for the teacher raises, while they are getting ready to go in strike to demand even more. Most people would be happy to receive 3% in this Illinois economy.

    As for the teacher bashing, you know things have got to be bad when even the teachers admit it.

    From the article about Wells school posted in Racial Demos thread:

    “”School success depends on socioeconomics, period,” says Irving Zucker, who taught at Wells for 25 years before he retired in 2006. Zucker concedes that Wells had “plenty of mediocre teachers” during his years at the school. “Some were so bad it was embarrassing,” he says. “But there was also a core group of really strong teachers who each kind of adopted one or two kids and developed a relationship with them. So many of these kids had had such lousy parenting, and we knew they needed nurturant adults around them.” ”

  • 331. Angie  |  May 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

    And from Catalyst:

    “At one point, Phares was that young, inexperienced teacher—and felt the weight of it. She laughs and says that during her first year, she only taught reading because she couldn’t figure out how to get through the rest of the curriculum.

    Her principal, for better or worse, didn’t bother her much. Phares recalls that she could have used more support, but she also didn’t feel a ton of pressure from a principal looking over her shoulder. She had a small class, only 24 students, and that helped keep the workload manageable. Phares shut the classroom door and tried her best. “The kids had nothing,” she recalls. “That time in our classroom was ours. We were in our own little bubble.””

    There’s no mention of TFA, so I take it that she was a traditionally educated teacher. And although she improved over the years, and even went on to become National Board certified and win a teaching award, the kids in her first class will never get back the year that she did not teach.

    And it is no coincidence that many of the up and coming schools that rapidly improve and become a solid choice for the parents start with the new principal that comes in and cleans the house. From the same article:

    “At just about the same time, Prescott, on the west end of Lincoln Park, was undergoing some major changes. Few families in the neighborhood sent their children to Prescott. But a new principal had come in and saved Prescott from being closed. He replaced almost the entire staff as he tried to improve the school. Phares became part of the transition.”

  • 332. CPS parent  |  May 11, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I think this letter underscores the real problem. CPS personnel, especially principals should comply and support policy (no matter what their personal opinion is) and all members should work together in a structured way to create and maintain good working policy updating as needed.

    With that said, teachers along with CTU have segmented off and CPS has not provided a cohesive structured methodology that allows its employees to feel as though they are part of the process. This is a very disturbing problem for all involved.

    To add, in no way do I think any Principal should be addressing the press. I’m surprised this guy still has his job. I think it questionable that this letter even exists and is posted here.

  • 333. Veteran  |  May 11, 2014 at 11:56 am

    There are “poor” teachers everywhere not just in CPS. I have relatives in a southwest suburban school district and am appalled at some of the things going on yet the scores are high.

    The principal was not doing his job if the first year teacher was only teaching reading-curricular oversight, classroom visitation and an open door policy would have solved this issue.

    Pensions are not bankrupting CPS-poor fiscal policies coupled with outright theft of monies not deposited into the fund are causing the problem.

    The principal who spoke out is doing so because no one at CPS listens to the employees. How many of the sharpest administrators have left CPS for the suburbs in the last ten years?

    I have spoken out regarding illegal practices in special education because no one listened at the school or region level. I believe that it is part of my job to make sure my students have what they need to succeed or should teachers and principals sit and do nothing? Many of you on this blog know enough to get attorneys when your children are denied serves etc but there are many parents who are not able to fight for their children’s rights so it is up to the teacher. Many veteran special education teachers who advocated loudly for their students have retired and the new special education teachers seem to leave CPS after about three years. Please remember if CPS always did right by the students CPS would not have lost the Corey H. case. We need to speak up-CPS spends a lot of time telling employees to keep their mouths shut-WHY?

    Please Google AUSL and turnarounds and pay attention to the fact that AUSL gets rid of the teachers. AUSL “purges” students with low scores so the first and second year score do go up BUT these schools even with the extra money CPS give them do no better and in some cases worst than traditional schools. Look at the principal and teacher retention rated in the AUSL schools-very telling.

  • 334. not a CTU teacher  |  May 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I suppose this is really mean, but I hope CTU goes on strike next fall simply to piss off Angie.

  • 335. Angie  |  May 11, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    @333. Veteran: “There are “poor” teachers everywhere not just in CPS. I have relatives in a southwest suburban school district and am appalled at some of the things going on yet the scores are high.”

    So why are the teachers and their unions everywhere are so adamant about protecting them and keeping them employed? How do you think the next grade’s teacher felt when she got Ms. Phares’s kids who lost a whole year of learning?

    “The principal was not doing his job if the first year teacher was only teaching reading-curricular oversight, classroom visitation and an open door policy would have solved this issue.”

    That’s true, but it seems that in some schools, everyone is satisfied with the situation. The principal does not bother the teachers, and lets them slack off and get paid for doing nothing, the teachers are more than happy to keep him or her around year after year, and the parents let them all get away with it because they don’t know any better. And in the meantime, the kids who need a good education the most are getting cheated out of it.

    @334. not a CTU teacher: “I suppose this is really mean, but I hope CTU goes on strike next fall simply to piss off Angie.”

    That’s a noble goal, of course. I just wish they would announce the dates well in advance, so I can get some discount travel deals.

  • 336. Policy Makers?  |  May 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    @332 Sadly, CPS policy is oftentimes created by staff that has no experience inside schools. MANY people who have never taught in a classroom or run a school are making decisions that impact your child’s education. We had a network chief a few years ago who never taught. She had zero educational experience. However, she questioned various instructional strategies being employed by teachers in my department. I found it fascinating to listen to her try to have an intelligent conversation about questioning techniques when she herself had never heard about Blooms. Sad, to say the least. She also “wondered” why everyone wasn’t using the provided script by the computer based company that was paid millions of dollars by the network to teach Algebra the previous year. She didn’t realize that her “staff” had mandated something new that year. It’s a disaster in some places. Strong principals and strong teachers are the only things holding the system together. End of story.

  • 337. Veteran  |  May 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    #336 Well said…

    As far as poor teachers…I read something years ago and kept it in my mind with my own child….every four years your child will have one poor teacher, two average teachers and one stellar teacher….if the children weren’t taught well the year before then you teach twice as hard the next year….I will agree with Angie that there are schools with poor leadership and more than 25% poor teachers but what has CPS done? A regional manager/CAO whatever they are calling the regional people can simply look at individual classroom data and call out the principal who has teachers who year after year produce low scores compared to other classrooms in the school…the buck stops at the principal….I worked at a school with consistently high scores and as a special education teacher I knew based upon the reams of data I had to analyze in regards to RtI which teachers were doing their job….not hard at all BUT the principal has to be willing to observe, evaluate and remediate and possibly terminate…..

    It is hard with some posters on this blog to discern whether it is anti-CTU sentiment or pro-Rham sentiment that fuels the anger.

  • 338. Angie  |  May 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    @337. Veteran: “It is hard with some posters on this blog to discern whether it is anti-CTU sentiment or pro-Rham sentiment that fuels the anger.”

    It’s both. I’m anti-public sector unions first and foremost, and pro-Rahm because he has the guts to stand up to them.

    “I will agree with Angie that there are schools with poor leadership and more than 25% poor teachers but what has CPS done?”

    For starters, CPS proposed the merit pay scale, so the teachers who excel at their jobs and/or work in the diffucult conditions would be paid better. Remind me, who went on strike to protest that, and to keep the step and lane increases that are the same for everyone, regardless of the performance? Who is fighting the stricter evaluations and dismissal of the low performing teachers? That would be CTU.

    I also like the concept of a complete turnaround, and firing the entire staff of the failing schools. AUSL may not have the greatest track record, although some of its schools are doing well. The Chicago Academy elementary is Level 1 and NTA is getting a lot of buzz lately. But at least it sends the message to the administration of other failing schools that the status quo is not acceptable, and they could be the next in line to lose their jobs.

  • 339. CPS parent  |  May 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    @336 – This may be true but whatever you may think about policymakers credentials (because a flip argument can be made about non-teaching expertise and an outside view) , there needs to be a system in place without all this constant questioning, debate and finger pointing. It’s very disturbing for parents to see teachers standing separate under CTU while accepting employment with CPS, a principal publicly condemning his employer, and the system unable to pull it together. This can only lead to families pulling out of CPS.

  • 340. Veteran  |  May 11, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I was at a school where the weaker teachers were given extra pay for “whatever” The principal liked to reward his minions…what’s to stop this in merit pay? I think that all teachers should work hard-merit pay is decisive.

    The AUSL Schools which is the organization chosen by CPS to run the turn-arounds are an abject failure and are not worth the money CPS dumps into them. I believe that every child should have a good neighborhood school and that is where CPS needs to put theses extra monies it is using for the charters and turn-arounds. We have pokers of poverty in Chicago and the children do not come prepared in the primary yet they are dumped into class of 30+. Why not use these extra monies to lower the class size, hire reading specialists as the classroom teachers in Grade 1 and 2 and seriously work on the learning foundation? If the child with all of this extra instruction in Grades 1 and 2 is not reading then the child should be retained. I have seen way too many third graders who can not read end up in the Summer Bridge-third grade is too late. All of these children who can not read or read so far below grade level can not possibly be special education candidates-poor reading instruction or lack of schooling is a huge issue in CPS. This is an area of need that CPS has been dancing around for years-notice how many expensive miracle reading programs we have had in the last forty years.

  • 341. PatientCPSMom  |  May 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Dear Mr. LaRaviere,

    Thank you for speaking out. I am sure your commitment to service and justice compells you to. In the end parents and teachers are the frontline for education. When a system begins to systemically undervalue and not support these two parties is when the system fractures and fails.

    I often tell those who will listen our current system of CPS education has returned to the point that is very similar to what is was in 1968. Separate and unequal.

    Not everyone has a same educational choices. Poor and working class families are given only bad neighborhood or Charter school choice while those who have greater access to transportation and more time to commute get to have higher performing CPS neighborhood schools and good Magnet school choice.

    Current public school choice is not equal no matter what the Mayor’s Press says – School choice is dictated by your neighborhood and as I recall this was where the city was at right before the consent decree.

  • 342. Angie  |  May 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    @340. Veteran: “I was at a school where the weaker teachers were given extra pay for “whatever” The principal liked to reward his minions…what’s to stop this in merit pay? I think that all teachers should work hard-merit pay is decisive.”

    Yes, all teachers should work hard, but some of them either can’t or won’t, and that is the whole problem. How do you know the new merit pay system will not be an improvement over the current one, especially if the principals abuse it anyway? At least there will be objective criterias for evaluating the teachers’ performance based on their workplace and students’ growth.

    “Why not use these extra monies to lower the class size, hire reading specialists as the classroom teachers in Grade 1 and 2 and seriously work on the learning foundation?”

    Because without cleaning the house first, it would be like rewarding the bad teachers for their failure. Would lowering their workload and getting them extra help make more difference for the students than hiring the better teachers in the first place?

    “If the child with all of this extra instruction in Grades 1 and 2 is not reading then the child should be retained.”

    I agree, but it seems that both CTU and community leaders oppose this because it would mostly affect the minority children.

  • 343. AUSL TEACHER  |  May 12, 2014 at 6:22 am

    Please read ALL the catalyst articles on teacher turnover, especially this one about turnaround schools

    The scores at turnarounds go up the first 2 years because teachers are trained and forced to teach to the test. Science and social studies are kicked out the door for reading and math all day long. After 2-4 years, these fresh, new, cheap teachers get tired of their awful work conditions (conditions children are in also), and the teachers leave. They are replaced by another batch of new, cheap teachers. Sometimes even TFA recruits.

    Chicago Academy and NTA are amazing schools, but they are hardly typical turnaround schools. Chicago Academy’s student body is completely different than most of the other AUSL schools, and NTA is not a neighborhood school, attracting students from all over Chicago to attend. Not an apples to apples comparison to schools in North Lawndale, Englewood, Garfield Park.

  • 344. Veteran  |  May 12, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Thank you, 341 and 343
    “Because without cleaning the house first, it would be like rewarding the bad teachers for their failure. Would lowering their workload and getting them extra help make more difference for the students than hiring the better teachers in the first place?”

    AUSL schools have “cleaned house” and show no better growth than a traditional school even with the “purging” of students with low scores, additional staff and additional monies.

    “Not everyone has a same educational choices. Poor and working class families are given only bad neighborhood or Charter school choice while those who have greater access to transportation and more time to commute get to have higher performing CPS neighborhood schools and good Magnet school choice.”

    I think this statement is truer than people think. The parents on this blog seem to have been able to choose the school their child attends.
    I do not read postings on this blog about the problems that the typical neighborhood school deals with everyday. I do not read postings about overcrowded classrooms, no heat/no air, weapons in the building, fist fights in the lunchroom, no books and what has always amazed me about this blog is I don’t read about special education abuse. I am happy that there are schools in Chicago that are run the way every school should be run. I am especially happy that there are schools in Chicago where special education laws are followed.
    I do think the children who attend the regular neighborhood school should have the same experience as the children who attend the selective enrollment schools.

    Unfortunately, some children are so affected by poverty that when they do get accepted at a selective enrollment high school they are unable to afford the bus fare to get there. There is no family car-mom takes the bus downtown to work as a hotel housekeeper. There may be a computer at home but no Internet or printer-too expensive. Children at the neighborhood schools are adept at putting their work on a Zip drive (school provides). The teacher prints out the work for the student at school or at the teacher’s house. The school has to purchase classroom novels because the children cannot afford to pay five dollars for a novel 3-4 times a year. Only free field trips are allowed and forget projects. Children often come to school without any materials-teachers pass out pencils at the beginning of the day and collect them at the end. After school tutoring is something these children only see on TV ads. Children are often hungry and traumatized by violence in the home or neighborhood. I could go on and on but #341 really hit home.

  • 345. angry SS dad  |  May 12, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Why has this thread been taken over by CTU? Do you think SS families are stupid? Please stick to the topic and hijack something else or better yet, get it off here. You’re annoying and taking away from the discussion.

  • 346. OTdad  |  May 12, 2014 at 11:21 am

    @341. PatientCPSMom:
    Poor and working class families are given only bad neighborhood or Charter school choice

    The difference in terms of funding and facilities between CPS schools are quite small, but the quality of the student body makes it a good school or bad one. It’s not GIVEN by CPS. For example, Lincoln elementary school is the best performing neighborhood school in Chicago. If we switch all the students with a bottom of the barrel school, what will happen? I’m pretty sure Lincoln will turn into a bad school. I think the neighborhood parents should bear more blame than CPS.

  • 347. PatientCPSMom  |  May 12, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    @346 There is systemic educational choice discrimination based on location by CPS. The full choice set includes CPS neighborhood, CPS magnet, and Charters for the most part. When you factor in the Proximity lottery and the 6 mile limit for busing as well as the over-representation of Charters on the West and South side you have created a situation where every family can not make the same choice. The busing limits contain southside,westside, and some central area students, thus often making it very hard for these students to get out of the Charter schools and/or bad neighborhood school’s area because they’d have to travel beyond 6 miles. This is by design and what the consent decree originally worked to overcome Plot 6 miles out from different areas of the city you will see the difference in types of schools offered.

  • 348. Patricia  |  May 12, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Just as an FYI my kids at RGC have kids who come from more than 6 miles away on their bus routes. They won’t do it for tier 4 areas, but they certainly do for lower tier kids. Which is good but it does make for a long bus ride.

  • 349. parent  |  May 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    @347, Agree that where you live dramatically affects your school choices. Another way to demonstrate this point is to enter different zip codes in the CPS School Finder. Here are a few examples of what elementary schools (excluding neighborhood schools) exist in certain zip codes:

    60637 (Hyde Park): 2 Charters, 1 RGC, 0 Classical, 0 Magnets

    60653 (Bronzeville): 2 Charters, 0 RGC, 0 Classical, 0 Magnets

    60622: (Humboldt / Wicker Park): 4 Charters, 2 Magnets, 1 RGC, 0 Classical

    60630 + 60631 + 60646 (far NW side): 0 Charters, 0 RGCs, 0 Magnets*, 0 RGCs, 0 Classical

    60614 + 60610: (Lincoln Park / Old Town): 0 Charters, 4 Magnets, 1 Classical, 0 RGC

    *Wildwood no longer accepts out of boundary students

  • 350. VincentJ  |  May 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Just have to second “angry SS Dad” the replies over the last couple of days have gotten way the hell off-topic. Please take the CTU/Rahm talk to the Forums, or another blog post.

    On a South Side school related note. We just accepted an offer to Sheridan for K (#3 on the tier 1 WL). Have to say I was really impressed with the school at first visit. Friendly staff, diverse and well-behaved kids in the hall. Very warm environment.

    If you live in the near west, or near north area and you haven’t put them on your want list, you should.

  • 351. parent  |  May 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    @348, The 6 mi. busing limit does not apply to SEES. Each school has its own busing boundaries. Someone made this mistake not long ago over on the SEES thread. It’s a shame that some people don’t realize they can get busing! Here is the link:

  • 352. LynnJ  |  May 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    @VincentJ congrats! If I recall you also got an offer at Aggasiz (sp). I have heard good things about Sheridan. Keep us posted on how it’s going.

    As mentioned, we didn’t get any second round offers. We are moving to a new home in Beverly in a few weeks. The neighborhood school is Barnard. I saw a couple of people comment on the school, but I have no knowledge if anyone can give me first hand knowledge that has a child there. I called the assistant principal and have requested a meeting and tour. I will keep you all posted.

    @Parent, slight correction on your data:

    Hyde Park has a Magnet which is Murray.

    Bronzeville has a RGC which is Beasley (nearby is Carnegie RGC in Woodlawn)

    But, to your point, still not alot of options.

    And like the others, I hope we can get the thread back on track with feedback on specific South Side schools and performance.

  • 353. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 12, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    352. LynnJ | May 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Wecome to the neighborhood!! I don’t have kids at Barnard but I think you and your family will enjoy it! Their ‘learn local’ is all over the ward abt having kids at n’hood schools. The new principal and ap are both from Beverly and very invested in Barnard. Can’t wait to hear abt your meeting with ap!

  • 354. SoxSideIrish4  |  May 12, 2014 at 9:24 pm


  • 355. 1moreSouthSider  |  May 12, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Not sure what “round” we’re in now but DD received a call from OAE with an offer to Beasley’s RGC today. Beasley had kind of fallen off my radar with reading all the comments about more popular RGC’s and magnets. I’ll scroll back through to see if there are previous comments, but welcome any insight others may have. I have a lot of “homework” to do before Thursday’s deadline.

  • 356. LynnJ  |  May 12, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    Thanks SoxSideIrish4 we are excited, yet scared. Moving into another chapter of life and not knowing what to expect. Nonetheless, we are very happy and confident in our choice.

  • 357. LynnJ  |  May 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    @soxsideirish4 if there are any community groups and parent networks I should be aware of please let me know. Thanks.

  • 358. parent  |  May 13, 2014 at 10:16 am

    @352, Yes, you’re right. I missed a couple. This is a genuine question — would it be possible to convert any of the closed schools into Magnets? I feel like the reason charters are attractive on the South Side is that there aren’t enough Magnets in the area.

  • 359. nise  |  May 13, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Has anybody heard anything from Sheridan. Please, any information will be helpful. I am on the waiting list for 4th grade tier 1 # 3.

    By the way Vincent J thanks for the update post on Sheridan call list.

  • 360. Questioner  |  May 13, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    @352 Beasley is at 5255 S. State, 60609. That is definitely south of Bronzeville, not Bronzeville itself, to me.

  • 361. LynnJ  |  May 13, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I live in Bronzeville and Beasley school is walking distance from my current home. Not sure what it is considered but it’s definitely in The neighborhood.

  • 362. little Beasley intel  |  May 16, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    @355 I met the Beasley RGC K teacher at a teacher training workshop. She came across as smart and very aware of her children’s strengths and weaknesses. What she said about what they were doing in math sounded good to me, though I have forgotten the particulars. I remember a Beasley current K parent spoke highly of the school but also said they were leaving after K for elsewhere in CPS (a different SEES? Not sure). I’d look at the school if at all possible before deciding, but if I had my own SEES app to do over again I might have put it on (I didn’t–we got Carnegie and turned it down to go private.)

  • 363. Inequity  |  May 16, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Living on the North side, I often hear neighbors complain about the funding other schools receive that we don’t receive at our schools. Federal funding for low-income students. They often feel like CPS is always asking them to pay for things that other schools are able to pay for out of their budgets due to all the federal funding they get.

    Then I read the posts on this blog, about libraries without books, kids without basics, and I wonder at the mismanagement of funds at these schools that gives them extra funding but kids do without so many basics. Something is up – fraud, corruption, outright incompetence? We’ve seen that all this happens at CPS schools (staff who pilfered, etc., plenty of examples).

    Also, CPS can not raise people’s children. It is sad that kids come to school without supplies and poverty is real. However, some parents manage to go and get the free backpacks and supplies that are handed out every year and others don’t. CPS can not solve all the home life issues kids have. Teachers are blamed, but even in K they can’t fix all the issues the kids show up with and nor is it their job to do so. Their job is to teach; parents job is to support that teaching at home. It matters.

    I know Daley had an initiative to start boarding schools for kids, but seriously, CPS can’t even do the basics they are charged with now.

  • 364. LynnJ  |  May 22, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I have an update on Murray. I called the school and was told that several parents did not show up for registration on May 16th, so they are updating and revisiting the waitlist and they will no more next week. The person that I spoke to would not tell me if my daughter moved up on the list. Each time I’ve called in the past, they will not give her position on the list.

  • 365. mom2ck  |  May 22, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for the Murray update. Saves me from making yet another call. 🙂 Mr. Mason sure is taking his sweet time. lol…

  • 366. ProudPoeParent  |  May 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    My child is a Kindergartener at Poe. We live in Hyde Park. We pay a private transportation company weekly to transport our child to school. The transportation company has a flier posted at Nichols Park. Other Poe students from Hydepark/ Bronzeville ride the bus. The curriculum is challenging. I’m not one to pressure my child. Entering K she wasn’t a good reader. With school almost ending she is now reading 2nd grade chapter books. In math she knows her multiplication facts up to 6. The principal and AP are very welcoming. The kindergarten teacher will individually work with your child and propel them to the next level. After school activities are available . The students are articulate and the community within the school is safe.

  • 367. LynnJ  |  May 27, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    ProudPoeParent, thanks for the feedback on Poe. Would you mind sharing the name and number of the transportation company you use? I may be in need of someone and I know others here on this board are also vetting transportation companies as well. Thanks.

  • 368. ZTH  |  June 7, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    My little one has a spot at Ray’s K, and was just offered at Carnegie. I read many mixed reviews on Carnegie. I’d appreciate any suggestions on the decision between these two schools, which is due in 3 days. Thanks!

  • 369. Aniece13  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:15 am

    Would anyone happen to know of any good summer camps? I’m desperate to find one. I have a restless 5 year old.

  • 370. 1moreSouthSider  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:56 am

    @ ZTH I’ve also accepted a K spot at Ray. Can’t provide any insight on Carnegie, but thought I’d share the DNA article regarding Ray’s principle selection…which seems to be a bit messy. Hope they get it all figured out soon.

  • 371. Orozco  |  June 9, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Anyone have info on Orozco? My soon to be 7th grade son was offered a seat. It looks good through my online research. Thanks

  • 372. ZTH  |  June 9, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    @1moreSouthSider thanks a lot for sharing the link on Ray’s next principle. Although we really like Ray’s nurturing environment and diversity from PreK to 2nd grade, we think the administration could be better. There were many negative reviews in the past two years.

  • 373. 19th ward mom  |  June 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Great Article on Alan Mather and Lindblom. Congratulations to Dr. Mather and his school on this spotlight. Seems well deserved.

  • 374. pantherettie  |  June 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for posting the Lindblom story. I really liked how the author discussed the history of the school as well as its recent growth.

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    37. southie | June 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Sharing this:
    Earlier today, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Saint Xavier University President Christine Wiseman, CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and I announced an innovative new educational partnership between Saint Xavier University (SXU) and Morgan Park High School (MPHS). The talent and resources of Saint Xavier will compliment the planned expansion of the International Baccalaureate program at MPHS. Together, they will dramatically enhance the caliber of our neighborhood high school.
    Through this partnership, MPHS students will participate in both summer programs and actual college courses on the SXU campus. While there, they will have access to a wide variety of support services typically offered to incoming freshman including training on time management, note taking, college writing, health and wellness, career services, and much more.
    Saint Xavier will also bring their expertise to Morgan Park providing guidance to parents and students on the application process, writing personal essays, and financial aid options. Once students have finalized their college plans, Saint Xavier will offer information sessions to help prepare students and parents for the transition to college life.
    MPHS teachers will also benefit from this partnership. SXU will provide professional develop opportunities covering the most recent advances in teacher practices, assistance with the shift to wall-to-wall IB format, and specific subject area focuses.
    Finally, the partnership will facilitate an expanded student teaching relationship between the two schools. SXU student teachers will fulfill both their observation and student teaching requirements at Morgan Park High School. This relationship will establish a pipeline of young IB certified teachers with CPS experience to fill the ongoing need for great instructors.
    I have worked with leadership from Saint Xavier University, Chicago Public Schools, and Morgan Park High School on this project for over two years. SXU’s involvement will greatly benefit both the students and faculty at Morgan Park High School and have a significant impact for years to come. None of these programs would be possible without strong support from both school’s administrations.
    I’d like to offer my thanks to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Saint Xavier President Christine Wiseman, Provost Paul DeVito, CEO Dr. Barbara Byrd Bennett, and Morgan Park High School Principal Dr. Carolyn Epps. Together, their shared vision helped bring this plan to fruition. Moving forward, I will continue my work with MPHS and keep you updated on our progress.
    Matthew J. O’Shea
    Alderman, 19th Ward

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  • 378. CPS wonderland  |  June 27, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Is anybody familiar why are results from Ray school declining from 2011 (ISAT composite was 84) to 2013 (Isat C 63)?

  • 379. 19th ward mom  |  June 27, 2014 at 11:24 am

    @378 CPS wonderland , For the most part, all school scores dropped from 2012 to 2013. They changed the cutoff score needed to make Exceeds or Meeting requirements. They listed the 2011 score under the new scoring to give a comparison.

    When I say they changed the cutoff score, it would be something like instead of needing a “90” to score an A on a test, the teacher changes it to needing a “93”. So if you try to compare the number of kids that go an A under the old scoring to the kids that got an A under the new scoring, it is not going to be the same. The number of kids making an A will most likely have dropped.

  • 380. KRS  |  June 27, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    Thoughts on NTA vs. UChicago Charter-NKO? We were set for the charter school, but got the call for an open spot at NTA today. Both have some pros and cons for us, so looking for any advice we can get. Thanks in advance:)

  • 381. understanding  |  June 28, 2014 at 4:03 am

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  • 382. pantherettie  |  June 28, 2014 at 7:43 am

    @378 – Sutherland’s right about the score changes in general and that may be the case for Ray. What also happened at Ray during the 2011-2012 and most of the 2012-2013 academic years was a disastrous change in school leadership. The principal during those years decided to dismantle several long standing programs that benefited the students academically (e.g. daily language instruction, recess 2x per day in the primary grades, ect) in order to pilot a program she created called Ray University. Although the program was a good concept it was unfunded, it disenfranchised teachers by replacing certain subject areas with “electives” such as “College Prep” for 6th grade students taught by non-CPS vendors. Another example was a “storyteller” vendor that was supposed to come into 1st and 2nd grade classrooms to “augment” reading time. Recess and gym were replaced with “Morning Fitness” where there was a big sound system placed outside of the school at the beginning of the school day. Students then did group exercises – like the ChaCha Slide and were graded by the classroom teachers. This ate up between 30-45 mins of instructional time each morning and once again frustrated classroom teachers and totally pissed off the community with the excessive noise each morning.

    Additionally, at the time, she was a divisive character. Some saw her as a visionary, others found her to be dismissive, mean-spirited and/or vindictive towards parents and teachers who didn’t agree or support her programs. In November 2012 the school community learned that her program, Ray University, was never funded and her use of outside vendors(many of which were still waiting to be paid) was a violation of board policies and the CPS teacher contract. By the end of December 2012, all of the vendors had to leave and the students were once again disrupted. Additionally, the PTO was nearly bankrupted because of the need to pay over 60k in contract obligations to these vendors. The principal was removed by the board in the middle of April 2013. By that time most people were glad to see her go but the damage was done to the school community. Several veteran teachers left or retired. The new principal had good intentions during the last months of the 2012-2013 school year and during the 2013-2014 school year, but was in an uphill battle. She made some good decisions and some bad ones but overall the school lost too many good families with strong students to recover quickly. She was not offered a contract for next year and has moved to a different school. The LSC is flux and could not choose a principal at all.

    Last important point. Prior to 2013-2014, Ray only went up to 6th grade. So many kids either went to an Academic Center, private school or transferred to another school (most did not go to Canter Middle School). With the addition of 7th and 8th grade in 2013-2014 there was the addition of kids from closing schools *and* the brain drain of about 40% of the kids leaving going to ACs. There absolutely was going to be a decrease in overall test scores as a result of this alone. With such a leadership vacuum at Ray, the loss of veteran teachers and ongoing parent struggles, I can’t recommend the school. I say this as a long term Hyde Parker, a parent of a student who attended Ray for 6 years and as former PTO board member at the school. If you want to confirm or learn more about this see the DNA Hyde Park articles during that time period and read the archived LSC notes on the school’s webpage.

    I’m telling this long story because I think it’s a good cautionary tale. Strong schools with poor leadership can fall apart quickly. Schools that you may not think have potential can grow into something with the right mix of academics and community support.

  • 383. CPS wonderland  |  June 28, 2014 at 11:09 am

    @ 379. 19th ward mom & 382. pantherettie
    Thanks for clarification, I really appreciate it.

  • 384. SoxMom  |  June 28, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    @ 217 my daughter got an offer for Carnegie for k gifted. Please give some more info as far as diversity in the gifted k class.

  • 385. SoxSideIrish4  |  June 29, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    384. SoxMom | June 28, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Congrats on your daughter getting into Carnagie. I don’t know how this applies to the gifted K pgrm, but the school is 97% black, 2% Hispanic & 1% white. It appears that the school went up 1% each in 2013 for hispanic & whites. I think this will grow more next year as well. Just my 2 pennies.

  • 386. BrightBoys  |  June 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Carnegie had at least 8 non minorities in the last kindergarten class. I counted myself at the talent show in June. Hope that helps you.

  • 387. Michelle  |  July 2, 2014 at 11:27 am

    @385 & 386 thanks for ur responses! @386 how is your experiences for the gift k class? Would you recommend we should accept the offer?

  • 388. BrightBoys  |  July 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    We had a good experience in gifted K. Where r u now? What are you other options?

  • 389. Maureen Kelleher  |  July 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    To 380 KRS–both NTA and NKO are good schools. NTA has great facilities, including a pool and swimming. I’m really impressed with the K teacher Mrs. Both. We turned down the offer by a hair to stick with Spanish immersion (NTA’s Spanish is a once-a-week special and they’ve had trouble getting a teacher to stick). It probably depends on whether you think RGC is the right fit for your child. Good luck with the decision!

  • 390. Mom in NTA boundaries  |  July 2, 2014 at 9:35 pm

    KRS, are you looking at NTA RGC, or the neighborhood classroom? I just wanted to clarify and add my 2 bits to say that I’ve visited the school probably a half dozen times and think it’s great. That goes for both the RGC and neighborhood classrooms. A lot of people who live in the NTA boundaries haven’t caught on to the fact it’s a good school, which is giving people outside its boundaries the opportunity to attend. Good luck with whatever decision you make. If you pick (or picked) NTA, parents of incoming Ks have been meeting up so that the kids can get to know each other before starting school.

  • 391. 1moreSouthSider  |  July 3, 2014 at 10:14 am

    @ KRS and others. I’ve provided commentary in previous posts regarding NTA and Ray (purely based on visits and observation as I’m also vying for K spots).

    I’ve toured NKO but can’t find my notes. From memory, 2 K classrooms and 1 is “super K” meaning it can hold more kids, nice sized rooms with cute decor, school does a good job of housing 2 different schools in 1 bldg, school rating is good and they seem well established (Donoghue campus seems to have a ways to go), reasonably priced after school program, conveniently located if you’re in Bronzeville or Hyde Park…only down side I remember is that they close early one day a week.

    I originally accepted a spot at Ray and had heard great things about the acting principal (Toni Hill) and also had friends that knew her personally…however, the principal selection committee seems to have seriously made a mess of finalizing the process and it is now starting all over with the new LSC which took their roles on July 1. See someone else’s comments above for commentary on Ray’s last few years.

    I have since declined that spot and accepted at NTA last week. Although NTA has a troubled history, the administration seems to be going full throttle in making changes. The gifted program will be a game changer for the make-up of the entire school, and I appreciate the administration is making sure to highlight all aspects of the school and its programs during tours. This school, by far, has been the most accommodating of any other school that I’ve encountered in offering tours, answering questions and allowing you to drop-in to observe! I actually spent over an hour in the office last week just talking to the front desk staff and security personnel before turning in my paperwork. They were so generous of their time and did a good job of reassuring me that I was making a good choice. I’ve seen a lot of posts regarding Ms. Both the gifted teacher, but I was also thoroughly impressed with Ms. Leondardson (?) the other K teacher. As a matter of fact, while I was chatting it up with the front desk ladies, they told me Ms. Leondardson was out of the country attending a conference due to a grant she recently won.The NTA drawbacks (not necessarily for me but for some) are the metal detectors, lack of dedicated foreign language curriculum and lack of diversity. Also, I called OAE last week and they said they still have a “couple” of NTA RGC K spots that they are looking to fill. It sounded like they are making only 1 call a week to make sure they don’t go “over”… so the process isn’t done just yet!

    Hope this helps someone.

  • 392. BridgeportMom  |  July 6, 2014 at 9:27 pm


  • 393. NTA23  |  July 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

    @ 1moresouthsider this is great to know! Thanks for sharing! I’ve been in the wrong thread. I’ve been looking for more NTA talk ! In the other thread it seems Coonley, Edison etc are talked about more. I’m looking forward to meeting my child’s new classmates, however I do wish the play dates over the summer could sometimes be on Sundays.

  • 394. mom2ck  |  July 15, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Just got a call from Murray for K. I was #8, Tier 3. Their list is moving pretty s-l-o-w-l-y…. I’m accepting. 🙂

  • 395. Pilsen mom  |  July 15, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    My 1st grader was offered a position in the RGC at the NTA; he is currently at St. Procopius, which we love (we have a pre-k student there as well). Our decision must be made by tomorrow, and I think we will be sticking with St. Procopius for the same reason as the moderator, Maureen–the Spanish component. We also love the sense of community at St. P and, considering that our son has tested into a RGC two years in a row, we have been very happy with the educational program. It’s a tough decision, and I am really rooting for NTA. I’ve heard nothing but great things!

  • 396. Evelyn  |  July 18, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    So here is my final input about Ray. Thumbs down. Our experience there has been awful. Lack of effective communication, principal (while friendly) is not helpful or knowledgeable, case manager is unresponsive, teacher was unresponsive and could not explain anything that was happening or how she graded. I contacted the principal and was basically told that she was leaving and things shouldn’t have been done the way they were. I wish they had said they weren’t going to help at all rather than string me along the way they did.
    We moved to Hyde Park to go to Ray and I have been regretting it since March.

    Luckily, he was accepted at Newberry so now both kids will be going there. They have already been receptive and given me information on how to get things in place for him. My fingers are crossed.

    Does anyone make that commute or have anyideas about transportation or aftercare?

  • 397. Evelyn  |  July 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I should say that that was just our experience in the 3rd grade at Ray and I am comparing them to our old school in Nevada which was exceptional so….take it with a grain of salt. There was an earlier post about foul language in the higher grades and I did notice that, but I’ve seen worse.

  • 398. Morgan  |  July 22, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I don’t see much talk about Keller here. I am wondering how difficult it is to get into? Where do most people who have hopes of Keller send their kids for PreK and Kindergarten. Are there certain PreK’s or Kindergartens that might prepare their students for the exam better than others? How would I even find that out? It seems like almost all of my neighbors send their kids to St. Cajetan, with a very few families sending theirs to Clissold. Also, are there any accommodations made for students with disabilities? Our daycare provider, who is a former CPS teacher, encouraged us to look into selective enrollment schools for our LO when the time comes, but she has very poor vision and wonder how that might affect her in a picture/visual exam as everything I have seen seems to indicate.

  • 399. Morgan  |  July 22, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    @163. 19th ward mom – Can you tell me more about how to join the Beverly moms FB group? We are new to the area and didn’t grow up in CPS so a little clueless on how all of this works!

  • 400. BridgeportMom  |  July 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    follow again…….

  • 401. MomE  |  July 23, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Just got a call from Murray, proximity list 57. We enrolled our daughter at Namaste already, and will most likely stand with that decision and pass on Murray. Though sending her to a school just a few blocks away is very compelling. Have until tomorrow morning to decide.

  • 402. 1moreSouthSider  |  July 24, 2014 at 9:05 am

    NTA parents…is there a Facebook group?

  • 403.  |  July 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    @402, not that I know of, just some playdates this summer.

  • 404. 19th ward mom  |  July 24, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    @399 Please send me an email to this email address:
    chicagobride2be @

  • 405. ChrisK  |  July 26, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Any wait list calls? I heard that Sutherland might be adding classes.Not a for sure thing for a couple weeks. Is there a Beverly moms group?

  • 406. South Loop Mom  |  July 27, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    For NTA K Families, welcome! We loved our first year and will be sending our younger kids there as well, to the neighborhood program most likely.

    Some NTA parents are planning park meetups. Definitely go even if you are entering 1st or 2nd grade instead. Existing students definitely welcome! Here is the schedule:

    A group of parents is organizing play dates to get acquainted with new friends and the idea of a new school. Please join us! Send an email to: and we’ll keep you posted on any changes due to weather. We hope to see you soon!
    · Friday, 6/27, 2-5pm: 31st Street Playground, East 31st Street and Fort Dearborn Drive
    · Saturday, 7/12, 10am-1pm: Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave.
    · Friday, 7/25, 2-5pm: Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave.
    · Saturday, 8/9, 10am-1pm: 31st Street Playground, East 31st Street and Fort Dearborn Drive
    · Friday, 8/22, 2-5pm: Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens, 1801 S. Indiana Ave.

  • 407. Emily  |  July 28, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    @399 @405 Hello, I’m another person new to Beverly – we move there next week. We’ll be in the Kellogg boundaries, and I plan to send my son there starting K. Would love to hear about a Beverly moms group/FB page.

  • 408. Now looking at Lindblom  |  July 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    @Pantherettie or anyone else–do you have any information about Lindblom’s dance program? Can 7th and 8th grade students participate in the dance program? Also, what are the hours each day, beginning and ending, for the academic center school day?

  • 409. AjaM  |  July 29, 2014 at 10:22 am

    @momE can you tell us what tier for Murray?

  • 410. 1moreSouthSider  |  August 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

    FYI –Chicago Park District after school program on-line registration opens today for those East of California.

  • 411. nise  |  August 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    @410 thank you

  • 412. Missy  |  August 18, 2014 at 5:46 am

    To answer the question about CICS, I have a daughter that goes to Wrightwood. It is a very good school with a rigorous curriculum. They have a few after school activities. Homework is heavy starting from K on up. My daughter is going into 3rd grade. To me the curriculum isn’t very creative but the kids are steadily meeting or exceeding their target goals. They only go on one field trip at the end of the year. They don’t recognize the high achievers the director says it is expected for all to be high achievers. A lot of the staff member’s and administration children are in attendance which is a great example. It is a very orderly school. They run a tight ship but most of the children are well behaved and teachers are able to teach. They focus a lot on speed by timing the school day activities and class work. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That keeps the kids conscious about doing things in a timely manner. They get out early every Wednesday at 1:50p for teacher development. They do offer aftercare. I keep hearing that their Junior Academy (6th – 8th grade) has a very good structure. They are definitely preparing students for high school and college.
    Overall CICS Wrightwood is a good choice but I am not sure it is the best fit for my daughter. I think she may do better in a more hands on creative learning environment. I feel as though she is often bored because she’s not being challenged or motivated enough. She is always with top students. Her teachers say she could be the top student if she focused more.
    How are the other top schools do the have a rigorous yet creative curriculum? Do they recognize the high achievers? Lastly, do they go on educational field trips throughout year?

    My last questions are does anyone know about Claremont Academy? They focus on Science, Math, Technology as well as some Arts. They are a Level 2 school and on they rated 6 with a 9 for student growth 3 for test scores. It’s our neighborhood school and we are thinking of switching her. It is closer, someone stated earlier, that is something to consider. We are also looking at Horizon Science Academy Southwest. She was accepted in this new charter. This is closer than Wrightwood to us not as close as Claremont but about 10 blocks away. It’s a hard decision because I don’t know too much about the school except for what I read online and of course everything sounds great online. They just opened a Horizon Science Academy Mckinley last fall on Perishing and Western I believe. Also they are in the same network as Chicago Math and Science which is reportedly a Level 1 school. I read that HSA SW are receiving 33 percent more per pupil than the rest of the schools. Who wouldn’t want their kids to go to a school that has resources that’s a plus.

  • 413. South Loop Mom  |  August 28, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    For new NTA families who may not be on the email list yet, tomorrow you can meet your teachers from 12-2pm and drop off forms/buy uniforms. From our Assistant Principal:

    Hello NTA Families

    This is Ms. Walker, the assistant principal of NTA. We are counting down and looking forward to the first day of school, Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

    To help your family prepare, NTA is hosting Family Palooza on Friday, August 29, 2014 from 12pm to 2 pm. Your family is invited to register for the new school year, purchase school uniforms, register for the UIC clinic and most importantly meet your child’s teacher. I hope to see you there.

  • 414. anon  |  September 12, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    My son, first grader, just got an offer from Lenart. This comes as a big surprise because we assumed he had got in nowhere. I would love to hear from any parents with children — especially boys — at Lenart who are in the lower grades. I am not so worried about he homework load, but wonder about whether there is any unstructured time for open exploration, whether there are any projects in these grades, whether, as I have heard, there are very few boys in each class. My son is not currently in CPS so I am also wondering about how much time Lenart kids might spend preparing for and taking standardized tests (no such tests at our school for a few years, and then no prep time). I hear amazing things about the quality of the kids, nd I know several ex-lenart kids who live up to it (all girls though — I don’t know any Lenart boys).

    Any feedback from families who know Lenart would be much appreciated.

  • 415. Maureen Kelleher  |  September 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Any Southside families commuting to LaSalle Language Academy? We just accepted a K spot and are too far to qualify for busing. Pilsen mom 395 I still think Procopius is a good school, but I couldn’t turn down LaSalle.

  • 416. South Loop Mom  |  October 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    National Teachers Academy (NTA) Open Houses coming up:

    October 22nd, 6-7:30 pm Open House
    November 13th, 9:30-11:30 am Open House and Tour of Classrooms
    December 2nd, 9:30-10:30 am Tour of Classrooms only

    55 West Cermak, right off the Chinatown Redline stop. Neighborhood school, RGC and Options programs (so you can apply for the neighborhood program from out of boundary). Before & aftercare available.

  • 417. POE! MCDADE!  |  October 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Poe Classical & McDade Classical Families:

    CPS is seriously considering moving Decatur Classical to a larger, nicer school building (Stewart) that was shut down during school closings so that they can have a 7th and 8th grade.
    Your 2 south side classical schools deserve 7th and 8th grade too! It will cost at least 15 million to get Stewart ready for Decatur. Your schools each deserve 15 million as well!!
    Doesn’t seem fair that the 2 south side classical schools are not being considered! Of the 5 classical schools in Chicago, that would mean the 3 north side classical schools get 7th and 8th, but not the south side kids!
    Let CPS know you deserve the same respect as Decatur! Let your Principal and LSC know ASAP!

  • 418. @417 re: decatur move  |  October 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm

    …from the alderman’s website about Decatur moving to get a 7/8th grade —

  • 419. decatur/poe/mcdade  |  October 22, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I think the Alderman for Poe and McDade Classical Schools on the south side should know CPS is not thinking about giving them 7/8th grade like they are thinking about the north side Decatur Classical !

    Poe Classical – Alderman: Mr. Anthony Beale, ward 09

    McDade Classical – Alderman: Mr. Roderick T Sawyer, ward 06

  • 420. decatur/poe/mcdade  |  October 22, 2014 at 11:15 pm

    I think the Alderman for Poe and McDade Classical Schools on the south side should know CPS is not thinking about giving them 7/8th grade like they are thinking about the north side Decatur Classical !

    Poe Classical – Alderman: Mr. Anthony Beale, ward 09
    ward09 @ cityofchicago . org

    McDade Classical – Alderman: Mr. Roderick T Sawyer, ward 06
    service @ 6thwardchicago . com

  • 421. Rachel Kovarsky  |  October 23, 2014 at 8:42 am

    #419 – I don’t understand what you’re saying. Are you saying that CPS is not considering a 7/8th grade program for these schools? Because preliminary reports tell us that all interested parties (Alderman Beale, principals, State Rep, families) are interested in making this happen. Is there something that you know that we don’t?

  • 422. Rachel Kovarsky  |  October 23, 2014 at 8:44 am

    417 – The LSC and principals for both schools are working hard to make a 7/8th grade program a reality. I am a member of the Poe LSC and we have created a committee about this issue that will be crafting a proposal to submit to CPS for this project.

  • 423. Southside Mom  |  October 23, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    My daughter went to Poe. I heard the principal is great and the school has greatly improved since he arrived but the building is not that big and has no cafeteria. Where would the extra 7/8th graders be placed in the building or is there an expansion plan?

  • 424. Rachel Kovarsky  |  October 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    The idea is to partner with Brooks College Prep since their campus is quite large. Again, this plan is in it’s infancy so who knows how it will turn out but there are definite plans in the works to create a logistically sound proposal for a 7/8th grade. Believe me, no one is sitting on their hands and waiting for CPS to take the lead on this. I think post people would agree that the need for this program is there – the question now becomes how, where and when.

  • 425. SMART COOKIES  |  October 26, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    9:30 a.m. -11:00 a.m.
    10538 S. LANGLEY AVENUE in the historic Pullman district!
    Private van transportation available!
    After school programs that run until 6 p.m. daily!
    Come find out about one of the best kept secrets on the south side!

  • 426. Southside Mom  |  October 27, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Poe is a hidden gem on the South side and deserves a look if parents want a great school.

  • 427. South Loop Mom  |  October 27, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    NTA parent here. Just wanted to check back now that we are in year 2 in the RGC. We are happy – things are going well. We like the curriculum, the faculty, admin, enrichment and the facilities. Parent involvement is ramping up with a PAC and a Friends of NTA group (still being formed). We also have a child in the Ready to Learn Pre-K, which is a great way to test out the school, if you are looking long-term. Check in for daytime tours in November and December.

    November 13th, 9:30-11:30 am Open House and Tour of Classrooms

    December 2nd, 9:30-10:30 am Tour of Classrooms only

  • 428. grapes  |  October 30, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Getting ready for my DD to apply for HS. Besides Lindblom, Brooks, and AG, any other great HS that are located in the south side? How are the IB programs at Kennedy and Curie? Trying to cast a wide net so she may have options.

  • 429. AC  |  October 30, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    How about the new SEHS – Hancock? It is on the southside.Probably a better chance of getting in. I’ve heard it is already a good H.S.

  • 430. Jaguar bronco mom  |  October 30, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I encourage you to attend King College Prep’s open house in November 8th from 9am-noon! The classes are very rigorous and my son who is a sophomore loves it! King is a selective enrollment school located at 44th & Drexel. Kenwood has a magnet program and their application can be downloaded at the website. It has a wide variety of AP and honors classes available to motivated students! My youngest son is in the AC there and wants to stay for HS. He doesn’t want to attend a SEHS! Most of the AC students stay at Kenwood and NOT because they didn’t get in other schools! The open house is also on November 8th 1pm-4pm for the HS and the AC open house is from 10am-noon! Please keep in my Kenwood for many years lead in the amount of scholarship money given to students! The first school that beat them was Jones last year! I am very pleased with both schools!

  • 431. Jaguar bronco mom  |  October 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Oops! Forgot to include that Kenwood is located on 50th & Blackstone in Hyde Park! The magnet program is for out of area students who meet certain requirements which are listed on the website. Although you have to send the application to the school, OAE does the lottery!

  • 432. fam  |  October 31, 2014 at 7:52 am

    @grapes, if you find out anything about Curie IB, please report back and let us know. I am wondering if a student can participate in Curie’s great dance program and take IB courses there simultaneously (and do well of course).

  • 433.  |  November 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I have my kids at Daystar.
    They were at Ray for the lower grades. We love Daystar!

  • 434. UP Bronzeville Vs Kenwood  |  December 11, 2014 at 11:47 am

    A friend of mine has her freshman son at Urban Prep Bronzeville and isn’t having the best experience so far. Their neighborhood school is Kenwood which seems to be a great school. She’s considering moving her son to the neighborhood school at the end of the year, possibly sooner. Of course, it’s difficult to make these decisions. Anyone out there that can compare Urban Prep Bronzville Campus & Kenwood?

  • 435. @433  |  December 11, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Not sure if this is helpful, but my son attends the AC at Kenwood & he loves it! He loves it so much that he announced after a month of being at the school that he wants to attend the HS. It is a great blend of neighborhood kids and it has a magnet program that pulls from all over the city. They have a great 6 year plan that was oulined for the AC students, which inlcuded a mix of honors classes, AP classes & dual enrollment starting in the Junior year during the school week. In fact,Kenwood has just as many or more AP classes then some of the SE schools. Looking at the data because they are both level 1 schools, Kenwood’s average ACT & overall number of students meeting/exceeding on the PSAE is higher than Urban Prep, however Urban Prep is doing a better job at growing their students.

    I have asked many parents of students in the HS to share their experiences and I haven’t heard one bad thing. Frankly, it brings my stress level down because I have already been through the SE process with my older son & of course I will still have my younger son test when it comes time, but I don’t have to be freaked out & stressed about a good HS option. Kenwood has courses that can challenge students who want it in all subject areas.

    I do want to mention though that of course there are some “knuckleheads” there, but I think that I am glad my son is encountering this now, so he knows how to conduct himself later in life. It is quite a mixture of students. Kenwood has the jocks, the brainiacs, the sophiscated cool types & the everyday ordinary types in the building. It makes for a great experience. Some days I have to drag my son out the building because he never wants to come home. There are so many different clubs, activities & sports that you may have to limit a more outgoing child from doing too much!

    No school is perfect, but I am very happy with Kenwood. Sometimes, a school that is a good fit for one child may not be a good fit for another child. I think you should encourage your friend to tour the building near the end of the school year.

    Take a look at our “Happy video!”

  • 436. T. Pick  |  January 21, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    Tier 3 -South Side
    My daughter took the test Friday(KG) and was able to tell me a couple of questions.
    1. What has whiskers and meows?
    2. Which shape doesn’t belong?
    3. Hints or clues about barking and four legs and the answer was dog.
    4. She “claimed” 3+2?
    5. She mentioned patterns she said triangle, circle….
    6. She said where does milk come from
    7. She said something in relation to a dollar and 100. I’m assuming it has something to do with how many pennies in a dollar.
    8. What is the same name for fall.
    Thats all I was able to DRILL out of her…hilarious

  • 437. Wondering  |  February 26, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Does anyone know when the letters are mailed

  • 438. Chicago School GPS  |  March 18, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Reposting from another blog:

    If you are a parent of a 6-8th grade student who attends a South or West side CPS elementary school, we would like to talk to YOU AND YOUR STUDENT about the selective enrollment process for high school.

    Chicago Public Schools is currently reviewing how parents and students think about the selective enrollment application process for next year 2015-16. To help us understand how parents and students decide which high school is the best fit, we are holding discussion groups and conducting a survey.

    We would like to speak to 6th to 8th grade students and their parents. You and your student are invited to come to those discussion groups. They will be held:

    On Monday, March 23rd 6 – 8 pm (Pizza and soft drinks will be provided)
    At King College Prep High School, 4445 S Drexel Blvd, Chicago, IL 60653

    Pre-registration is required. Email and include the school that your student attends to review a pre-registration link.

    Focus group participants will be entered in a drawing for one of five $25 Target gift cards.

    If you have any questions about the selective enrollment process, please contact Katie Ellis at kmellis @

  • 439. Kcabral  |  March 20, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Following — again 🙂

    I will try to post a link to this page on the other 2015 elementary CPSObsessed pages to get some current discussion going.

    We are in McKinley Park, our son will be entering 1st grade this fall. Anxiously awaiting our letters! Good luck to all!!

  • 440. Southside Tier 3 Mom  |  March 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm


  • 441. NTA Mom  |  March 20, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Another NTA parent here. We’re more than halfway through year 2 in the RGC and are still thrilled with this school. Kid is thriving, faculty and staff are great people. Parent involvement is growing little by little but not as quickly as I’d like to see…I remain hopeful. The PAC and school have put together some great events (learning and for fun!) for families to attend: “Math Night”, “Reading Night”, “Tech Night”, “Family Fitness Night”, “Parent Forum”…to name a few. Friends of NTA is up and running, working toward growing to support our school. The principal set up a piano lesson program with “Band for Today” — that program started just a month or so ago and has been great for my kid. Soccer is available for grades 2 on up! Kids attend health class, gym, swimming, art, tech, spanish.

    I was talking with another parent and we really feel the school administration listens when parents voice their opinions, wants and needs. I appreciate that.

    Whether you’re looking at RGCs or neighborhood schools, NTA is well worth a shot. We remain content with our choice.

    Visit the school at an open house:
    Thursday, March 26th at 6:30pm
    Monday, April 13th at 9:30am

  • 442. LynnJ  |  March 20, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Following again!

  • 443. southside tier 3 kindergarten mom  |  March 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I’ll be stalking the mailbox on Monday hoping for a southside magnet or selective enrollment acceptance letter. I included schools in the west loop and the northside in my application but God knows I really don’t want to deal with that commute for the next nine years…good luck to everyone who is going through this process now!

  • 444. feeder schools  |  March 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    @ NTA Mom,

    What is the RGC’s demographic profile? Has there been a perceivable change over the two years?

  • 445. NTA Mom  |  March 21, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    RGC, all demos represented. Rest of school less diverse, but makes no difference. A great school for kids with nice families and I say you’d be hard pressed to find more dedicated staff than at NTA.

  • 446. PreK Mom  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:42 am


  • 447. Lenart info please  |  March 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Posting on behalf of a friend whose daughter just got into Lenart. Any intel from current parents? I have heard both good and bad things about the school in the past and don’t have current info. All comments welcome!

  • 448. zchisolmel  |  March 23, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I’m really lost and don’t know what to make of the wait list numbers. ..anyone please help sheep some light out hope. .for kindergarten here’s what we got:
    Stone 5 tier 1
    stem 26 tier 1
    thorp o 10 tier 1
    Galileo 4 tier 1
    sutherland 100 tier 1
    Hawthorne 13 tier 1
    solomon general 85

  • 449. IB Obsessed  |  March 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Based on the Tier 1 and the fact that you are high waitlisted at northside schools (which presumably have fewer Tier 1 applicants because travel to these schools are far for most Tier 1 applicants), I’d say you are likely to get at least one offer. Hang in there until June, and don’t give up hope until school starts in the fall.

  • 450. Southside Tier 3 Mom  |  March 23, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Letter arrived today.
    Accepted to McDade for Kindergarten, It was my 2nd choice. Scored 99% in reading, 93% Math. RGC: 127.
    Waitlisted pretty high for Disney, Newberry, etc. Accepted at Earhart.
    We will probably go with McDade as the test scores are excellent, the school is small, and it is a high performing classical.

    I’m glad this process is over!!!

  • 451. Giftedmeasures  |  March 23, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    99.9% Reading
    97% Math
    RGC 131

    Poe-1st choice. Thought about other schools, but I liked the fact that Poe develops the “Whole Child”. The teachers have a good spirit and work hard. Poe has gifted students AND gifted teachers. Very important to my family. I’ll have to drive further to get there, but I’m excited about Poe!!!!!!!!

  • 452. RachelK  |  March 23, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    #451 – YAY! Welcome to Poe. We are excited your family has chosen to join us. The PTA has become very active and the LSC (which I’m a member) is very strong. We look forward to you joining us!

  • 453. TPick  |  March 23, 2015 at 8:32 pm


  • 454. zchisolmel  |  March 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    This entire experience is completely draining. ..I feel such a let down. Our son did get into a very good private school on the Southside but we were so going to not have to pay tuition but it’s looking like that’s our best option. After this experience I’m second guessing my instincts and don’t feel confident at all. ..feel like I failed. First time going through this process and man. …..idk

  • 455. NTA Mom  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Just say yes to NTA!!! In our second year there and still loving it!

  • 456. NTA T  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    NTA Open house
    March 26, 2015 at 6:30 pm
    April 13, 2015 at 9:30 am (includes classroom tours)
    At both open houses there will be a Q&A with current RGC parents, tour of the building, overview of programs, and Q&A with teachers and administration.

  • 457. jazzman  |  March 23, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Mcdade kindergarden teach is Mrs. Bouncy she is fantastic cant say enough great things about her. She encourages parent participation your child will really grow in her class. The principle Mr. Perry is quiet but he makes things happen and will listen and respond back quickly. The only draw back at McDade is that it only goes up to the sixth grade.

  • 458. Momatwitsend  |  March 23, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    this process is daunting and unfair. I had two sons graduate from Poe, one was valedictorian and now their little sister can’t place with a 96/90. Private school isn’t an option due to budget constraints. Can someone please offer some neighborhood options. I am currently house hunting and will have to move into a neighborhood with a good school. I would like to stay south due to school and job logistics. Any suggestions?

  • 459. Giftedmeasures  |  March 23, 2015 at 11:43 pm

    Thank You, RachelK!

  • 460. SloopMama  |  March 24, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Accepted to Keller, 1st grade. Would love some insight from Keller parents, if any are on here! Teacher, curriculum, sports, afterschool programs, busing/opinions on commute if not living in/around Mt.Greenwood area..any/all info would be much appreciated!!

  • 461. ZeeC  |  March 24, 2015 at 4:04 am

    I posted earlier but just wanted to add a few things……

    For kindergarten we were waitlisted at:
    Vanderpoel 5
    Sutherland 100
    we are waitlisted pretty high at some other covented schools further north which realistically aren’t options the treak would just be unreal.

    I have also looked at back up schools and Morgan Park Academy is our backup option. I just wanted to point out that if cost is an issue MPA offers scholarships and have financial aid options and the yearly tutition can go from max $14000-$25000 depending on the grade the child is in to 6000-10000 per year. Just saying trust me I don’t want to pay tutiton at all but when we went there he loved it instantly. They allso have wonderful extracurricular activities which includes chess and golf which my little on is pretty into right now. That was one of the issues I had with RGC and Classicaal they lack extracurricular activities which to me make them less well rounded.Any thought on Vanderpoel and I know the wait list for sutherland is high so are chances arew probably slim to none.

  • 462. Fam  |  March 24, 2015 at 5:52 am

    @458 I hear Dixon is a good neighborhood school; it is on 83rd street at St. Lawrence.

  • 463. Momoftwins  |  March 24, 2015 at 7:25 am

    As a mother of a Keller 1st grader, I have nothing but great things to report. The first grade teacher, Ms. Jemison, is WONDERFUL!! She is definitely a great introduction to Keller. In regards to after school activities, they are limited. My first grader is currently participating in Chess, which is offered after school one day a week in fall and spring. They also have a minis sports camp like program that is offered in the fall to get the lower level grade levels acclimated with different sports. There is no aftercare program.
    We do not live on or near Mt. Greenwood area. My son takes the bus and is picked up at 6:52 in the morning from a school nearby.

  • 464. Sosidemom  |  March 24, 2015 at 8:04 am

    Activities for the younger students at Keller are more limited, although there is fall soccer, spring bowling, and spring running club. As students get older, activities significantly increase. Team sports include basketball, soccer, volleyball. Other activities include Battle of the Books, Lego Robotics, band, Chicago Children’s Choir, and others I am forgetting. My oldest will be graduating this year and has had a fantastic experience. There is simply no teacher like Ms. Jemison. She is absolutely amazing. There are other great teachers as well. Transportation is provided, like at other RGCs–pickup is from your local elementary school generally. If students are participating in after school activities (like chess, bowling, etc), you will need to provide after school transportation.

  • 465. Momatwitsend  |  March 24, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Thanks for Dixon (Fam #462). I’m a little concerned because some students were robbed at gunpoint on their way to school about a week ago.

    Does anyone have suggestions for good neighborhood schools on the southside?

  • 466. Fam  |  March 24, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Then try Shoemith.

  • 467. Southside Tier 3 Mom  |  March 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

    We got accepted into McDade Classical for K. McDade has great numbers and test scores. However we were wait listed for Newberry at #8. Im thinking they may have an opening. Or should I go with the selective classical school? Again, Reading was 99%, math 93%.

  • 468. LSmom  |  March 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

    @467, you can accept the McDade offer for now, and you’ll stay on the Newberry list. If you get a call from Newberry, you can make the decision then. If you take a RGC/Classical spot, you’re taken out of the running for other RGC/Classical schools, but you stay on magnet/neighborhood wait lists.

  • 469. Southside Tier 3 Mom  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I understand how that aspect works…just weighing pros and cons of both schools. I want the best experience for her. Trying to determine which is a “better” school and what factors contribute to that…

  • 470. 19th ward mom  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:05 am

    @465 Momatwitsend

    There are some good neighborhood schools in the 19th ward: Clissold, Mt. Greenwood, Sutherland, and Cassell

    In Hyde Park, I have heard good things about Ray.

    In the South Loop, you have South Loop school (though they have overcrowding problems). NTA seems to be gaining ground.

    In Bridgeport, you have Haley .

  • 471. to 448 don't give up yet  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:07 am

    4 for Galileo is pretty good. I know a couple of K parents who got in and may not go. Hang tight–I realize you may have to put a deposit on that private school but your wait list numbers are high enough you may not be done yet.

  • 472. 465 at wit's end  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Chavez Elementary 4747 S. Marshfield is a level 1+. It’s a big school. The principal is great. Must live in the area–it’s full to the gills. I admit the neighborhood is a bit rough but the school is very good. And houses are cheap.

  • 473. Kcabral  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:18 am

    We applied to schools with a mix of locations but mostly near south side. I’ll post all our results here. Applied for 1st grade, so all waitlists are general.

    Walsh — does anybody have ANY info about this school?? Pretty sure the school doesn’t even have its own (even basic) website. Applied based on location & scores/rating

    Armour — 3
    Holden — 6
    Chavez — 2
    Pritzker (neighborhood) — 13
    Drummond — 21
    Pershing — 23
    Haines — 28
    Burr — 30
    J. Ward — 44
    Galileo — 58
    STEM — 61
    South Loop — 135
    Sheridan — 207
    LaSalle II — 251
    Jackson — 270
    Skinner (neighborhood) — 303

    Our top picks were Sheridan and Jackson, looks those won’t be happening. But extremely excited we got any offers at all!!

  • 474. Kcabral  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

    @Momatwitsend and @19th Ward Mom —

    Pretty sure Healy doesn’t take any out of boundary apps. I’m sure I would have applied there otherwise.

    For good neighborhood, non-magnet schools, look in the Bridgeport/Chinatown/Pilsen area. We applied to almost all of these since we’re in McKinley Park/35th & Ashland.

    Check out J. Ward, Haines, Perez and Walsh. Then also Armour and Holden, which don’t seem quite as good but I wonder if they’re on the rise (hard to say). These are all neighborhood schools.

    Good luck!!

  • 475. 19th ward mom  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:57 am

    @474 Kcabral
    Momatwitsend asked about moving to a neighborhood with a good school on the southside. So if she moved to say the Healy neighborhood, she would not be out of boundary.

  • 476. SloopMama  |  March 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

    More questions re: Keller RGC…

    @Momoftwins, @Sosidemom – Thank you so much for your insights re: Keller! It’s great to hear wonderful feedback about the school, and particularly about the 1st grade teacher.

    @Momoftwins – 6:52am bus pickup time definitely gives me pause. May I ask where you live and where your pickup site(school) is? We are probably out of bus service boundaries, so I’d need to either drive to the nearest site or skip bus option entirely. Which means a lot more car time for us and figuring out how to get my younger child to preschool.

    Also, you mentioned there is no aftercare, but there are afterschool activities? So does the school day end at 2:45, unless students are involved in activities (sports, chess, etc.)? And in that case, how late do those activities run?

    Thanks again for any and all insight. I’d love to know how other Keller parents who live at least 10 miles away from the school handle day-to-day logistics.

  • 477. Momoftwins  |  March 24, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    In regards to the 6:52 am pickup time, yes it’s early. We live in the Chatham neighborhood. He gets picked up at McDade Classical (88th & Indiana) along with 3 other families. I think we are the 2nd stop. The first stop is further east around 87th and Stoney Island, maybe a little further east than that. That child gets picked up at 6:33.

    School ends at 2:45. If participating in Chess or another after school program, they end at 3:45. At least in re:Chess and the Mini sports camp program. My mom picks my son up after chess since there’s no bus transportation. I’m not sure how long the sports practice last or if they occur right after school. My son didn’t participate in soccer this past fall. However, he plans to in the upcoming school year.

  • 478. SloopMama  |  March 24, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    @Momoftwins – thank you for that info, super helpful! Ugh, with pickup times earlier than 7am, it sounds like I will likely be driving my late riser. My son also loves soccer and wants to learn chess, so it sounds like there might be a pickup after 2:45 at least a couple times a week. I just learned there will be an Open House on April 2nd – I’ll be ready with all of my questions! Thanks again!!

    Would still love to hear from other Keller commuters if you’re out there! 🙂

  • 479. Giftedmeasures  |  March 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Did anyone else get accepted/choose Poe?

  • 480. T Pick,  |  March 24, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Anyone want to tell me about NTA ??? We got an offer and I’ve heard great things but the test scores don’t tell because they are not seperated from the neighborhood scores. Do you have any pointers, advice, teachers to request for KG ? Anything will help. Thanks in advance !

  • 481. Giftedmeasures  |  March 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    @467 we were offered Newberry but will decline. I guess you’re number 7 now. Good Luck 🙂

  • 482. Another NTA voice  |  March 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    @ T Pick There is only 1 RGC classroom at each grade level. There are 2 neighborhood classrooms and 1 RGC for kindergarten. We are in Kindergarten and love it. Our child is doing very well and as far as scores, there is a sizable jump for the 2nd grade NWEA MAP scores, as this is the first RGC class to be combined with neighborhood scores. The kids in my child’s class are extremely bright. Many read at 3rd-4th grade level. They have an open house coming up–March 26th @ 6:30.

  • 483. TPick  |  March 24, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Thanks @482. We will be at the open house this coming Thursday with Bells & Whistles. NTA makes so much sense to me…the facility/park district…the location, etc… I know they also have a lot of technology too. I do also know that they will differentiate if a child is above level (awesome). I must admit, I’m not excited about uniforms uggghhh. FYI I did find a lot of websites with uniforms on sale for super cheap since this is not the time when people usually order them.

  • 484. Looking at NTA  |  March 24, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Can any current NTA parents comment on the neighborhood side of the school? Did anyone send a younger sibling to the neighborhood side? Are you happy with it?

    DD sailed through Northwestern’s CTD test with amazing scores but woke up with a fever of 102 on the morning when she took the CPS test. Needless to say, she only got a 118, so I highly doubt she’ll get a third round offer (we’re Tier 2). NTA was our first choice.

    We are, however, #3 on the neighborhood waitlist. I’m thinking we’ll probably get a call, but I’m torn on whether I should accept or just keep her at her current Montessori school for K and then have her take the test again next year. Would the neighborhood program be rigorous enough?

  • 485. frannyglass79  |  March 24, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    Is there anyone on the South Side (Hyde Park or Woodlawn area) that send their kids to LaSalle 2? This is the one magnet offer that we got. We are entering K, Tier 3. We are also #10 at Haines. I wonder if we will be offered a seat? My child currently goes to a private school in Chinatown.

    We are trying to figure if this commute to LaSalle 2 is going to be doable. I work downtown.

  • 486. NTA T  |  March 24, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Looking at NTA, NTA differentiates in both RGC and neighborhood rooms. They have some students that are already reading in kindergarten in the neighborhood program and differentiate their instruction.

  • 487. R  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:08 pm


  • 488. Looking at NTA  |  March 24, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    Thanks, NTA T! That’s very encouraging. Any other plugs for the neighborhood side of the school?

  • 489. MoMo  |  March 24, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    @Looking at NTA. My child is currently in the neighborhood program.
    There’s homework daily but only takes about 10mins to finish. There’s also reading every night. The book is per each kid’s reading level. Teachers are great. I haven’t hear anything negative from my kid.

  • 490. 1moreSouthSider  |  March 24, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    My child is in the K RGC and has a very good friend in K neighborhood program. I’ve spoken to the mom and she’s very happy. The entire K unit gets mixed into A-B-C groups for recess and lunch to get to know “new friends” outside of their individual classrooms. No complaints from my child. They also have some field trips together so the kids do get to know one another. Speaking of field trips…I can almost guarantee no other school in the city has had as many well-done field trips as NTA! I’m always amazed at their outings!

  • 491. Looking at NTA  |  March 25, 2015 at 12:20 am

    @MoMo and @1moreSouthSider–Thank you both so much! Your comments are really encouraging and are swaying me to say “yes” if my phone rings. I’m going to share your comments with my dubious DH, who wants to leave DD where she is because of the known-quantity factor. I’ll be dragging him to the open house, however, because I think once he sees the facilities and talks to the teachers and the administration, he’ll be persuaded.

  • 492. MoMo  |  March 25, 2015 at 8:55 am

    The many field trips only apply to RGC. My kid went to the kids science lab in the beginning of the year and there’s an upcoming one to the zoo.

  • 493. South Loop Mom  |  March 25, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I have a child in the RGC and a child in the Ready to Learn Pre-K. We plan to send our younger kids to the neighborhood program at NTA. I like how many neighborhood classrooms have two teachers (a lead teacher and a mentee). I also think they do a good job of differentiating, especially if parents ask for it and participate. The neighborhood itself is really convenient for additional enrichment too, like Kids Science Labs and Sherwood School of Music nearby. Regarding uniforms… is great, and we have saved a ton of money on clothes! Looking at NTA…my child came from a great Montessori school too and we were reluctant, but it is working out very well. We also thought – hey – let’s try this. If it doesn’t work, we can try and go back. So far we are happy (and most importantly so are both of our kids!).

  • 494. Looking at NTA  |  March 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks, South Loop Mom! I have the exact same attitude. No harm, no foul if it doesn’t work out, but if it does, that would be great. Does anyone know when they start calling people off of the neighborhood wait list? And did I read somewhere that there are two neighborhood K classes?

  • 495. South Loop Mom  |  March 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    They will likely not call for the neighborhood list until school enrollment starts, but ask at the Open House. I think your husband should go with you to one or both Open Houses to get a good feel for the school. My husband and I each went separately so we could evaluate on our own – that helped a lot. We didn’t influence eachother during the tour.

  • 496. Looking at NTA  |  March 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    South Loop Mom–I actually went to the open house last year when trying to figure out how to rank the SEES application. I loved what I saw. DH didn’t go then (the days/times conflicted with his schedule). So, of course, he went online and saw the scores and was skeptical. I’ve explained to him the factors surrounding those scores (RGC too new to be included, for ex). He’s still lukewarm, but I strongly believe that once he actually goes to the school and talks to the admin, he’ll see what I see.

    The funny thing is that his former job took him inside dozens of CPS neighborhood schools across the city, and he knows first-hand that there are amazing teachers and engaged kids at even the most “failing” schools, and that online scores don’t tell the whole story. I guess all that knowledge and experience goes out the door when it comes to his little girl. 😉

    I’ve already had him clear his schedule, so he’s committed to going (and he says he’s going with an open mind). I’m also bringing my MIL, a former CPS teacher. Both of them are hard sells, but I’m confident that attending the open house will open their eyes.

  • 497. Test Scores  |  March 27, 2015 at 9:55 am

    In case this is helpful, here’s a list of all the South Side schools that scored above the 55th percentile on the NWEA MAPs in 2014 in attainment (average of Reading and Math score) (above the national average). I know some people prefer growth to attainment, but I’ve also included % of “low income” students as reported by CPS so you can see how that influences it. This list includes only neighborhood schools (no magnets/SEES, no charters).

    MAP Score / % Low Income / School / Neighborhood:

    98, 90, HEALY, Chinatown
    94, 94, HAINES, Chinatown
    92, 85, WARD, J, Chinatown

    Near Southwest
    89.5, 96, BURROUGHS, McKinley Park
    78.5, 100, PEREZ, Pilsen
    78, 98, CHAVEZ, BotY / New City
    77, 97, OROZCO, Pilsen

    Hyde Park
    79, 80, ARIEL, Hyde Park
    71, 82, SHOESMITH, Hyde Park
    69.5, 50, RAY, Hyde Park
    66, 78, HARTE, Hyde Park

    89.5, 59, DORE, Midway
    82, 90, GRIMES, Midway
    77.5, 88, TWAIN, Midway
    72, 78, HALE, Midway
    70, 67, KINZIE, Midway
    66, 98, COLUMBIA EXPLORERS, Midway
    60, 59, BYRNE, Midway
    76.5, 94, STEVENSON, Ashburn
    66.5, 88, ASHBURN, Ashburn

    Far South
    98.5, 23, MOUNT GREENWOOD, Mt. Greenwood
    92, 25, SUTHERLAND, Beverly
    88.5, 75, EARHART, Burnside / Calumet Heights
    87, 26, CASSELL, Merrionette Park
    86, 79, WASHINGTON, G, South Deering
    84.5, 47, KELLOGG, Beverly
    81.5, 96, SCHMID, Burnside / Calumet Heights
    80, 97, FERNWOOD, Roseland
    74.5, 95, CLAY, Hegewisch
    74, 97, WHISTLER, Morgan Park
    73, 95, HIGGINS, Morgan Park
    72.5, 71, GRISSOM, Hegewisch
    71.5, 42, CLISSOLD, Morgan Park
    67.5, 92, ADDAMS, South Deering
    67.5, 97, BROWN, R, West Pullman
    61, 87, KIPLING, Washington Heights
    59, 96, POWELL, South Shore

  • 498. TPick-NTA bound ?????  |  March 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

    O.K…. We visited NTA last night and I must admit, their program is extremely promising.

    Class size-27
    Lots of technology
    Two after school programs.
    Immaculate airy and bright facility
    Great location
    Lots of staff support

    Unfortunately, the neighborhood scores and the RGC scores aren’t divided so there is little transparency regarding the growth of the RGC students.

    What I did notice is that the RGC is way more diverse than the neighborhood component (I believe they are called the Achievers). They seemed to pride themselves on inclusion as far as the neighborhood students intermingling with the RGC students. We are by no means snooty but I noticed that my hubby was a little concerned. He said that he would prefer our daughter attend a school where all of the students were RGC. Please help us on this matter if your child attends NTA. I wonder if the other parents felt the same way.?????

    What I’ve noticed about my friends whose children attend Beasley is that they pride themselves on keeping the children SEPARATE and they don’t give a care about voicing their perspective!!!!!!!!!! Am I missing something here ? To be honest, as a Black woman, who resides in South Shore, I don’t care if my child ever intermingles with anyone from the hood as she can see the elements every time we go to Walgreens. I just want my child to be around like minded individuals with similar values and backgrounds. Sure, I know someone is going to chime in and say that I can’t assume that the children who are from low income homes …….

    All in all I’m thinking that they are trying to attract the siblings of students who tested into the RGC who may not qualify for an RGC slot and make those parents feel comfortable with enrolling their children in the neighborhood program. Everyone keeps saying that this school is a hidden Gem that people will be fighting to get into in a couple of years.

    Thought about throwing my name back in the pool and one of my friends asked me why…I had no answer.

    RGC 144 mind you (my daughter is 4)
    Math 91 Reading 99

    Accepted at Hawthorne(too far)/NTA


  • 499. 1moreSouthSider  |  March 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    @498 I won’t be much help in swaying you here, but please note Mr. Castelaz has been very clear in the past in stating that if you’re looking for an RGC that secludes the RGC students from the general population…then NTA is not the place for you.

  • 500. TPick-  |  March 27, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks @498 he did not say that last night, at least not verbatim actually he did not even insinuate that but I hear you loud and clear ! 🙂

  • 501. South Loop Mom  |  March 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    @TPick – So glad you went to the Open House. I get your concerns, but NTA’s RGC will never be a “school within a school”. It is inclusive and core to the NTA mission. My daughter likes the kids in all classes but there will be a mix of all kinds (kids and parents). We think she is getting a great education in the RGC and we plan to send our kids to the neighborhood program too. That said, you need to choose a school you like – no school experience (especially in CPS) will be perfect. There will always be things that make you pause. So, maybe you could go to the 4/13 Open House at 9:30 and see the vibe when school is in session to make your final decision on what’s best for your family. We love NTA yet, like all schools, “fit” is really important and it totally varies family to family.

  • 502. SouthSideIrish4  |  March 27, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    497. Test Scores | March 27, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Thank you for posting this. I truly believe you can’t go wrong by attending a school in the 19th ward. We’ve been very happy at ours.

  • 503. TPick-  |  March 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks @South Loop Mom, this is the feedback that I need!

  • 504. cps wonderland  |  March 27, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    @ TPick-NTA bound ????? | March 27, 2015 at 11:41 am
    “… RGC 144 mind you (my daughter is 4)
    Math 91 Reading 99…”

    I’m sorry, but I’m not sure if I understood correctly and I would appreciate an explanation.
    Are you saying that the 4 years old child got tested for gifted/classical schools?
    Thank you.

    p.s. Mark Sheridan is wonderful school.

  • 505. cps mom  |  March 27, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    @ 504 Most kids are tested when they are 4, unless they have a Sept, Oct or Nov. birthday. CPS takes age into account at the time of test.

  • 506. cps wonderland  |  March 27, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    @ TPick-NTA bound ?????
    @ cps mom

    I am still confused because I found contradicting information.
    “How old does my child have to be to start kindergarten next year?
    Your child must be five years old by September 1, 2015, in order to apply for kindergarten enrollment for the 2015-2016 school year. ”
    ( ).
    And, I don’t remember that any kind of testing is mandatory&administered on pre-k children before enrollment.
    Could you, please, explain? Thank you.

  • 507. T Pick,  |  March 27, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    @cpswonderland She is on the witlist for Sheridan at I think about 10. Its no big deal that she is 4 its just something I mentioned. I don’t think the percentile is normed I believe the RGC score may be normed.

  • 508. cps wonderland  |  March 27, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I am curious because my daughter is also 4 and she is considered pre-k-3 (she was born in mid September). I assume your child is born before 1st of the September if you were able to apply for kindergarten. Now when I think a little bit, it does make sense 🙂
    Thanks .

  • 509. T Pick,  |  March 27, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    @cps wonderland she will be 5 in June, I believe the cut off is the 1st of September.

  • 510. REE  |  March 28, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    My daughter is in Kindergarten at McDade Classical. The teachers are wonderful and the scores are off the chart. NWEA scores for kindergarten class are at the 2nd grade level. If you want a school that cares about academic excellence and nurtures each child, McDade should definitely be high on your list.

  • 511. jazzman  |  March 28, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    @ 510 REE you have the Mrs. Bouncy experience she is wonderful you will also like Mrs. Wallace-Jones as well.

  • 512. Meca  |  March 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    My son got into ASHBURN on the far south side. Are there any parents with a child that attends that school. Any Feedback would be helpful

  • 513. South Loop Mom  |  April 1, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    For anyone interested in National Teachers Academy (NTA), a good way to see what the school is up to/learn more about the vibe is to follow the Facebook Page. Also, search the hashtag #NTALearns on Twitter. They have “Twitter Tuesdays” and teach kids responsible social media engagement as part of the curriculum.!/NTACPS?fref=ts

  • 514. NTA Mom  |  April 1, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    There are two Facebook pages for NTA…one updated by the school and one updated by parents.

    National Teachers Academy CPS

    NTA Families (National Teachers Academy – Chicago CPS)

  • 515. South Loop Mom  |  April 12, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Reminder: NTA Open House tomorrow (Monday 4/13 @ 9:30am). 55 West Cermak. Parking onsite off of 23rd from State. Via public trans, take the Redline, Chinatown Stop or the Green Line Cermak Stop.

    The last two years there were second and third round offers, so it is worth checking out now.

  • 516. TPick  |  April 14, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    We visited the NTA morning Open House and we were quite impressed with the climate of the school during the actual school day. The students seemed happy and very well behaved. The lessons were engaging and pretty in depth. One of the first grade RGC classes were studying the different kinds of techniques that animals use to adapt to their surroundings. The students were not phased by our presence. We also visited the Art room which was quite vibrant. During swim class, there were four adults monitoring the students. I was glad that I was able to see how swim class is executed as I was a bit worried. The students also receive Piano lessons in small groups throughout the day. The building is super clean and the lunchroom was very orderly. I’ve been in lunch rooms that look like a jungle gym. All that being said, I feel comfortable with sending my child there. The RGC classes were diverse but the neighborhood classes not so much. A parent from the neighborhood expressed her concern about all of the attention being focused on the RGC. The staff reassured her that there is equity across the board (I totally believe this) but they knew that parents of the potential RGC kids had to make a decision by today. When I visited the open house in the evening, they did have parents there from the neighborhood (achievers) side.

  • 517. Fingers crossed  |  April 15, 2015 at 12:42 am


  • 518. onadinpi  |  April 16, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    Вы доставляете небезвыгодный кредит опричными по техпаспорту и/или поставке, голодающей металлоотходы. Выбирайте какой кредит пластичными больше заходит вам. Вы изгложете замутить предъявительский займ, не вдумываясь о радиодиалоге.

  • 519. Southside Tier 3 Mom  |  April 23, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Got s call from Ariel today. We were wait listed at #17. Will turn it down as we have already decided on McDade.

  • 520. NTA T  |  April 25, 2015 at 11:05 am

    NTA’s Open House is April 28 at 6:30 pm. Everyone is welcome!

  • 521. Mom2five  |  April 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Just want to say that this thread is awesome.. 2 1/2 years ago I knew nothing about the whole cps magnet and sees process.

    I just want to encourage those that did not get any offers or didn’t get the offer of your choice. I started this whole process in 2012. My son which is in Kindergarten now was entering pre-k. I just learned about the process in that year and was excited about the opportunity to send my son to a school out side of the neighborhood. The first year (pre-k apps only 3 schools) we received a call back during the following school year for Meyers (Lincoln park area) which we declined due to distance and new priorities on our plate. At that time we were living in the Englewood area. later that yr.. 2013 application was done for entrance into kindergarten. I put down mostly south side schools. I did however select a couple of bonus schools, these were schools that was not out south but we would strongly consider if he were offered a seat. Letter came in.. Beasley and Turner Drew..The rest… wait list. I accepted Beasley offer and waited for other offers to come in. Long story short..Calls started coming in.. end of May Pershing, Vanderpoel and a few others. We were going to go with Vanderpoel then i remembered my bonus schools..One was Andrew son was number 4 on the list. Gave them a call to see what number were they on and I was told 2 more calls in front of him. That following week we received a call offering him a seat for kindergarten. (My son had a already been expose to negative experiences at 3-4 years of age while in pre-k (bullying and teachers that were a little aggressive). This made him not really want to go to school. I let him attend a summer program Jackson offers to kg. The first day he came out with a big smile on his face and told me he really likes the school and the kids are really nice. I researched the school and knew it would be an excellent choice but seeing him and hearing him talk about the school for the next weeks to come let me know that I made the right decision. I have 2 other children that will attend this fall due to being a sibling. Yayy!! Now I’m learning so much about south-side schools. Not looking to transfer now but I have thought about it for the future..Still have to do more research.

    Thanks for this thread.. I will share with south side moms of toddlers.

  • 522. Mom2five  |  April 27, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Also, I have a son with an iep entering Kindergarten. He’s in a wheel chair and has CP. He’s very bright. He’s receiving speech, OT and PT. Any one knows of any good south side school with a great special needs program? ( other children goes to school on Harrison and Loomis) So that area would be fine as well. I live near 81st and Loomis.

    Thanks in advance!!

  • 523. Waitingforwonderwoman  |  May 13, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    New to this thread….would love to hear more about NTA from current families. We have just been accepted to the RGC K program and need to decide by Friday. I toured the school this week and was impressed with the facility and grounds. I did not get to see many students or faculty because it was a test day. I did see some happy kids in the swimming pool!

    We live 7 miles away and could go to a neighborhood magnet or do private. Pls share insights of the NTA school leadership, faculty, how parents volunteer, school safety, JCC program, strengths/weaknesses, etc. Your feedback is appreciated.
    Thank you in advance.

  • 524. 1moreSouthSider  |  May 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    @523 You should probably scroll up to see the past NTA posts on this page and the other SEES page. I can’t say enough great things about NTA! My experience with my K child has been extremely positive in the RGC program. Both the RGC and Achievers teachers differentiate learning such that your child is always challenged (not too much…but the right amount). I’ve had the opportunity to meet many teachers and kids from other grades too and have been impressed. Principal and Asst Principal are approachable and make themselves available at parent functions and meetings. Abundance of parent volunteer opportunities, both during school day and after hours. Tons of staff around to assist with recess, lunch, drop off, etc. Also, I have no concerns with school safety. We live about 3 miles away and the commute is nothing for us. I know others that live much closer and walk…and then some that live farther and have a worse commute but they make the best of the drive by turning that into reading and sight word time which cuts down on things that must be done once home. Check out the 2 FB pages to get a better idea of the whole school. There is one page managed by the school and one by families.

  • 525. traciiv18  |  May 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Check my altered contract

  • 526. SSide  |  May 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I wanted to list a few schools worth considering. Some have been mentioned, but I wanted to post them again. A lot of focus is on SEES, but not as much on fit. Every child is different.

    In no particular order:

    Dixon (Chatham)
    Earhart (Burnside/Calumet Heights)
    Oakdale Christian (Brainerd/Washington Heights)
    Council Oak Montessori (Morgan Park)
    Vanderpoel Magnet (Beverly)
    Harte (Hyde Park)

    As an alumna, I am also glad to see so much good news about Poe. 🙂

  • 527. michele  |  May 27, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Just wondering how everyone feels about the proposed international Charter that is pretty close to the successful Murray Language Academy school? Why not just replicate the success of Murray at this location – Murray 2 anyone?

  • 528. Megan  |  June 12, 2015 at 11:31 am

    We are moving to South Loop next week and are in the neighborhood boundaries for South Loop Elementary. Could anyone give an impression of the kindergarten there? We will only be there for one year because we are in the city for a temporary job.

  • 529. AC2  |  June 14, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Hello, I am in the Beverly area and considering Sutherland for my child entering the 4th grade. My child has an IEP and wonder if someone can tell me about support services, homework, and the academic rigor of the school. I would also like to join an FB group if there is one. Thank you.

  • 530. KCabral  |  June 16, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Received an offer from Armour for 1st grade a few minutes ago. We were #3 on the waitlist. Turned it down, will be attending Newberry.

  • 531. Kamera  |  June 19, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    It is not my first time to pay a visit this web site, i am visiting this site dailly and get nice data from here daily.

  • 532. South Loop Mom  |  July 14, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    New NTA parents, join the NTA Family Facebook Group to connect with other families and learn about meet ups!

  • 533. cpsobsessed  |  October 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

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  • 534. cpsobsessed  |  October 17, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    BUMP – here’s the South Side school thread with comments enable.

  • 535. KCabral  |  October 22, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    If anybody is interested in Galileo, I saw on their calendar they are having an Incoming Kindergarden Open house on Thursday, Nov. 5th from 9-10am.

  • 536. NTA  |  October 26, 2015 at 9:33 pm

    NTA’s Open Houses are incorrect on the OAE website. November 3rd and December 9th from 6:30-8:00 pm.

  • 537. Selena  |  October 27, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Can someone tell be more about Vanderpoel and Owens? I also have Dixon, Murray and Sheridan and Jackson on my list.

  • 538. Christine Kamberos  |  October 27, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    My son just started at Vanderpoel .When he started he said it’s much more difficult then the neighborhood school. It’s a magnet school so kids are bussed in. They have a new addmitton principle who is moving in the right direction. There very focused on academics and preparing the 7th& 8th grader.We’re very pleased so far.

  • 539. Selena  |  October 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you so much! What grade is he in?

  • 540. Chris k  |  October 28, 2015 at 11:16 am

    He’s in 2nd and finding a fit for him has been difficult.It was a difficult decision for us.He’s my oldest so we are new to this. He also attended NKO we loved it but it was to far.Have heard good things about Owen but it was a few years ago. Good luck!

  • 541. Selena  |  October 28, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Thank you and I hope this will be a great place for him. That is my concern making sure it is a good fit and good learning environment.

  • 542. South Loop Mom  |  January 11, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Can anyone weigh in on late round chances with either NTA RGC or Lenart RGC with a score of 127 – entering K? We are Tier 4, but by late rounds I understand tiers no longer matter. I assume a 127 is impossible in the first couple of rounds.

  • 543. Wow  |  January 12, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Last year, I believe that Tier 4 went down as low as 134 or 132 for NTA.

  • 544. South Loop Mom  |  January 12, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for the intel Wow! I’ll do a little rain dance for 127, 127, 127 this year. 🙂 You never know… My older child score much lower and is doing great in the program, so these scores all feel so arbitrary.

  • 545. Chris  |  January 13, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Does anyone know what kind of score are need to get a spot in 3rd at Keller or Lenart ? I realize chance are slim to none.

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  • 548. Selena King  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:44 am

    i have a question i really would like kershaw we are tier 4 and #1 is that likely?

  • 549. Tracey J  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I was wondering if there was any activity in this group. Glad to see that there is some activity.

  • 550. Bronzeville Mom  |  April 5, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Can any current/recent Murray parents comment on your thoughts about the school?

  • 551. CurlyMom  |  April 5, 2016 at 8:20 pm

    I’m a Murray mom with a 1st grader. So far the teachers and staff have been fantastic. The Principal and Assistant Principal are resourceful, responsive, and really striving for all grade levels to perform well. It appears that many kids test out for Academic Centers. There has been some transition with teachers. I’m anticipating more consistency with the upper grades next year. Ultimately, I will admit that your experience is will be determined on how involved you are as a parent. Being involved in the PTO is important!

  • 552. NKO?  |  May 19, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Does anyone have any firsthand or secondhand information on NKO? Saw a couple of favorable posts from last year. This is the U of C Charter school in Kenwood. Would be starting in Kindergarten.

  • 553. MurrayMom  |  May 20, 2016 at 10:04 am

    Secondhand information from very close family friends who had children there…good, solid school.

  • 554. NKO?  |  May 20, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Thank you Murray Mom!

  • 555. Beverly/Sutherland  |  June 8, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Can any current Sutherland elementary parent provide an update into how the school is going under the new principal? What do you like or not like about the school? What are the average class sizes? I have an incoming third grader and am considering a move to Beverly within the Sutherland elementary boundaries.

  • 556. Mommyof2:2011and 2015  |  June 15, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    My child just got a call in the second round for Lenart, score 130, Tier 3.

  • 557. 1stgrademum  |  June 30, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Are there any parents with information regarding south side SEES? I would love firsthand information about Poe, as I have accepted a 1st grade seat for the fall.

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  • 560. PreK4 Mom  |  August 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm


  • 561. cpsobsessed  |  August 18, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    FYI – NPN Southside PreK and Elem school fair Sept 10th.

  • 562. JustAnotherParentInTheKnow  |  August 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Beasley has a RGC…with a slew of classes from kindergarten to 8th grade. 98% of those whom complete go on to the SEES high schools. Does she know that judges and lawyers and police and city officials haventheir children at Beasley? As does the COD superintendent!

    Beasley has a swim team and band and debate and chess and boy scouts and etc.

  • 563. Poatrick  |  September 21, 2016 at 8:19 am

    Plese, can anyone help me to find spanish tutor for my kids? 12 and 15 years old, CA. I was truing, but no response for now….maybe any other servisec??? PLese, help!

  • 564. Carrie  |  May 4, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Does anyone have feedback on Ginger Lumpkin, former principal of Haines Elementary? She is a candidate for principal at my son’s school. Does anyone know why she left Haines?

  • 565. Loving Touch Transportation Services  |  July 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Hello Everyone! I hope you and the kiddos are enjoying the summer thus far:) I wanted to reach out and let you parents know that I have transportation spots available now for the summer and I am also taking spots for the upcoming school year. I take/pick up from extra-curricular activities, summer camp, school, etc. Do not hesitate to contact me for all your kid transportation needs.

    Ms. Mikki – Loving Touch Transportation Services

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