2016 SEES GIFTED and CLASSICAL Elem Thread

March 26, 2016 at 9:50 pm 1,320 comments


National Teachers Academy


Share scores, questions, and knowledge here about gifted and classical programs. And remember, the process takes some time to work through the lists.   Please post: School Score Tier.

Remember, the process takes some time to work through.  SEES go through multiple rounds so it may take a couple months for initial offers to go out.  Some families get spots the week before school starts or even that first week if you’re willing to make a move.

In addition, several schools (Bell, Beaubien, Keller) add classes at the 1st grade Level (as does Decatur every other year.)

Letters are due to mail out on Monday, March 28th.


Entry filed under: Applying to schools, Gifted / Classical Testing, Test scores.

High School Letters 2016 2016 NEIGHBORHOOD and MAGNET Elementary School Thread

1,320 Comments Add your own

  • 1. John Chandler  |  March 26, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    Is a letter mailed out even if we didn’t make it?

  • 2. robin in wrp  |  March 27, 2016 at 5:53 am

    Yes, everyone gets a letter. Read it carefully , though; We received a letter from Decatur that started with the word congratulations, but was a notification of being waitlisted

  • 3. CPS First Timer  |  March 27, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Regarding being waitlisted for a SEES: will every child who applies for a SEES school be placed on a waitlist if not accepted?

    If not, how many children are placed on a waitlist?

  • 4. Chicago School GPS  |  March 27, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Nice pic of NTA, CPSO! For anyone on the fence about a new program like NTA, a visit is worth more than words. We have some tour dates for schools listed on our calendar: http://www.chischoolgps.com/Calendar.php

    Good luck to everyone, and know that there really are a very limited number of seats in SEES with each school only having 28-30 spots in their incoming class (with limited exceptions like Skinner North and occasionally Decatur). BUT, that means the high performing kids are at all types of schools everywhere and is evidenced by the huge range of elementary schools represented at top high schools. There really is more than one path to an end!

  • 5. Cpsmom  |  March 27, 2016 at 8:53 am

    You are put on the waitlist if the score meets the minimum cutoff, which I believe is 115.

  • 6. CPS First Timer  |  March 27, 2016 at 9:22 am

    @cpsmom: Will the letter give you a waitlist number? Or is there a way to find out what number your child is on the waitlist? And I assume that waitlist number is their number in their specific tier, correct?

  • 7. Cpsmom  |  March 27, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Tiers only play into the first round. The waitlist goes off of scores only. I don’t think a number is on the letter for the waitlist, but you can call OAS and find out. I know people who have been told by OAS what number they are for which school.

  • 8. LVMOM  |  March 27, 2016 at 10:36 am


  • 9. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  March 27, 2016 at 12:12 pm


  • 10. Chandra  |  March 27, 2016 at 12:37 pm


  • 11. NTA Family  |  March 27, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Great pic of NTA! We’re an NTA family and love it. Amazing teachers and incredible facility. Good luck, everyone. This week is just the beginning. Things *will* work out in the end.

  • 12. cpsobsessed  |  March 27, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    The letters for SEES will not have a waitlist number like magnet/open enrollment schools do.

    As mentioned, OAE will work it’s way down the list and multiple kids could have the same score within a tier.

    That is the challenge… is they do not publish cutoffs or where they’re at on the list. Thus the benefit of sharing information with each other online as that has been the only way to track it at all.

    Even the principals are not told what their minimum entry scores are. It’s all handled centrally.

  • 13. IG  |  March 28, 2016 at 9:29 am

    So, anyone know if they got sent today as re-scheduled? Things are so bad for us that we are considering starting our own not for profit private school.

  • 14. 1MoreSouthSider  |  March 28, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Good luck everyone! The process seems stressful right now, but from my experience…it all works out in the end. (Love the NTA photo. Glad we’re finally getting some love on this blog)!

    “Proud NTA Parent”

  • 15. Non Entry Level  |  March 28, 2016 at 10:42 am

    CPS OAE’s website has an updated header that says “…letters for applicants to preK through eighth grade will be mailed to parents’ homes via U.S. mail today, March 28th.” That seems promising. Hopefully it was not autogenerated.

    Anyone getting emails?

  • 16. Mom60641  |  March 28, 2016 at 11:35 am


  • 17. 2nd time around  |  March 28, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Just spoke to OAE. Letters will be mailed out today and schools should be notified tomorrow morning. So nervous

  • 18. TPick  |  March 28, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Hey everyone… I’m an NTA’er as well. Yes, I drank the Kool-AID and it’s tasty. NTA is a great place for a child to grow ! It’s a hidden GEM and I can’t wait to see who will be joining us next year. Great pic !

  • 19. Cpsmom  |  March 28, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    I love all the NTA love out there! Super school!

  • 20. AE  |  March 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    To further explain the “waitlist” process for SEES — a child’s place in line is not fixed. As students reject offers, they are put back in the pool of waiting applicants based on score (pushing lower scoring students down the list). Likewise, a student who accepts an offer is removed from the waitlists of the other SEES schools to which they applied, moving kids up the list. It’s a moving target. In my experience, a call to OAE later in the process may give you a ballpark idea of where your child is on any given waitlist — but they are a bit vague.

    Also, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought tiers were used for the first 2-3 rounds of acceptances (not just the first) for entry years?? Am I remembering incorrectly?

  • 21. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 28, 2016 at 2:28 pm


  • 22. CPSParent  |  March 28, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Following thread

  • 23. MP  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Could you please comment on your experience with SN? Thank you in advance!

  • 24. readysetslow  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:23 pm


  • 25. readysetslow  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:24 pm


  • 26. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @MP. Are there specific aspects of skinner that you are wondering about? We are very happy with the environment in general at SN. It is extremely diverse and generally accepting of all types of kids and families. My DD is challenged appropriately and has like-minded peers. The curriculum choices they have made show a commitment to what is currently considered best practice and the teaching/admin staff seem reflective and responsive. While academics are strong there is also a constant emphasis on the social emotional development of the kids and they clearly value the feeling of community. Each year students must complete 4 projects (one for each quarter) and i have found them to be very thoughtful/meaningful projects as opposed to regurgitation of facts. For example in first grade my DD had to write her own book of her choice for the Language Arts project and then create an original and unique community for her social studies project. These are done completely at home and do require a fair amount of parent involvement at the early grades. What else would you like to know? Happy to answer specific questions.

  • 27. Nancy Wrinkle Molden  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:30 pm


  • 28. MP  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Thank you! Your input is very useful. Please only answer to the questions you are comfortable with.
    1. Do you mind sharing what were your child’s scores and during which round did they get the offer from school (providing they were accepted for Kindergarten)?
    2. What is the feel on two kindergarten teachers, would you recommend one versus the other?
    3. Do they provide appropriate challenges and homework for kids that are much higher academically? For example if child is several grade levels above most of the same age peers would teacher give them appropriate homework and curriculum or would they just stick to one-two years above policy?
    4. Do you feel that kids are safe at school and at the playground (I have a very clumsy child :))?
    5. Do you know of any kids that gave IEP and how they are doing?
    6. And lastly is there anything at school that you are not happy about?
    I hope you could help with some of the questions and I am sorry if any of the questions are too personal. I really appreciate any feedback you could give me.
    Thanking you very much again!

  • 29. Marketing Mom  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:45 pm


  • 30. Julia  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    @MP I am also a Skinner North Parent, I love the place, I second everything the SkinnerNorthParent wrote. My son got in off the waitlist in first grade, so I can’t help with 1. or 2.

    HW is totally reasonable, though the quarter projects are killing us (pedagogically and intellectually sounds as they are, as SkinnerNorthParent said). The place is completely safe and nurturing. My kid has an IEP, now a 504 plan, and they have phenomenal support for him. He’s thriving.

    The only thing I’m not happy about is how far away it is by bus, my kid spends an hour on the bus each way. It’ll be a really tough decision if our daughter gets in for K this fall, only for that reason.

  • 31. AK  |  March 28, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    From CPS OAE Website:

    Announcement Regarding Elementary Notification Letters

    Please note:

    Due to CPS’s budget situation requiring a furlough day last week, and the preparation required to ensure students are safe, fed and engaged during the one-day strike on April 1st, the elementary notification letters are delayed. All CPS elementary school selective enrollment, magnet, magnet cluster and open enrollment letters will be sent out from the main post office on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

  • 32. Tiredofwaiting  |  March 28, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    WHAT?! We have to wait longer now! They really need to post this information on-line in our account.

  • 33. punching myself  |  March 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm


    Not even in CPS yet, and already sick of it

  • 34. JennyM  |  March 28, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    Ugh! I have a 1st grader at Skinner North and waiting to see if my daughter gets in for K. This is killing me!!!

  • 35. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    My pleasure. I know how helpful it is to get information from current parents during this process. My answers are below:
    1. My DD had a 99 Math and 98 Reading (which is odd because she’s much stronger in reading – crazy CPS tests).
    2. I only really know Ms. Mulligan and she is fabulous and adored. Not sure that you really have much say over which teacher you get though – I’ve never tried to make a request.
    3. I think so. They have reading and math groups and they focus on different things when appropriate. Each kid has his/her appropriate spelling test for his/her level. My DD reads at a 7th grade level in 1st grade and she receives appropriate leveled reading in her reading group. I believe they start leveling math around 4th grade and reading is always easier to differentiate since it can be so individualized. I don’t think it’s uncommon for kids at SN to be more than 1-2 grade levels above and they are used to that. The quarter projects allow the child to really flourish in areas that interest him/her and your child can take it to whatever level works.
    4. I feel that my child is safe at school and security is tight.
    5. I don’t personally know about the support for kids with IEPs, but there definitely are a fair amount of kids on learning support caseload and they seem to accommodate well.
    6. Distance is also not ideal for us but my DD takes the bus home and gets home very quickly – she’s back by 3:55 or so and school gets out at 3:30. The only things we don’t like about SN would be true at any CPS school – large class size, minimal parent teacher conference time/minimal reporting (but you can always contact the teacher whenever you want more info) and general CPS bureaucracy.

  • 36. Ugh  |  March 28, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    I am beyond annoyed. OAE has the digital versions of the list that are emailed to Principals after the letters are officially sent out. I see no reason why they can’t send them ASAP so families can start making decisions.

  • 37. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2016 at 6:43 pm


    CPSObsessing.. now as iconic as the El, the Cubs, and Navy Pier. 🙂

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  March 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    @AK…. oh no!
    Thank you for monitoring OAE and posting the news.
    Very frustrating.

  • 39. Southloopmom  |  March 28, 2016 at 8:33 pm


  • 40. LSmom  |  March 28, 2016 at 9:41 pm


  • 41. MP  |  March 28, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you so much for your feedback! It means so much to hear about your experience at the SN. Fingers crossed for all of our little ones!

  • 42. Maria  |  March 29, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Good luck to everyone today as we all look through our mail to find that letter!!!!

  • 43. AK  |  March 29, 2016 at 7:59 am

    No one will be getting letters today, since they aren’t being mailed until tomorrow. ;/

  • 44. WaitingGame  |  March 29, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Gearing up to wait with the rest of you

  • 45. wsm  |  March 29, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Ha,I don’t even have a kid in this game, and I’m feeling impatient.

  • 46. Sandra  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:00 am


  • 47. Downtown fam  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Our child (applying to Skinner North for K) had a 99.5 reading, and a 99 for math. Tier 4. Hoping to get in this week but let’s see. My question to current Skinner North Parents is how you would compare SN to the Chicago Private Schools (Latin, Parker, Lab etc.) Do you feel that the SN experience is preferable even if tuition cost was not a factor? I know this is a hypothetical but our kid is in private Pre-K now and they are very big on this whole “play based” education and our child is quite bored. However, I feel that there is a lot of pressure on us to not pull out of the Private school from other parents. Any thoughts would be helpful.

  • 48. Tim  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:10 am


  • 49. KCabral  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:22 am


  • 50. Julia  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:25 am

    @Downtown fam: I think it depends on how much you value diversity in your kid’s educational experience and in his peer group. SN is noticeably less ethnically diverse than other non-SEES. But socio-economically, it’s way more diverse than the private schools you listed. I can’t comment on curriculum, since I’m not familiar with the curriculum of the schools you mentioned.

    As for pressure from other parents, if they’re spending ~$20k a year in tuition for primary school for each kid, hearing a reasonable family say that you’re considering a different path that seems great is a threat to their certainty. Everyone’s trying to do the best they can, but nobody really knows what they’re doing, so your consideration of a different way may scare them. Hence the pressure to stop doing that, and let them stay certain their $20k is buying the best education!

  • 51. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:32 am

    @Downtown fam
    This is an interesting question and might be challenging to answer as it depends on what your family values and wants out of a school. I have worked in private schools for the past 15 years so have some perspective and will try to share my thoughts. I don’t think there is an easy answer as to how they compare as each private school is so different and there are various aspects of what makes up a school. I would say that SN is definitely not play based and very academic/structured. For some kids that is a great fit and for others not as much. That being said, it is not a pressure cooker type environment at all and I felt that some of the other SEES were when I toured. The class sizes are much bigger at SN than in a private school and, as I stated earlier, the teacher reporting (report cards) and conferencing is not nearly as extensive as you will get in a private school. Coming from a private school educator background, I do feel that SN academics and dedication to best practice parallels many of the big independent schools. I also find the diversity of SN unparalleled and a huge bonus for our family. The physical facilities at SN definitely pale in comparison to the independent schools you mentioned (I have been to all of them). Additionally the independent schools have more resources for fancy items like 3D printers (although I know Edison has one) and higher end technology. You also might find less special programming at a CPS school – for example I know Parker has an amazing theater program whereas SN has an after school drama class, but no school musical or play (yet at least – a lot of the middle school activities are still developing since the middle school is relatively new). After spending many years in private schools I feel like you’re really paying for class size and higher end facilities/resources, but the quality of the actual academic instruction/curriculum is not guaranteed to be superior just because it’s a tuition-based program. You do need to think about the difference between your child being in a more general classroom vs. surrounded by peers who might all be somewhat academically advanced as they are at SN. what is a better fit for your child in the long run? That’s really a personal and family-based decision since you know your child best.

    Not sure I really answered any of your questions or was particularly coherent – might help if you pose specific questions that I can answer when you’re trying to compare SN to your specific independent school. Good luck – I know these are hard decisions but a great dilemma to have!

  • 52. BuenaDad  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:59 am


  • 53. Downtown fam  |  March 29, 2016 at 10:11 am

    @SkinnerNorthParent and @Julia, thanks for the fast responses! Very helpful.

    I will make my questions more specific. Our Chicago private school goes from Pre-K through 12th grade, has truly amazing facilities, and small classes. The school leaders constantly preach that education is “not a sprint, it’s a marathon.” They know our child is advanced academically, but their advice is to just deal with the play-based approach for the first few years, and by around 2nd grade they will start to differentiate the kids based on academic level. They assure us that eventually the school will be quite rigorous (which I know to be true).

    Regarding values, this is my bigger hangup. I feel that admission to our private school is (to some extent) focused on the socio-economic status of the other families, while SN is obviously just about the kids ability (which I value greatly.) I also feel it has to be good for smart kids to be around other smart kids. There are (3rd hand/unconfirmed) rumors about my private school regarding wealth entitlement in the upper grades, and kids getting into drugs etc. Given that our family is somewhat wealthy, I want my children to learn how to work hard, and at the same time I want them to be normal kids that are goofy and silly as all kids are. I feel that SN will expose them to a wonderful, diverse set of kids from all over Chicago.

    My spouses main concerns with SN are 1) the rumors about a pressure cooker environment (I happily note that you guys don’t feel this), 2) the fear that they are obsessively “teaching to the test” and possibly denying other artistic/intangible aspects of a liberal arts education, 3) class size, 4) safety of neighborhood, 5) time parents have to be involved with kids homework (I noted your comments above on the quarterly projects, beyond this we saw the current 4th grade website at SN that posted the curriculum publicly, and it seemed heavy), and 6) uncertainty about the geographic spread of other families, i.e. we live in Gold Coast and wondering if we are going to be driving our child all over the city to attend birthday parties etc.

    If you guys can opine further on any of the above would be wonderful.

  • 54. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 29, 2016 at 11:14 am

    @Downtown fam
    Do you want to put your email on here and we can write you directly? Might be easier.

  • 55. ppMom  |  March 29, 2016 at 11:16 am

    53: everything you’re worrying about is pretty much true, stay where you are if you can

  • 56. karet  |  March 29, 2016 at 11:24 am

    @53, It sounds like your kid is not challenged at your current school. SN might be an excellent fit for you. My kid is in 4th grade and has been at SN since K. Here are my responses to your spouse’s concerns.

    1. It’s not a pressure cooker environment at all.
    2. We haven’t noticed much , if any, “teaching to the test.”
    3. Class size starts at 30, then goes up to 32 in upper grades. The teachers are very good at handling the kids, splitting them into smaller groups, and so on.
    4. The neighborhood is safe. It’s down the street from the British School, near the Whole Foods, etc. The area has totally changed from what it was 8 – 10 yrs ago. We have zero concerns.
    5. The quarterly projects are mostly fun (last quarter’s science project was to make an invention!), and the daily homework is not heavy, approx 20-30 minutes a day (this has been consistent for us, all the way up to 4th grade).
    6. You do end up driving around a little bit to parties / friends’ houses. It’s not hard to manage though. We think it’s fun to have friends in parts of the city we wouldn’t normally visit.

    A few other things:
    -The principal is outstanding. A great communicator and leader.
    -You’ll find both economic and racial diversity, which I think is very positive. It is an open and accepting environment.

    I suggest that you visit the school before you decide. There will be an open house for families who are accepted. You can ask any other questions you have and get a feel for the building. I will tell you, it’s not particularly fancy, but the school has really positive energy.

  • 57. SNMommy  |  March 29, 2016 at 11:26 am

    @47/53. I will try to address some of your questions about Skinner North from my perspective. I am sure some other parents would like to learn more, too, so this is LONG (Sorry). Keep in mind, every family is different–your mileage may vary.

    1) My child has been at SN for five years now and we have another kid who was in a RGC and now is in an AC. By FAR, I would say that SN is less pressure-cooker than the other schools our family has experienced.

    Homework is VERY manageable at SN. In the early grades, the kids bring home a weekly homework packet that they are encouraged to tackle nightly, so that the material is fresh, but it allows your kid to be a kid and have after school lives, to put off an assignment if need be. My kid can get his homework done in 20 minutes each night. Quarterly projects are big, but the whole school does them at the same time and they are broken into bite-sized pieces, with several check-ins along the way. (The current history fair project had about 5 check-in spots in the past 8 weeks.)

    I do not even feel that the kids are overly competitive with one another. Through their wonderful social-emotional focus (Responsive Classroom), the school emphasizes collaboration, kindness, etc. My kid is more likely to comment on what his classmates do well, instead of negative or competitive stuff.

    2) The SN administration and teachers have never struck me as big on “teaching to the test.” In fact, aside from reminding us all to have our kids get a good night’s sleep and eat a solid breakfast, we parents do not hear overmuch about the standardized tests. Since it opened its doors, the school has used Common Core curriculum, which DOES help kids get into the “explain your answers/essay” frame of mind that seems to be valued on this generation of standardized tests. Naturally, it is in the school’s best interest that the kids do well, but it is definitely not to the exclusion of having a well-rounded education. They do not EVER brag about the school’s scores, even though they have been excellent to date.

    3) There are a lot of families that had their SN child or another sibling in private school and moved them to SN, so I have heard feedback from them that I can share with you. One thing that always comes up is class sizes. $20,000+ a year will definitely buy you a better ratio for your kid’s class than a CPS school. It has not been an issue for my family. The incredible SN teachers have been amazing at redirecting kids who need to be redirected, giving each kid attention, etc. That extra tuition money can buy bells and whistles like one-to-one Chromebooks or whatever. But a good education starts and ends with quality teachers, not bells and whistles. Skinner has some of the best teachers I have ever seen, people who really connect with and care about the students. A Chromebook in every child’s hand does not impress me nearly as much.

    4) I feel safe in the neighborhood. It’s Chicago, though, so you should do commonsense things. The area is becoming so developed that, right or wrong, it’s almost unrecognizable as the Cabrini Green neighborhood. Whole Foods, I-Fly, New City, expensive homes, etc. The 40-year old bullet holes in the fire department’s wall across the street are the only reminder for me. Right now the neighborhood is Tier 2, even the nice condo buildings north of the school. I bet that in 5 years, after the new Census, it will be Tier 4.

    5) We do NOT have to micromanage our child’s work at SN. We DO have to help keep the kid on task for big projects, reminding him for example that “Easter is Sunday, so we will not be home at all for you to finish your paper, you will need to work on it Friday and Saturday.” I think that’s pretty normal.

    6) Yep. By nature of their admissions process, ANY of the SEES schools are going to get you moving around the city for birthday parties and playdates, as needed. It has never been a hassle for our family, though. I would be surprised if that were not the case with many of the private schools, either. We all just carpool or meet up at halfway points or arrange sleepovers. Many of our kids participate in after school activities at school so they get to have some extra time with their school friends.

    Other thoughts:

    Given the tier system used in admissions, it’s no surprise that Skinner North is very diverse. There is even a school committee that is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating our community’s diversity. My child has friends with just about every background and I would not have it any other way.

    As far as money goes, no one really seems to notice much at SN. Kids all dress like normal kids: jeans, sweats, t-shirts. We do have some VERY affluent families here but you probably cannot guess who is plotting their latest cruise or who is stretching their SNAP program dollars. There is no minimum to what a family HAS to give to the PTO, or even any recommendations, like some schools have. People just do what they can, whether it’s volunteering time or giving money–either is truly perceived as incredibly valuable by our community.

    And, not to be a negative person, but money comes and goes. A family may be affluent NOW, but illness, divorce and economic downturns happen. For some reason, a family might not have the money to complete their child’s private school education (at say, $250,000+ per child) and they may have to go into the public school system. It’s a lot harder to get a SEES seat in a non-entry year later, like 2nd grade or 6th grade.

    My advice? If nothing we’ve said here or nothing you see at your personal visit to the school deters you, then take a SN seat if it’s offered and try it for a year. You can always find a private school later if it does not suit you or your child. That’s what my family did, and we are still here! 🙂

    Best of luck to you all!

  • 58. follower  |  March 29, 2016 at 12:20 pm


  • 59. MP  |  March 29, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    @SkinnerNorthParent, @Julia and @JennyM
    It looks like three of you already have kids in SN.. I can not even imaging how hard it is to see if your second one gets in too so that you can have then both at the same place. I was wondering if you got notified by email from SN of your kids’ acceptance in the past years or did you need to wait for the letter from CPS? I heard some rumors about SN emailing families before letters arrived but not sure if that is the case. Thank you!

  • 60. Julia  |  March 29, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    @MP Honestly, I’m torn about my 2nd kid going to SN just because we live on the north side and it would mean she spends so much time on the bus that her after-school activities and opportunities will be far fewer. I love SN but I also have come to learn that there are some great schools in closer neighborhoods, so if she doesn’t get in it’ll be fine. Anyway, we also have a 3rd kid so this craziness will have another round in a few years anyway.

    Our son got in off the waiting list right after the last teachers’ strike so it was all chaotic and we had like 24 hours to decide. So I can’t help you with the standard communication practice from SN.

    @Downtown Fam, I second everything the other SN parents have said. We have a 4th grader there, too.

  • 61. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 29, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Two years ago SN sent emails to accepted kindergarten families but last year they did not get the list prior to CPS sending out acceptances. I had heard that CPS did that on purpose because others complained that SN sent out emails while none of the other schools did. I would guess that they won’t be sending emails this year.

  • 62. Downtown fam  |  March 29, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    Thank you all, it’s apparent that those of you with kids at SN who have written about my questions are exactly the kind of involved parents we’d want our child’s friends to have. The school really seems great and hope we get in. Hope I am not hijacking this thread, but while the iron is hot I have a couple other questions:

    1. I have seen the ‘Friends of SN” page on FB and it looks like a very involved group of parents who raise $. Do most parents participate? I met Ethan N (principal) and he told me that recently this group helped bridge the gap with CPS cuts.

    2. Do many of the students have private tutors outside of SN? We’ve heard that this is common but not sure what to believe and what is gossip.

    3. Regarding class size, related to #1, if a classroom’s parents got together and pitched in collectively to raise $ for (say) an assistant who could help the teacher out for a year, would you think the teachers would even want something like this? By saving 30K/year in tuition at our private school I would love to put some of that $ back into SN if our child loved the school and it could help. Where would you think extra dollars could help the school most?

    4. Generally speaking, how much of an existential threat do SN parents see CPS with all of the strikes, walkouts, budget issues etc? My husband has a good friend on the board of CPS who paints a rather dire picture of what may happen in coming years.

    5. Regarding high schools, do most parents at SN foresee going to great CPS schools like Payton, Young, Northside etc., or would some consider privates like Latin, Lab etc?

    Thank you all again!

  • 63. Mochamom  |  March 29, 2016 at 1:45 pm


  • 64. SNMommy  |  March 29, 2016 at 1:59 pm


    1. Not sure about how many parents actually donate money, but it’s a robust group, but certainly NOT all, nor is it expected. Yes, our PTO covered the cost for math and science curriculum that the school could not purchase due to the budget cuts.

    2. Not sure about tutoring. My kid has not had tutoring. I do know of a couple who have always done Kumon so they kept their child in it until they aged out. Not the same as a “OMG my kid is failing” kind of private tutor, though.

    3. The PTO has the money to hire assistants. The school just does not do it for practical (the fundraising would tax even the most beneficent of us all) and philosophical reasons (hiring and firing an aide based on funding levels is rough). Parents can and do volunteer in classrooms to help out as needed. It works.

    4. Yep, things are dire in CPS-land, all right. And it will get worse before it gets better. I have just a few years until graduation, so I am not too worried. If CPS falls apart or is privatized, we will have bigger, shared problems to deal with. For now, my money’s on the bright, caring folks at Skinner North who always find a way.

    5. I think most parents at SN are hoping for SEHS placement, like Lane, NS, Jones, WY, etc.. Those who do not get their child in will go to their neighborhood school or private.

  • 65. Tone  |  March 29, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    4. Generally speaking, how much of an existential threat do SN parents see CPS with all of the strikes, walkouts, budget issues etc? My husband has a good friend on the board of CPS who paints a rather dire picture of what may happen in coming years.

    Your husband has access to someone who knows more than most. All one needs to do is look at CPS financial statement. The system is insolvent. There are no real good options to fix the system. The state is broke, so no money there. Chicago taxpayers are not looking for another massive tax increase. Cuts will have to be drastic.

  • 66. Heather Silver  |  March 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm


  • 67. MomofE  |  March 29, 2016 at 2:28 pm


  • 68. T2ppl  |  March 29, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    So we just moved into Tier 2 from Tier 3, applying now. I am interested to see if current SN parents notice any material difference in the students incoming aptitude based Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. I know T4 requires the toughest to get into but do you see this reflected in the classrooms? And does it pose any issues? My DD is an introvert and scored well; if she gets in I’d hope that she can “hang” with the other kids who may have scored higher than her. ANyone willing to take on this sorta politically charged question? :-p

  • 69. Julia  |  March 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    @ T2ppl I haven’t noticed any differences at all.

    @ Downtown Fam: 1. FOSN is great and low-pressure. 2. I’ve never heard of anyone having tutors in my son’s cohort. 4. SNMommy answered that way more diplomatically than I could, can I just second her?

  • 70. Learning CPS  |  March 29, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    @68 The only reason your question would be “charged” is that anyone answering is basing their answers on assumptions about the kids and their economic/tier status.

    We aren’t at SN, but are at Decatur and unless SN is different I’m not sure how a parent would ever know what tier another student is in unless you researched that family, where they live, etc. You also won’t have any clue what kids had higher/lower or the same scores as your child unless you ask the parents. That is not a conversation that has come up with a single parent that I have talked to in my 3 years at Decatur, so again unless SN is different and somehow publishes that information, I’m not sure how many parents actually could answer your question.

  • 71. T2ppl  |  March 29, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    @69@70, glad to hear.

    Also regarding “diversity” we are Korean family, what would you estimate the ethnic makeup of SN is between caucasian, Asian, African-American, Hispanic, Indian etc? And have you seen this ethnic split remain consistent since you have been in SN? thank u

  • 72. Skinner North Mama  |  March 29, 2016 at 5:31 pm

    Unless you’re a teacher at a SEES, it would be difficult for an average parent to know that difference between students from lower versus higher tiers. Skinner North’s upper grades tend to be less diverse while the younger grades seem to be have more of an Asian population.

  • 73. Skinner North Mama  |  March 29, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Edited to say:

    Unless you’re a teacher at a SEES, it would be difficult to know that difference between students from lower versus higher tiers. Skinner North’s upper grades tend to be less diverse while the younger grades seem to be have more of an Asian population.

  • 74. Another SN parent  |  March 29, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    My child has been at Skinner North since it opened its doors in 2009. She entered as a second grader and will be graduating in the Spring as an eighth grader. We’ve seen the school grow and come to its own, as has the neighborhood surrounding it(they were just knocking down the housing projects when my child started going there). I can tell you that her class lost about 40%+ of its students to ACs for 7th grade. So for 7th and 8th grade the class sizes tend to be smaller. Although I feel that the middle school program needs to be more developed and that more after-school activities were geared toward middle schoolers, overall we have been very happy with our experience for the past 7 years at SN. My understanding is that 80%+ of the 8th graders will be attending a selsective enrollment high school in the Fall and the remaining students are going to private high schools.

  • 75. B  |  March 29, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the great information on SN. We have some questions about Decatur that hopefully people can shed some light on.

    1. On the Decatur website, it talks about something called the “trivium model,” claiming that their curriculum is based on this model. It’s something about focusing on memorizing facts in the early grades before having students learn to analyze those facts in later grades? Can anyone comment on whether they actually seem to use this model, and if so, what does that look like in practice? Decatur seems to be the only classical school that claims to use it.

    2. What does differentiation look like at the kindergarten level? Specifically, how do they handle students who come in more than two grade levels ahead in either reading or math? Do they ever send students to other classrooms for individual subjects?

    3. It was mentioned that SN will have an open house for admitted students. Will Decatur have something similar?


  • 76. Learning CPS  |  March 29, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    @75 I can answer some of your questions. K-2 does a lot of memorizing – math time tests, spelling tests, etc. In Latin they are learning basics. That said, even in K you have at least one project or presentation assignment. 2nd grade just finished their “famous women of history” project and 1st grade just finished their “inventor fair” where the kids have to actually research and present on their subject. So it’s not just memorizing, however in the later grades their is more application and build. We are only in 2nd so I can only give that information based on the projects and activities that I know the upper grades do.

    In K, they do have kids in slightly different reading groups but there really isn’t a lot of differentiation beyond that and they do not send kids to other grades for work. The good news is that since most of the kids are at a high level, not as much differentiation is needed as in a neighborhood school. The bad news I knew parents who have been frustrated by that; we have not been.

    Decatur does one tour for accepted families after the first round of offers comes out. I think it was a few weeks after we got our letter, if I remember correctly, and I was given the information maybe a week after the letter.

    Hope that helps…feel free to post more Decatur questions. I remember scouring these boards when we were in this position a few years ago so happy to help with any questions!

  • 77. Mom  |  March 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    My daughter is currently a student in Skinner West skinner West is a very bright school. Although there is a neighborhood program, the classical program is excellent. My daughter is the classical class and has been there since the school opened. You learn above grade level and your peers are at your level. It is extremely safe and near Whitby Young.
    Some advantages you have if you go to Skinner West is:
    If you have siblings who go to Whitney Young, Skinner west is only like a block away
    The homework is reasonable
    The teachers are encouraging
    You learn above grade level
    Most students exceed in tests
    Very safe environment
    Excellent learning opportunities

    My daughter is pleased with this school. She is extremely bright and I recommend this school.

  • 78. @71T2ppl  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Each new grade at SN has more dominantly Caucasian and Asian children. Fewer Hispanic and fewer African American children.

  • 79. karet  |  March 29, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    The CPS website has information about demographics at each school. They report that SN is:

    29.9% Asian
    14.2% Black
    10.8% Hispanic
    38.3% White
    6.8% Other

    You can find the same information about any CPS school:

  • 80. KIndergarten Newbie  |  March 29, 2016 at 11:02 pm


  • 81. John Chandler  |  March 30, 2016 at 5:03 am

    New CPS parents here. Love the blog. Can anyone explain what are tiers? Will it say in the letter which tier we belong to?

  • 82. Jen K  |  March 30, 2016 at 8:01 am

    @81 explanation on tiers from cpsoae.


  • 83. mochamom  |  March 30, 2016 at 8:28 am

    @81, the simple version of tiers – It is a number between 1-4 that is based on where you live. If you go to the cps school locator you can put your address in and it will tell you what tier you belong to

    The higher the Tier, the more competitive the selection process for your kid. This is the really simple version but the website above will outline the complex tier thing more clearly

  • 84. LSmom  |  March 30, 2016 at 8:36 am

    @81, also, your letter will say what tier you belong to, or you can look it up here: http://cpstiers.opencityapps.org/

  • 85. Not My First Rodeo  |  March 30, 2016 at 9:25 am

    So letters should come this afternoon? Is anyone getting e-mails? In the past some schools (I believe Skinner North is one) have sent e-mails in the morning to admitted families, but I don’t know whether CPS shut that down.

  • 86. ig  |  March 30, 2016 at 9:26 am

    so, was the same department that is sending out letters to parents involved in the planning of the furlough day? yeah, right. I tipped off papers on Monday. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160329/downtown/cps-selective-enrollment-elementary-magnet-letters-now-going-out-wednesday. CPS is so irresponsible and broken, how many parents are waiting and they blow their own deadline twice.

  • 87. Not My First Rodeo  |  March 30, 2016 at 9:32 am

    If that DNAInfo article is right, then CPS can’t even write an accurate description of what they’re doing. They put on their website that “All CPS elementary school selective enrollment, magnet, magnet cluster and open enrollment letters will be sent out from the main post office today, March 30, 2016.” The “from the main post office” suggested, at least to me, that the post office is delivering the letters today. But DNAInfo makes it sound like the letters are leaving CPS today.

  • 88. 2nd time around  |  March 30, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Can anyone comment on RGC scores that gained entry for Bell last year? By Tier?

  • 89. Not My First Rodeo  |  March 30, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I just spoke with OAE, and they confirmed that they are sending out the letters today from their office – the are not being delivered today from the post office.

  • 90. SNMommy  |  March 30, 2016 at 10:05 am

    @68 T2pp
    Q: So we just moved into Tier 2 from Tier 3, applying now. I am interested to see if current SN parents notice any material difference in the students incoming aptitude based Tier 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. I know T4 requires the toughest to get into but do you see this reflected in the classrooms? And does it pose any issues? My DD is an introvert and scored well; if she gets in I’d hope that she can “hang” with the other kids who may have scored higher than her. ANyone willing to take on this sorta politically charged question? :-p

    A: Nope. Interesting question, though. A teacher or administrator would most likely have a different answer. But as a parent, I see no difference in Tiers among students in grades, clothing, behavior, parents, etc. We do not know anyone’s tier and we don’t seem to care. No one talks about that or entry scores. All of the kids are bright in different ways (verbal, math, artistic, communication, computers, etc.). It would be good to hang out with all of them! If my kid likes them and they like my kid, we do a playdate or go to the birthday party. 🙂

  • 91. 2nd time around  |  March 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

    @89 That’s annoying! The website states that they will be sending them from the post office today.

  • 92. MP  |  March 30, 2016 at 10:26 am

    While we are all anxiously waiting for the letters to be mailed/received could anyone who has a Kindergartner in Skinner North describe how does a typical school day look like?
    Thank you as always!

  • 93. SNMommy  |  March 30, 2016 at 10:58 am

    For those who are offered a seat at Skinner North for this fall, there will be an open house on Wednesday April 6, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. You will hear from teachers, parents and administrators and then take a brief tour of the building, ending up in the kindergarten classrooms where you can see what it looks like and speak to the teachers.

  • 94. Downtown fam  |  March 30, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Second the question @92, love to hear about a typical day.

    And another question about SN community: Besides the annual gala that SN does for fundraising, are there organized social events for parents to get together, or is this just done ad-hoc between groups of people?

  • 95. SNMommy  |  March 30, 2016 at 11:46 am

    @92 and 94.

    Kindergarten: My child is a bit older, but the program is, I believe, very similar today as it was then. They use Responsive Classroom, so Google that for philosophy, etc. Generally, it is a teaching approach that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic
    growth in a strong and safe school community. It freaking works!

    Each day starts with the children in the cafeteria. They are brought to their classrooms by their teachers. They put away their belongings and have a Morning Meeting where they share their schedule and goals for the day. Some songs, fun stories are shared, etc. They have their core academic subjects in their classroom and move into specials rooms for PE, music, art and Spanish (PE is daily, others occur throughout the week).

    They do a lot of moving around the classroom, working on their Daily 5 (read to self, read to someone, writing, listen to someone, word work), doing math, etc. This is good for young, fidgety bodies.
    They have outdoor recess when the weather is decent.

    The parent handbook will give you some good info: http://www.skinnernorth.org/uploads/4/1/0/1/41014239/parent_handbook_2015-2016.pdf

    Social Events: The PTO runs a lot of free social events, from Family Game Night to a Back to School Picnic to Parent/Teacher Coffees a few times a year. Various classes do seem to arrange their own fun outings, from kid outings like Jump Zone or adult nights out at restaurants, bars and homes. To see a sample of PTO events, scroll through the Friends of Skinner North Facebook page.

  • 96. cps parent  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    @88 My child got into Bell for 1st grade with a 134 we are in tier 4. The score is out of 150 for 1st grade rather than 160 for K. Let me know if you have any other questions. I am waiting for a K letter for my youngest. This is torture!!

  • 97. ET81  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:06 pm


  • 98. Jaysmom  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Does anyone know what scores are needed for Lenart?

  • 99. OoftA  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm


  • 100. Flowingcity  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    First timer.
    Glad to find this website.

  • 101. Beaubien scores?  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Can anyone share, what score got their Tier 4 child into Beaubien’s 1st grade last year? I wonder what the lowest scores were.
    Also, anyone with a children at Beaubien and Bell? Can you share pros and cons of both? Thank you very much.

  • 102. 2ndtimearound  |  March 30, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    My friend’s child got into 1st with a score of 119 2 years ago.

  • 103. Non Entry Level  |  March 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    If you are looking for scores from last year, here is last year’s thread:


  • 104. Soodeh  |  March 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    “Proud NTA Parent”

  • 105. NWside  |  March 30, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Mail was just delivered. No letters from CPS today. Guess we have to wait another day. Dang.

  • 106. Nichole Renée  |  March 30, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    I have my email already drafted and ready to send. What a bunch of opportunists. Since all the original dates for distribution have been intentionally pushed back, will the date for decisions get pushed back also?

  • 107. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    @103, thank you for posting 🙂

  • 108. CPS parent  |  March 30, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    My daughter got into Beaubien with a 125 for 1st grade. We really liked the program and felt that it was a hidden gem when we toured – I preferred it to Bell’s tour. We ended up passing up the offer for family reasons. Good luck!

  • 109. CPS Parent  |  March 30, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Oh and for Beaubien 125 we’re tier 4

  • 110. T2ppl  |  March 30, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Wow based on @103’s data from last year, Tier 4 applicants to SN pretty much need > 99.6 on both reading and math to have a shot in the first round. Lots of double 99’s with no offers!

  • 111. Follower  |  March 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm


  • 112. katbuitron  |  March 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    Letters erre put on the Mail after 1pm today.
    Good luck everyone!!

  • 113. KIndergarten Newbie  |  March 30, 2016 at 4:15 pm

  • 114. JennyM  |  March 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Has anyone received an email from Skinner North yet?

  • 115. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 30, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    I wouldn’t expect an email from Skinner North this year because last year they did not send one as CPS did not provide them with the list until later – I had heard that CPS did not like that SN sent emails so they put an end to it, but that might just be a rumor. The emails seem to be so much more efficient and make perfect sense so everyone finds out at the same time unlike the mail system. Go figure that CPS wouldn’t like a system that actually makes perfect sense.

  • 116. John Chandler  |  March 30, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    @83 & @84 – thank you.

  • 117. B  |  March 30, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    @76 Thanks for the information – that is helpful.

  • 118. Random Mom  |  March 30, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I think someone has told me that each selective elementary/high school will offer 30% top scorers a seat first. The remaining 70% will be divided up into 4 tiers, which means 17.5% each. If tier 4 needs a >99 on both reading and math to get into Skinner North, which means that there should be a significant % of Tier 4 kids are in the top 30% of top scorers, Right? Therefore, there could be over 30% of tier 4 in each top SEES/HS. Just a thought.

  • 119. City Mom  |  March 30, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Our child scored a 127. We won’t get in first round, but any luck with this score in later RGC rounds based on 2015? Entering K.

  • 120. Waiting  |  March 31, 2016 at 6:40 am

    @119 It depends on what Tier you live in. I believe Tier 4 went as low as 134 for NTA last year.

  • 121. SNMommy  |  March 31, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Attn interested Skinner North families: I just spoke with the SN principal and he said he will be able to send out emails to accepted families on Friday afternoon, after 1:00 p.m. So, fellow obsessers, I interpret that to mean, please stop calling or emailing the school to ask about acceptances today and tomorrow. 🙂

  • 122. Jaysmom  |  March 31, 2016 at 7:59 am

    My friend at the post office in 60631 said that letters are there and will be delivered today, so I assume everyone will receive letters today.

  • 123. SouthsideMom  |  March 31, 2016 at 8:48 am

    Does anyone know the cutoff scores for Keller 1st grade? We’re Tier 4.

  • 124. 2ndgrade  |  March 31, 2016 at 8:55 am


  • 125. cpsteacherandmom  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:21 am

    @ #119: it depends on the schools you chose. Last year, my daughter entering K scored a 130 and we got no offers in any rounds.

  • 126. Parent  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:29 am

    My DD scored a 135 for kindergarten and did not receive any offers but we put down Coonley and Edison which generally require higher scores.

  • 127. T2ppl  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:29 am

    The only school we applied for is SN, does that have any impact in our odds of getting in? Not sure how the matching works for those who have better scores but listed SN as a lower choice.

  • 128. Maria Venegas  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:31 am

    My son scored a 144 last year for K and got no offers.

  • 129. CPS First Timer  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:33 am

    @Maria Venegas: what schools did you apply for?

  • 130. sws  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Last year, my son scored 154 (tier 4) for K and got offered Coonley

  • 131. Maria Venegas  |  March 31, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Edison RGC, Decatur, and Coonley

  • 132. Nervous Parent  |  March 31, 2016 at 10:07 am

    Are we expecting to receive the letter today?!

  • 133. Not My First Rodeo  |  March 31, 2016 at 10:34 am

    @127 – I think you’ve got it right. They fill spots in order with the highest choices of the kids with the highest scores. So if someone else has a higher classical score that your child, but ranked a different school higher than SN and gets offered a first round offer at that other school, it’s possible that a first round offer at SN could slide to you.

  • 134. JennyM  |  March 31, 2016 at 10:37 am

    I have checked my mail twice already today! I hate this. Anyone receive a letter yet?

  • 135. waiting  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:05 am

    My mail just arrived with no letter. 😦

  • 136. southsider  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:16 am

    @135 what is your zipcode?

  • 137. careysully  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:20 am

    @136 my zip is 60657

  • 138. 2nd time around  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Mail arrived in 60607 with no letters.

  • 139. KMAMA16  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Mail arrived 60640, no letters.

  • 140. southsider  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Oh well. I guess tomorrow is the big day. I doubt if some of us get it one day and others get it the next day.

  • 141. CS  |  March 31, 2016 at 11:52 am

    no letters in 60641

  • 142. readysetslow  |  March 31, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    No letter today – 60625

  • 143. llmm  |  March 31, 2016 at 12:13 pm


  • 144. just wondering  |  March 31, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    For those of you at Coonley, Decatur and Edison, I’m curious, with all the high test scores, do you feel as if your Kindergartener has gotten an accelerated year or a superior academic environment? Essentially, is it everything the high scores and popularity indicate?

  • 145. j  |  March 31, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    no letter

  • 146. Parentof3  |  March 31, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    60642 No letter today

  • 147. mochamommy  |  March 31, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    60643 no letter

  • 148. CPS mom too  |  March 31, 2016 at 1:49 pm

    @119 We got into K at NTA with a 132 last year. Not until June, though. We’re Tier 3, but I’m pretty sure that we were late enough that the tier didn’t matter.

  • 149. JennyM  |  March 31, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I’m working from home today because I thought we would get our letters, but I guess that isn’t going to happen. I’m not too optimistic about her chances of getting in this year. My daughter has a very strong personality and after the proctor brought her back she said, “mom, the teacher asked me to read like 3 sentences and I told her that I’m only 5 and I’m not going to read that.” She is at a Catholic school for Pre-K and informed us that she is not going to go to her brother’s school and is staying at her school. I guess it all works out in the end! Good luck everyone!

  • 150. Jen  |  March 31, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Mail arrived in 60657. No letter yet.

  • 151. 2 in SEES  |  March 31, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    @144 It’s all about the best match for the child. I have two in SEES and my neighborhood school was also a great school. From my experience, there is definitely an expectation of being able to achieve a certain pace at all of the selective enrollment programs, and you’ll get a sense if your child can keep the pace. Other than that, there are no perfect solutions, so assess the numbers and go on the tours and pick the community that makes you and your child feel the most comfortable.

  • 152. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Hard to tell if it’s CPS or the mail service (which I imagine has been cut as well) to blame for the late arrival.

    Hopefully tomorrow will prove more fruitful.

  • 153. Val's Mom  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Why don’t they just post the results online. If there truly is such a budget crisis, eliminate the overhead. Right?

  • 154. cpsobsessed  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    @144 – though I do believe those are all very strong schools, I wouldn’t automatically equate high entry scores with quality instruction. The scores of 4 years olds doesn’t necessarily indicate that the instruction/school style etc is the right fit for your child.

    I think the high scores and “popularity” are a function of supply and demand (and location.) Those are the only 3 K options on the north side and there are few Tier 3/4 sets across those 3-4 classes. So that drives up the scores and drives up the competitiveness (hence “popularity.”)

    So that is the researcher in me talking.

    I *do* think that each of those 3 schools have their own school personality, each of which may be better suited to a particular child or family.

    But across the 3, they each have a very strong parent/family community, which I think ads to their appeal/popularity.

    Are any of them perfect? Probably not — I don’t think any school is. And across the board, class size is bigger than you’ll find in the suburbs and classmates may be scattered across the city. and of course CPS has issues as a whole.

    Pros and cons…

  • 155. Learning CPS  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    @144 K students, at least at Decatur, are quickly writing, reading and doing early math work at the 1st grade level. But if a kid has tested in to an SEES, they probably are ready for it and might be bored in a regular K classroom. The pace was exactly what we wanted and needed for our daughter, but since I have no comparison I can’t say that there aren’t non-SEES schools that might have provided it. Our neighborhood school would not have.

    We have most appreciated that after my child being among the most advanced in her pre-K, in her K class she was with kids right around her same pace – in some places ahead, some behind – but mostly at the same place so it made conversing with other kids much easier for her. But each kid is different; my son will test next fall and hopefully we can get him into Decatur with his sister…but, I’m not entirely convinced it will be the right environment for him even though it was a perfect fit for my daughter. Different kid, different learning style.

  • 156. Jksaf  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:16 pm


  • 157. shikarishambu (@shikarishambu)  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    @144 got two kids in Coonley – one in options (aka “gifted”) and other in the neighborhood program. Options is slightly ahead of the neighborhood program (actually, there is a family who have twins – one goes to options and other to neighborhood. they can provide more details). In the neighborhood program the kids are grouped based on their ability. I think the neighborhood program teachers have a tougher job – managing the range of skills. The other group is pretty much self organizing and driven

  • 158. Jen  |  March 31, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    No letter 60656

  • 159. wp  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    following. no letter yet 60647.

  • 160. MC  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:02 pm


  • 161. Tiredofwaiting  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    no letter 60609

  • 162. KRV  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:14 pm


  • 163. MP  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    No letters 60611

  • 164. EM  |  March 31, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    No letter 60654

  • 165. lella  |  March 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    No letter 60630. Did anyone receive a letter today?

  • 166. Chicassie  |  March 31, 2016 at 6:29 pm


  • 167. Justwatching  |  March 31, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    No letter 60616

  • 168. JennyM  |  March 31, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    No letter 60614

  • 169. Kay77  |  March 31, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    New to cps and plan to test my kid end of this year. I can see my future in all the parents’ anxious wait for THE letter! 🙂 Reading about a 2nd grader reading at 7th grade blew my mind and Moreover, a 99.6% cut-off for both math and verbal in tier 4 is discouraging to say the least. With this combination, I’m wondering if it’s just not even feasible for my daughter to try. So could the parents of kids who got through one of the sees clarify what exactly is expected of a 4-year old in the test? What should they know? Verbal – reading 3-letter words? Longer? Writing them? Basic arithmetic such as addition/subtraction? Or multiplication and division? Anything else? Thanks!

  • 170. otdad  |  March 31, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    @75 B:
    “2. What does differentiation look like at the kindergarten level? Specifically, how do they handle students who come in more than two grade levels ahead in either reading or math? Do they ever send students to other classrooms for individual subjects?”

    At K level, reading seems grouped w.r.t. kids’ level. They brought home a basal reader each week. At this time of kindergarten, my daughter brought home M level (2-3 grade), my son got K level (2nd grade).

    Math is largely Everyday Math 1st grade curriculum in the same classroom. My son did bring home extra homework from a 3rd grade common core math workbook. He seems to get weekly instruction at 3rd grade level.

  • 171. AK  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:13 am

    @169/Kay77 — I think it is worth it to try. Even though it is a long shot for most kids, it doesn’t cost anything to test, and you never know. Even if they don’t make it, you’ll have an idea of your kid’s abilities one way or the other. It’s something of a mystery as to what is on the test, but if they know how to read, I would say that is a huge help.

  • 172. Hermosa Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Received letter today! My 4th grader got an offer for Pritzker. Also, she always does really great in math, but her score was in the 70s. Wondered if it was difficult? 98 Reading score though. Total point score is 855.

    We may pass because she is taking Arabic at Lasalle 2 and is very settled w/her friends, plus we want to set her up for the best possible grades for 5th. We were doing it on the off chance they would offer us a school closer to our house in 60641. Any Pritzker parents out there in the upper grades?

  • 173. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Hermosa parent: We entered Pritzker last year for 5th and we love it. The teachers are amazing and the community feel in the rooms is excellent. I spend time in the classrooms and these teachers love and care about their students academically and emotionally. My son has thrived there, and I am waiting for my letter for my second child, with Pritzker being our very first choice.

  • 174. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:31 am

    I mean he is in 5th now, this is our first year at Pritzker.

  • 175. Random Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:34 am

    @Hermosa Parent: congrats! what is the total point score about?

  • 176. 1st year in CPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Applied for 7th grade
    Tier 4
    RGC 123
    applied to Edison and Beaubien, no offers

  • 177. MP  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:54 am

    60611 mail arrived no letters from CPS. Our mail comes twice a day though another round expected around 2pm so hopefully then.

  • 178. HOPE N  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Got letter. . .

  • 179. feeder schools  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    SN emails sent out.

  • 180. River North Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    SN welcome email just came

  • 181. CS  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    RGC 130
    Classicl reading 99, math 97
    offered beabbien

  • 182. CS  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Sorry Beabien 1st grade
    Tier 4

  • 183. Jula  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC score 123
    Classical scores 99 reading and 78 math

    No offers for K.

  • 184. ig  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    So is one letter going to offer both classical and RGC, anyone know? Like, did she make the RGC cut off or no? We applied for Teacher’s academy.

    2nd grade:
    RGC 128
    Reading and Math both 99,
    Offered Skinner North (which prob won’t work for us because that means the younger child has to go to a different school or stay at home), also I’m not convinced they can handle her, she is doing 5th grade math and college level reading…

  • 185. HappyParent  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I just received an e-mail from Lenart our 1st choice!!! I’m so happy! Congrats to all the parents who have been anxiously waiting and good luck.

  • 186. MomofE  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Does anyone have a child enrolled in Skinner West? If so, can you share information on a typical day, homework load, staff, etc.

  • 187. southsider  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    @185 what were your child’s scores? and tier?

  • 188. MP  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Email came, we are in!!

  • 189. Random Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Did Skinner West email come out? Skinner North already did.

  • 190. NTAmom  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering 4th grade:
    RGC: 136
    Classical Reading: 91 Math: 95
    Offered Pritzker, will turn down. Currently at NTA
    Entering K:
    RGC: 128
    Classical Reading: 95 Math: 84
    No offers.

  • 191. C&Cmom  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Does anyone have a child in the RGC at Carnegie? We were accepted for kindergarten there. Looking for some thoughts and opinions on the programs.

  • 192. sw parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    @ 186 – I have a child in the classical program at SW, feel free to email directly (skonin2@uic.edu) and I can any questions you have.

  • 193. HappyParent  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    @187 We are Tier 1 and her score was 140

  • 194. JennyM  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    Well, my daughter won’t be joining her brother at Skinner North in the fall. Bummer!

  • 195. Kc  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    I only received the magnet portion of my letter! They said I will receive the other one by Tuesday! My daughter attends Carnegie now and I love it! However, I retested her to get her closer to our home. She is currently in Kindergarten there!

  • 196. SkinnerGoldCoast  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    We just received an email saying we are in for Skinner North. Tier 4, Reading 99.5 and Math 99. We are really happy and look forward to checking out the Open House next week, meeting other families, and learning more about the school. BTW we live at Delaware & Michigan downtown and would love to meet families who are going into K that live nearby if convenient.

  • 197. SNMommy  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    @ 184–“Offered Skinner North (which prob won’t work for us because that means the younger child has to go to a different school or stay at home), also I’m not convinced they can handle her, she is doing 5th grade math and college level reading…”

    I feel your pain–different schools in the same family are certainly a challenge! We have done it for years. Most families find a way to make it work, including carpools and yellow bus service.

    I do not know your child at all, just her test scores (ex: what school is she in now or is she homeschooled?), but we do have LOTS of kids with off-the-charts reading and math abilities at SN and the amazing teachers accommodate them (some K kids come in reading at some incredibly high levels or understanding college math). If you can imagine, some of these kids tested even higher than your child in both RGC and classical scores and they are thriving at SN, due to the social-emotional support offered at the school.

    I would suggest you talk directly to SN about your particular child and see what you can learn about what they can offer before you dismiss what could be a great social-emotional and academic opportunity for your child.

    Best of luck to you!

  • 198. thanks  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    Got a seat at Decatur for entering grade 1
    Tire 4

    Really a kind of moral suffering What we can is just praying. Good luck for everyone!

  • 199. Hermosa Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    @2ndtimesAcharm, thanks for your feedback on Pritzker!

    @Random Parent…her overall score is explained on the back of my letter and rubric/outline here: http://cpsmagnet.org/Scoring%20Rubric%20–%20Academic%20Centers%20and%20International%20Gifted%20Program%20–%202015-2016_v2.pdf

    But basically it’s 3 parts to equal 900: 1. the test just taken 2. NWEA score and 3. Previous years final grades.

    It makes much more sense when you have your kid’s letter/scores in front of you and comparing the rubric chart above.

  • 200. Dee  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Can anyone tell me how Skinner North is? We got an email offer today. I am so confused…do they only go to 3rd grade? Then what? TIA

  • 201. momofb  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    Anyone in 60613 receive letters yet?

  • 202. JennyM  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    @200 Skinner North goes to 8th grade.

  • 203. Kenwood Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Tier 3
    Entering K
    Reading: 99.9 Math: 98
    Tested 42 minutes
    Offered Skinner West

    We will be accepting! After five years, I can’t believe this is finally over. I’m so proud of our son. He’s at a really good Montessori school (next to Skinner), so I hope the transition will be easy for him.

  • 204. UnhappyPrivateSchoolMom  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Tier 4 (not in Chicago yet but CPS classified our current area as Tier 4)
    Entering 2nd
    RGC: 138
    Reading: 99
    Math: 96

    No offers 😦

    Guess we will be looking at private school before moving to Chicago.

  • 205. kavitakhurana  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    congrats kenwood parent!!! Is your child in Near North or MAC? I’d love to chat more if so. DD will be testing this year for K next year.

  • 206. Nima K Krodel  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    hi, any Bell RGC parents willing to chat with me? we got accepted for 1st grade, am totally in shock because we actually really have had a great KG experience in our neighborhood school.

    Tier 40 140

  • 207. MP  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    For stats purposes:
    M: 99.9
    R: 99.9
    Tier 4
    Kindergarten entry
    Only applied to SN and got offer via e-mail

  • 208. DREK  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    Reading 99.9 Math 94
    Offered Decatur
    Also offered O.A. Thorp magnet
    Has two younger siblings so magnet school sibling preference would be amazing but don’t want to deny him opportunity he earned. What to do???

  • 209. Ape  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    @201 I’m in 60613, mail already came and still no letter

  • 210. MP  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    @ SkinnerGoldCoast: Our son just got offer from Skinner North. We plan on going to the open house and most likely accepting the offer. We live in Streeterville (Ohio and McClurg) and would love to connect with you.

  • 211. tiredofwaiting  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    i can’t believe I didn’t get a letter today! I’m in 60625. Any suggestions? Can I call someone?

  • 212. River North Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    Reading 99.9
    Math 99.9
    Offered Skinner North (1st and only choice)

  • 213. River North Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    @ SkinnerGoldCoast & @ MP. We are in River North, also close by both of you. We’ll be at the open house as well.

  • 214. Kenwood Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:50 pm


    Our son attends intercultural Montessori (which is right next door to Skinner West) and is in the Chinese class. We really love intercultural, and will have to find a supplemental Mandarin class since Skinner West does not teach Mandarin.

  • 215. southloopkiddo  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    tier 4
    entering k
    rgc 160
    offered nta (first choice)

  • 216. rvparents  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    Reading 86 Math 98
    RGC 142

    No offers

  • 217. KSS  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    @199 ….. the scores you are referring are for 6th grade and higher…..

    900 points does not come into play for K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

    Students don’t take NWEA until 2nd grade, I believe.

  • 218. Hopeful mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    no mail yet…anyone from 60631 got the cps letters yet?

  • 219. cps parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC: 156
    Entering: K
    Reading: 87 Math 94
    Offered Coonley! Will accept

  • 220. cps parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    @206 We have a child at Bell. Let me know what I can answer for you.

  • 221. CPS mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Entering 2nd. Tier 4 (which doesn’t matter for 2nd, but just FYI)

    RGC of 133 and applied only to Coonley – no offer. For those that might find this helpful:

    2 years ago entering K scored 145
    1 year ago entering 1st scored 117 (I know there is usually a drop after the first year, but this was a big one and we had some family stuff going on at the time, so I think that’s why).

    Only ever applied to Coonley as we are happy with neighborhood program. Thanks to everyone for posting and sharing info!

  • 222. LoganSquareParent  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Tier 3:
    RGC 155
    Reading 91
    Math 92

    Offered Pritzker.

    Any Pritzker families out there? Are your children happy at Pritzker? Any comments on administration/staff?

  • 223. K  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 4
    RGC 140
    No offer

  • 224. obsessing about the mail today  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Other than Skinner North, do we know if any other schools have sent out welcome acceptance emails? I’m at work and am itching to get home to the mail box…

  • 225. Mom of SEES 4th grader  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    A tip for anyone who has applied for a non-entry year: do not give up hope if there are no offer in the letter. The SEES do not know yet how many students in each grade they will have returning. (mine hasn’t even asked yet) They won’t make an offer until they know there’s a spot.

  • 226. Sickofcps  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 135
    Reading: 96
    Math: 80

    Offered 1st choice Beaubien. Most likely passing on the offer and keeping her in private school.

  • 227. SW Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    @kenwood parent – my daughter is in 1st grade at Skinner West and they do teach Mandarin now – they just started this year. Just wanted to pass along the information!

  • 228. dre  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 134
    Entering 4th grade
    No offer from Edison (only one we are interested in, as currently at Beaubien RGC)

    I have an 11 yr old at ERGC, and an 8 yr old at Beaubien. Been doing this for yrs, trying to get them in the same school. Have patience everyone, offers will come up until the school starts in the Fall.

    Good luck!

  • 229. Marina  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    @ 221 CPS mom. I was under the impression that unless you are entering K you are not supposed to get an offer at this time (just a score).

  • 230. ProudParents  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    RGC: 97
    Reading 41 Math 46
    No offers

    Will be entering neighborhood Skinner West program (and will be just fine and probably make it into Ivy league like both his public school parents).

    Hey, not everyone’s kid is good at (very subjective) testing as a four year old.

  • 231. Kenwood Parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    @ SW Mom

    OMG! I had no idea. Will we be able to choose his language? Is Mandarin in high demand? Can you explain what the language program is like at Skinner (e.g., how many times a week, does it start in Kindergarten, is the teacher a native speaker, etc.)?

  • 232. Jen K  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    @229 it depends on the school. Schools had to report the number of spots available so OAE could issue offers. Some schools add seats in older grades, so they know spots are open. Others may have had students leave but did not fill them late in the year, so they know a few will be available in the Fall.

  • 233. conflicted parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    @220 Thank you! Curious about: teachers, homework levels and/or pressure, camraderie in RGC vs. neighborhood school (we have a decent one now), how your kid felt/adjusted about moving from KG to a new 1st grade, whether or not you have siblings in a different school/how that goes…I can email you too if that works! I realize we are in a lucky position.

  • 234. Chris  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm


    Received AC letter, but not RGC letter, so:

    don’t freak about Chicago mail weirdness.

  • 235. SkinnerGoldCoast  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    @MP and @RiverNorthMom great we will see you there. Glad to hear there are others in our neighborhood!

  • 236. dre  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    @221. in previous years, there have been RGC offers for non-entry grades. It depends on how many kids are in the current classes. Some years my kids’ classes are over max, and some years they are under by this time of the year.

  • 237. Hmmmm  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    This is helpful. My son did significantly worse on his first grade test this year – RGC went from 131 to 108 and math from 99 to 56. I’m trying to figure out why that happened – was it the group test vs the individual test? A sign of a poor kindergarten program? I’d be interested in hearing any other perspective on this.

  • 238. Parents - please give me your thoughts  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    Need guidance from past parents –

    Is there any likelihood of my child getting into Skinner North with
    M:98 R: 98 Tier 4?

    Appreciate any guidance! Thanks!

  • 239. SNMommy  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    @200 Dee:

    Scroll through this entire thread to read waay too much about Skinner North. 🙂

  • 240. APAM  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    @ proudparents Thank you for the honesty!! I’m sure your kid (and mine) will be fine
    Tier 4
    RGC 117
    Reading 89

    Didn’t make the cut either!!

  • 241. Mom60641  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    @ 230. ProudParents

    You made me crack up. Thanks for lightening things up a little bit.

  • 242. SW Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    @kenwood parent – I think you can choose between Spanish and Mandarin in Classical and in Neighborhood it’s all Mandarin. Neighborhood has Mandarin once a week and Classical has foreign language twice (maybe three time, but I think just twice). You’ll definitely want to supplement if you want to keep it up. I have several friends from Intercultural and the language component will be the biggest difference going to Skinner. With that said, the Mandarin teacher is native and wonderful thus far, and does a lot of activities outside of school (just hosted a dim sum, teaches a dance class, etc.) so I’m sure she would be interested in one-on-one tutoring if you’re interested, as many Skinner teachers tutor after school. If you’d like to chat further, I’m happy to email you directly.

  • 243. cbr  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    @204 Your scores are there, you just missed the big entrance window, which is usually K or 1st grade. Try again next year. Spots will open up in 3rd grade. The scores are great.

  • 244. JennyM  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    @proudparents I totally agree!
    tier 4
    RGC 126
    Reading 93
    Math 91
    No offers

  • 245. Marina  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    @221. I was not aware. Thank you for the info:)

  • 246. liz  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    @238 My son got into Skinner NOrth with a 96 and a 98 tier 3 in like late august…. but that was years ago when the competition was less intense.

  • 247. MamaBlue  |  April 1, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Tier 3, applying for K

    Reading: 99.5
    Math: 97
    RGC: 142

    Offered Skinner North (first choice), and we will be accepting!

    Also received an offer to Thorpe (with proximity lottery), which will be turned down, so available for someone else.

    Waitlist numbers:

    Norwood Park: 124
    Wildwood: 26
    Edgebrook: 189
    Disney 2: 62
    Hawthorne: 176

  • 248. Bill Smith  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    tier 4
    RGC 142
    Reading 97
    Math 82
    no offers, going to private school.

  • 249. NotSure  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    We were accepted to Skinner North for K, our DD is currently at Latin School (private). We’re inclined to accept Skinner, slightly worried that she might feel intimidated by all the smart kids in the class. I would hate for her to kinda “dread” going to school if the rigor is too high at SN…obviously she tested well and is smart but at her current school it’s very, very “fun”…for those who had kids go through SN for K and 1st, did your kids feel like it was a fun place?

  • 250. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Would an Edison RGC family please tell me about your experience with the school? My child was offerred a spot!

  • 251. MamaBlue  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    NotSure….I have a first grader at SN. While they do a lot of work, it’s not like the kids sit in a desk all day and work like robots. My son really enjoys it. They are challenged to learn new things, and I am constantly amazed at what my son tells me they are learning. When he started at SN last year for K, I had the same worries. He had only had one year of 3 day a week, half day pre-K. It was pretty much just a fun place for him too. But he transitioned just fine. If your child did well on the test, she will do fine at SN! The Kindergarten teachers are great too!

  • 252. Stressed  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Does anyone know if Bell sent an email?

  • 253. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @228 Can you tell me more about Edison RGC…my child was just offered a spot.

  • 254. ERGCParent  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    @252 – Edison K teacher is magical – differentiates amazingly and really cares for her students.

  • 255. ravenswooodbutSEESaccepted  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Can anyone tell me about Pritzker RGC? Our letter came today and our daughter was offered a K spot there. She scored a 144.

  • 256. NotSure  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    @mamablue thanks. I am new to this site, just getting a little worried reading that some SN kindergarten kids are reading at 7th grade level, college level etc. I mean…my kid is smart but she’s not some sort of savant, not even close to it. She’s just a little girl who is good at reading and math (I worked with her at home since I don’t work.) I am big on letting kids be kids and hope other SN families feel the same way! Also love @ProudParents comments. Will check out the school and hopefully visit some classrooms that are in session to see if it feels right for us. Good luck to all.

  • 257. LSmom  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    @255, just wondering what tier you’re in?

  • 258. caragreene  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    @logansquareparent also accepted to Pritzker. She’s at Ravenswood for Pre-K and we love it, just worried that K might be a little boring. Let me know what you hear. Thx!

  • 259. momof2  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    notsure, don’t let the Compet-a-parents get you down. There’s always 2 or 3 in each class

  • 260. caragreene  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    @LSmom I think we’re Tier 3, but we could be Tier 4. Looks like we’re right on the border in Ravenswood.

  • 261. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    @ERGC Parent – my child is entering a higher grade….any info on second grade and above would be great. What can you tell ma bout the school? I just read about the principal contract issue. Yikes!

  • 262. Jen K  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    @259 👍

  • 263. ProudDad  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Tire 4
    RGC 145
    Offered Edison for 2nd Grade…

  • 264. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Pritzker people: I have been nothing but happy with Pritzker. Our son started in 5th, however I have a good feel from the school and now have an incoming 1st grader into the fine arts magnet program. I would recommend Pritzker in a heartbeat.

  • 265. LSmom  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    @260, thanks, I was curious, we’re in tier 3 so wondering how close we were.

  • 266. ProudDad  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Tire 4
    RGC 145
    Offered Edison for 2nd grade.

    Currently he is in Bell RGC program. Would like to know more about Edison 2nd grade program. We are very happy with Bell 1st Grade Teacher and in general with the school. So now kind of confused whether to continue here at Bell or accept this offer. Can someone advice and share their experience at Edison? Thanks in advance.

  • 267. MamaBlue  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I just realized I typed that we had an offer for Thorpe that we were declining. It’s actually Thorp O. I believe there is another school called Thorpe, so I don’t want to confuse anyone waiting on a seat at Thorp O! Best of luck to all!

    NotSure…you daughter certainly doesn’t need to be a genius to attend SN! She is obviously smart and will fit in perfectly. When my son was getting ready to enter K there, he was reading at about a 3rd grade level. My second child is a great reader, but is at about a 1st/early 2nd grade level. I have no worries that my second kiddo will be just fine at SN too. They really are great at teaching kids at their level, whatever it may be. I will say that I wish there was a little more allowance for “kids to be kids” at SN, but I think that’s just how things are these days. Very different from when we were all in school! Most of that comes from the parents, some of whom are wound a little too tightly, but there are plenty of down to earth ones to balance it out. The principal is also very down to earth and fully understands that test scores are definitely not the most important thing.

  • 268. ERGC parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    @261, 2nd grade teacher is newer, no info. 3rd grade teacher is very good. 4th grade teacher is off the charts amazing. ERGC is a small solid community. My daughter has been very happy there.

  • 269. JL  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    No offers
    2nd grade Tier 4
    Classical: Reading: 99 Math: 92
    Gifted: 100
    Total Point score: 295.4

    Does anyone know if our child has a shot at classical with Tier 4, R: 99 & M: 92?

  • 270. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    @ERGC parent. Thanks so much for the info. We are excited about the spot. Glad to hear we can look forward to great teachers in the coming years. See you in the fall!

  • 271. Dre  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Proud Dad, the p rograms are the same. The quality of the staff at all RGC’s is comparable. Both are great schools. It’s really a question of fit for your child, and your family. If your happy at Bell, why leave?

  • 272. Jen  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Anyone with experience re-testing this year after testing for K last year? My son had high scores last year but didn’t get any offers (except for a late summer reach out for some remaining spots at a school that was too far for us to travel to.) He was 98 math/93 reading and around 125 RGC score.

    This year’s scores were much lower, so much so that it’s laughable. He is reading and doing math well above grade level at his current CPS school, which is a highly rated one.

    I’m thinking perhaps it’s because 1st grade and up is CogAT testing (25+ kids in group) and the K level is 1:1 with a teacher/student? Perhaps the K scores are more accurate?

  • 273. For KG  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Applied for KG tier 4
    RGC score 139
    Classical 87 reading/94 math
    Applied to Coonley, Edison, Decatur, Pritzker, SN and SW
    No offers

  • 274. Julia  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    @256- skinner north is really a great place, not high pressure and the kids aren’t competitive with each other at all (in my experience in the last four years). I like the parents, and they have a wide range of approaches to their kids’ educations. My favorite thing is that the administration is so focused on the kids’ emotional and social well being. I think the fact that all of the kids come in on solid ground academically means that the school can focus on the intangible aspects of kid development more than other schools do. Good luck with your decision.

  • 275. ProudDad  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    @271, 268 thanks for the additional info. Yes, we are absolutely happy with Bell 1st grade teacher and the program. He does have a younger sibling and i want them to be in the same school. But Bell RGC starts at 1st grade. So that is the main reason, i wanted my son to get in to a RGC which starts at K level… I hope we will decide in couple of days…

  • 276. HopefulMom  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    My son bombed for 1st grade admission. But I’m wondering: he didn’t have any classical scores, but it looks like everyone reporting here did. Were they automatically tested for both? He did mention they told him not to take “the gray pages,” so perhaps they knew he wasn’t doing well and made him skip that part? Any insight is appreciated thanks!

  • 277. Worried and confused  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    My son is outstanding in math and scored only a 46, he has autism and struggles with communication and scored 75. We will not be receiving any classical offers.

    His RGC is 73 but International Gifted Center and Academic Center is 218.2

    We are tier 3 entering 1st grade, could someone please explain?

  • 278. River North Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    @256 NotSure. We were offered a K spot at SN, and I feel the same way as you when it comes to letting kids be kids. Math and reading has always been our son’s “thing” that he enjoys, and that is the only reason we chose to test him for a classical school. The majority of the time he is just a silly 5 year old, and I hope he can stay that way at SN.

  • 279. Maria  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    My son tested for both. There are 2 tests. Don’t think that you could test the same day. For K, it’s combined, but for upper grades it’s separate tests.

  • 280. Cps mother  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    Entering k
    Tier 4
    Math 99
    Reading 98
    Offered: Decatur
    Skinner north is my first choice, should we take a chance and reject Decatur?

  • 281. tttabc  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Applied for KG tier 3

    RGC score 141
    Classical 92 reading/92 math
    Applied to and in this order: SN, SW, Decatur, Edison, Lenart, Pritzker
    tested about 45 minutes

    Offered Lenart.

    Computerized lottery offered Andrew Jackson.

    Any insight/advice is highly appreciated. Thanks!

  • 282. makesmeproud  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 4
    Reading 99.9
    Math 93
    RGC 128
    No offers

    Any thoughts if chance for SN or SW during other rounds or RGCs

  • 283. Karyn  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Tier 4 for K
    RGC: 154
    Reading: 99 Math: 92
    Offered Lenart but second guessing because I just read that teachers don’t communicate with parents. Is there anyone who can speak to the climate at Lenart?

  • 284. BuenaDad  |  April 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Tier 3 for K
    RGC: 153
    Reading 99; Math: 99.8
    Offered and Accepting 1st Choice of Coonley
    Tested for 45 minutes.

  • 285. KIndergarten Newbie  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Tier 2 for K
    RGC: 144
    Waitlisted at all lottery schools, but thrilled that my son was offered a spot at our first choice, Coonley. We’ll be accepting for sure.
    I attended the tour already, but am wondering if there’s any benefit in attending the tour they are offering prospective students’ parents. Maybe an opportunity to meet people?

  • 286. Jen  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    Tested in November
    RGC 127
    Classical reading 83, math 97
    Applied to Edison and Decatur due to location
    No offers (no surprise)

  • 287. Matt  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    No letter 60657

  • 288. carson  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:38 pm


    We also re-tested for 1st Grade. DS does extremely well in his neighborhood school and he reads constantly, we talk about math constantly (his asking). We did not do any test prep. I’m stunned at his scores as well. I heard previously that scores often drop from K to 1st but didn’t see this coming.

    Classical: 109
    Reading: 86
    Math: 56

    I don’t know what it is a reflection of, I’m just taking in stride that he’s a good kid and engaged learner. We are hoping for a spot at our neighborhood gifted program where the admission includes subjective measurements as well.

  • 289. AllSmiles  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    Letters…finally!! Our kiddo was offered a seat at Skinner West for K. All smiles after this overwhelming process.

    Tier 1
    Reading 99
    Math 97

  • 290. Jen K  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    This may have been mentioned before, but every year people post that scores drop significantly for 1st grade testing. I don’t know why but it seems to be normal. Don’t panic 🙂

  • 291. cpswonderland  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Except Skinner North, did any other school send emails to accepted families?

  • 292. 60643Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering 1st
    Tested in January
    RGC 116
    1st Choice Keller, 2nd Choice Lenart

    Offered Keller 🙂

  • 293. so frustrated  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    We didn’t receive the SEES letters yet, just for the magnet schools. WTH?!!! And no offers!!!

  • 294. Dr. Pepper  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    1st Grade
    Tier 4
    RGC Score: 126
    Offered Keller (only school requested)

    My child scored 133 last year and has been at Lenart for Kindergarten.

  • 295. SEESalumnus  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    90 reading
    91 math
    141 RGC
    Tier 3
    No offers (Edison,
    Coonley, Decatur, Skinne N, Skinner W)

    Not sure how long to wait. We plan to move this year and the school was going to help us select where.

  • 296. SEESalumnus  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Forgot to mention entering K

  • 297. Tier4Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering 1st grade
    RGC = 121
    1st choice Coonley
    2nd choice Bell

    No offers…I think we may be out of luck.

    Can anyone tell me what the scores were for 1st grade entry? Thanks!

  • 298. anon  |  April 1, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Entering 1st
    Tier 4
    Reading 99
    Math 97
    RGC 124

    Offered Beaubien.

  • 299. 60643Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    #294 – Dr Pepper – Looking forward to meeting you! My child will be in 1st at Keller too. We also have a child, who is in 6th at Keller now, who went to K at Lenart.

  • 300. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    @ProudDad, can you elaborate on your experience at Bell Options 1st grade? We were accepted this year and are very excited! I would love to know how you feel about the program and the teacher.

    Incidentally, I have a child at Edison (higher grade) that has been there since K.

    Thanks so much!

  • 301. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Entering 1st
    Tier 3
    99 Reading
    98 Math
    122 RGC

    Accepted at Bell (2nd choice) and very happy!

    Anyone care to comment on Bell’s program? Seemed great on the tour and have heard good things.

  • 302. Tier4Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    StayinginCPS do mind telling me the RGC score that was accepted for 1st at Bell? Thanks.

  • 303. Jen  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    @237 @288

    Yes, exactly what happened to my son. He is above average in his K class (neighborhood CPS with high rating) – reading and math are a couple grades above level (reading is differentiated within class already.)

    This year:
    RGC: 113
    Reading: 86
    Math: 64

    Last year:
    RGC: 127
    Reading: 93
    Math: 99

    I am guessing that a 1:1 test would be more accurate. Or that I have a son who isn’t a good test-taker… now? He said they had to fill in bubbles so I assume that means multiple choice. That would have been his first time doing any type of multiple choice test. I also did not prep him for the testing this year (or last year.)

  • 304. 2ndKidforK  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    We tested early so we have our score but we didn’t get a letter. Does that mean no offer?

  • 305. WP mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Reading 99, Math 96
    Offered Skinner W as 2nd choice. Skinner N was our first choice. Anyone think we have a chance to slide into SN?

  • 306. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    @Tire4Mom…sure! I posted the scores in post #301 (tried to split up scores and the question to the ProudDad. RGC was 122 we are Tier 3.

  • 307. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Oops..Meant Tier 4 Mom! not Tire! darn auto correct!

  • 308. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    @300 StayinginCPS….my child was offered a spot at Edison. Can you comment on your experience with the school?

  • 309. Tier4Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    @307… I saw it a minute after my post. Thanks, well maybe there will be a chance for my child’s 121 score in round 2 for Bell???? Anyone have any thoughts?

  • 310. TimeToExhale  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 3
    RGC: 152
    Reading 84; Math: 98
    First choice: Coonley (gladly accepting!!)

    The SEES letter was dated 3/24 (post mark date 3/28…huh??). Also received Magnet school letter today which was dated 3/28 (post marked date 3/30). Those post mark dates sure do make a lot of sense!!

    Our lil guy tested for about 45 min during the early testing period in November and of course didn’t offer up much in way of what kind of questions were asked.

    Now time to exhale!!!

  • 311. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    @famc1124, sure! We have been at the school for 6 years. Some of the lower grade teachers have changed. The new K teacher they say is amazing!! The 1st and 2nd I haven’t really heard much about, although in my experience they have to be better than the previous 1st and 2nd. So the change is positive I believe. Pretty much all the other teachers have been great. My child is happy, engaged, challenged and generally enjoys school (except for when the hint of that tween attitude rolls in now and again :)). The 4th grade teacher is simply fantastic…he gets kids to learn in the most creative ways, they are so excited to be in his class each and every day. My child is very easy going, so even some of the teachers that others would say are difficult or not good…my child seems fine with. The community, even though we are from all over the city, is generally engaged and involved. My child’s particular class is a ton of fun and we even have parent get togethers. The children, in my experience, are respectful, good kids that like to learn. We have and are very happy.

    The negatives, are that this year has been tough. As you have read all over I’m sure the principal’s contract was not renewed. This has put a pretty big divide in the community. One like I have never seen it. Some folks are pretty incensed over. However, I have trust in our LSC to find a great replacement and still believe that it is a great school that come back together and hopefully grow from the change and some new philosophies and ideas.

    Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!

    And Congrats! It is a great school! And was, by the way our first choice, as we would have loved the holy grail of CPS (two kids in the same SEES!!!)

  • 312. Mom60641  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:42 pm


    Disney II 70

    Tier 3
    Disney 184
    Franklin 88
    Hawthorne 211
    Jackson 98
    Lasalle 126
    Lasalle II 211
    Newberry 144
    Thorp 54

    Goethe 98
    Hamilton 180
    Mitchell 44
    Murphy 86
    Pulaski 32
    Agassiz 31
    Alcott 390
    Prescott 169

    I feel pretty good knowing that we have some options. 🙂

  • 313. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    @StayinginCPS Thanks! I’m a little nervous about the principal situation, but can’t pass up this opportunity. This is not an entry year slot so this could have been the only open spot for that grade!

  • 314. jksaf  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 147
    Offered: Edison
    Didn’t apply to Classical because scores were too low
    Ranked 1st Coonley 2nd Edison 3rd Pritzker 4th NTA

    I would also love to hear about any experience about Edison’s program.

    Thanks for everyone who posted now and over the years. I have been looking at these threads for awhile and they have been hugely beneficial in dealing with this whole process.

  • 315. Lella  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    I think I posted this in the wrong place earlier. 2nd try-

    Son # 1
    Entering 6th Grade
    RGC 150
    Offered Coonley
    2nd choice only because Edison is closer.

    Son #2 who is entering 3rd grade didn’t really come close to the gifted cutoff (109). He didn’t get in anywhere.

    What to do? I honestly don’t know. I’ve heard great things about Coonley. It would be difficult for us to get him there unless transportation is offered. Any thoughts?

  • 316. cps parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    @233 send me your e-mail and I will be happy to fill you in.

  • 317. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    @famc1124, completely understand. My second child is entering 1st and did not get a spot at Edison..tough on non entry years. But, again, we have been happy and I really do think the community will come back together and we will see some positive changes.

    What grade is your child entering, if you don’t mind me asking?

  • 318. BigCityMom  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    @304. 2ndKidforK: We tested early too and still received a SEES letter with no offers (we already knew test scores would be too low since we already had the scores back in December).

  • 319. Maria  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    @Mom60641. We declined last year but I was called in the first day from Prescott and we were in the second end of the year option for them. When I called the school near the end of the school year, they told me that they had only gotten up to 48 on the waiting list and the way the end of the year option works is they have to exhaust their first list which had 220. And then if their kindergarten wasn’t full would call from the end of the year list. We were number 12 on that second list. Do not lose hope!

  • 320. SkinnerWestMomma  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    @ 186 and Skinner West potential parents:

    Having 2 kids at Skinner West, you won’t be disappointed with the diversity of kids, academics, arts, music and great teachers – what we truly appreciate is the well-rounded day

    Go to Ms Growe’s page for a typical day in Classical KDG. She is a nurturing teacher and the kids absolutely love her: http://www.skinnerwest.cps.edu/classrooms.html

    Good luck to you all!

  • 321. jksaf  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    @stayingincps I just saw your earlier response. Thanks for sharing your insight. I was wondering what people thought of the principal dismissal. I live in nearby and heard about how upset people were about it.

  • 322. ProudDad  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    @300 StayingCPS Bell’s first grade teacher is awesome. Well organized and amazing in every single sense. Your kid is just going to love. Kids are not overloaded with home work or anything but they simply enjoy their learning. She is been teaching first grade at bell for over a decade so her website elaborate everyday activities

  • 323. @mom2  |  April 1, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Tier 4
    RGC 133
    Math 91
    Reading 78

    No offers

  • 324. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Entering 1st grade, Tier 2. My twins were accepted to two different schools and no idea what we will do.

    Child 1 has RGC 120, Reading 90, Math 94 and got an offer at Bell (3rd choice)

    Child 2 has RGC 115, Reading 99, Math 97 and got an offer at Decatur (1st choice)

    I don’t think Child 2 will get into Bell with an RGC of 115, even at Tier 2. Do you think we have any shot at all of getting Child 1 into Decatur if we turn down Bell? In theory, I’m happy we got offers at these schools, but can’t imagine sending my twins to two different schools.

  • 325. Tier4Mom  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    If anyone decides not to take an offer at Bell for 1st can you please post. Thanks.

  • 326. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    @ProudDad thank you so much for your insight on Bell! Good luck at Edison (if you choose it!)

  • 327. CSmama  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Does anyone know what scores were accepted by SN and Decatur last year in the second and third rounds?

  • 328. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    @CSmama….I don’t know exact scores, but can only give my experience from last year. My child is Tier 3 and last year got no K offers. I was hoping we would get a last minute Decatur call in the summer…her scores were R97 M94…..it all depends on the Tier and the other scores that year I think. Good luck to you!

  • 329. Decatur sib  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Ugh. received magnet letter only today ( waaaaaaay down on wait-lists so no hope). No score or classical/gifted letter yet. 60625 Super annoying. Entering K, current 1st grade sibling at Decatur.

  • 330. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    My daughter got an offer to Keller. It’s kinda surprising to us since we didn’t prepare her at all. Her RGC score is 124, entering 1st grade. Can any parents share some information about Keller please?
    Thank you!

  • 331. famc1124  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    @stayingincps how often do the kids have french a week at Edison?

    my kiddo will be entering third at Edison

  • 332. T4Dad  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    60601 no letters today…

  • 333. jenchicago  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks @Stayingincps. I gave almost no information, sorry. We are applying for 1st grade with M:98 R:96, and are hoping for SN or Decatur (or possibly SW) in later round. Curious about last year’s score parameters.

  • 334. StayinginCPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    @famc1124….French is twice a week. Your child will have Ms. Corbett. She is great! Very adventurous and takes tons of climbing trips that she talks to the kids about…they literally hang on her every word. She did wonders for my child with organization and responsibility, he was a different child when he left third grade. The kids love her. Some parents think there are too many “worksheets” that is the only negative I ever hear. We really loved her. She also believes in learning with field trips and takes her kids out a lot for very targeted trips with a lot of learning. Enjoy!

  • 335. Cpswouldhavelovedus  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Tier 3
    Entering K
    No offers
    Wanted Coonley or Pritzker.

    Too bad our magnet/neighborhood choices aren’t good either.

  • 336. NowWeDon'tHaveToMove!  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Tier 2
    1st Grade
    99% reading
    98% math
    RGC: 109

    Offered Decatur. It was our 3rd choice but only because we put RGC schools 1st and 2nd because for Kindergarten his Classical scores were lower than his RGC scores so we figured we had more of a chance with RGC.

    We will more than likely accept but will be scanning the pages here for insight into the school. We are excited!

  • 337. Beaubien?  |  April 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    Can anyone tell me about Beaubien RGC’s 1st grade? I am looking at the website right now:


    (in case others are interested), which contains a wealth of material on what the students are working on currently (click on the links to the left). Very helpful!

    However, from the site, it looks like there is no differentiation going on. Everyone in the class appears to be taking the same tests and has the same math and spelling homework. Is this really the case? Can anyone who has a child in the 1st grade class now (or who had Mr. Durst in the past) fill me in?


  • 338. rrrrrrr  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    does anybody have exprience if turn down decatur(our second choice), any chance to enter North skinner or bell in second round?

  • 339. NowWeDon'tHaveToMove!  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    I just realized I don’t remember how we ranked the schools actually because now I am thinking we ranked them separately. Can’t remember honestly but just relieved to get in somewhere!

  • 340. PritzkerParent  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    @logansquareparent and @ravenswoodbutSEES and anyone else with ?s on Pritzker : our son is in his 2nd year on the Options side of Prizker (we’ve been there for 1st & 2nd) and it has been fantastic for him. He is challenged and really happy and has so many good friends in his class – such a nice group of kids from very different backgrounds and all over the city. I was nervous it’d be hard for him to develop strong friendships in a SEES school bc of the commuting aspect but that has not been the case! We live in Logan square so wicker park is a pretty easy commute for us.

    Some things we love about Pritzker: great teachers, principal & admin truly carry about the success of EVERY child, (not just the kids in the gifted classrooms), great before and after school options from JCC, music house, mad science, etc.

    Pritzker has a very strong performance arts component; the music, drama and dance teachers are AMAZING. We love that our son is challenged academically but then is also trying new things by participating in the school musicals and learning an instrument. I feel he’s getting a very well-balanced education. Kids can take ukulele, guitar, violin, piano, rock band, dance, art before/after school classes as well as other options like chess, fencing, running club, other sports. The before school program starts at 730am and there is aftercare until 6pm which is important to know for working parents.

    Sure the Pritzker building is not the most attractive but the warmth and community feel inside the school makes up for it. Feel free to post specific questions if needed.

    Good luck with your decision!!

  • 341. patientmom  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    RGC 143 ; tier 4; got in to NTA. we live on Northside anyone want to ride share?

  • 342. SNMommy  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    @256 and 278

    Nah. Kids get to be kids at SN. The social-emotional stuff at the school is great and helps the kids have fun while they learn to be part of a community. There are a few high-strung parents in every class but most are awesome and easy-going (like every other school in the world, I believe).

  • 343. Sam  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    When you accept an offer for kindergarten .. And you like the school .. You are not in the school boundaries .. Do you need to re apply again next year to stay in it or that’s it you stay in it till you graduate ?

  • 344. NowWeDon'tHaveToMove!  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Do have one question about Decatur. It only goes to 6th grade. What do you do for 7th and 8th grade? I am sure it is buried deep in this feed but if someone could answer that would be great.

  • 345. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Can anyone share about your experience with Keller? No one is responding about this school. I wonder why. 🤔

  • 346. veteran parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    343 – sam, you’re in you’re in.
    344 – lucky decatur-ites get to ‘do this’ all over again for 7th/8th grades. many go onto AC’s, some to other gifted schools, occasionally to a neighborhood school. I used to think that Decatur would eventually get a bigger building and add on those grades… but now I see that CPS has many other priorities.


  • 347. Sam  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Thanks veteran parent.

  • 348. @Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Most people who blog here are predominately north siders, so they don’t know much about the schools on the south side. I have no personal experience with the school, but heard it was great! Just check out the stats on cps.edu! Also, I am sure they will have an open house for accepted students, so maybe you can get a feel for it then. I know from looking at school rankings Keller has been at the top of the heap! Congrats!

  • 349. Near South Sider  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:46 pm


    Try posting your question on the south side thread:


    You can also scroll through the conversation to see others’ opinions on Keller. (I’ve heard great things about the school.)

  • 350. ET81  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I have one entering K with wait list numbers in the hundreds at all but one (waitlisted at 50), no offers for RGC or Classical, and sibling entering 1st with several low, low numbers on the magnet list and a spot offered at Decatur. Turned down ERGC last year (kicked self in butt until we got really lucky with a great teacher at a neighborhood school…so much comes down to the teacher and leadership)…received calls up until the first week of school. Fingers crossed for little one entering Kinder.

  • 351. New to CPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Both of my boys were just accepted to RGCs. My current 3rd grader was accepted at Pritzker for 4th grade with a score of 135. My 1st grader was accepted at Beaubien for 2nd with a score of 135. I’m happy they both found a spot since this is our first year in CPS, so I knew the chances were limited. But, that could leave us with kids in 3 separate schools. Advice?

  • 352. Decatur sib  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    @293 so frustrated: What is your zip code? Getting a little discouraged seeing that people have received acceptance letters from Decatur already so they obviously were sent out. Wondering if that is a bad sign or just bad mail delivery for 60625…

  • 353. mommy  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Tier 4
    Entering K
    RGC 146
    tested 45 minutes
    Applied (in order): Coonley, Edison, Pritzker, NTA

    offered Pritzker

    good luck everyone!

  • 354. AE  |  April 1, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Will post for those keeping track…

    Entering 3rd grade
    RGC – 127
    Math – 97
    Reading – 80

    No offers

  • 355. Sscf  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Flowingcity – Keller is a great school and you will love, LOVE, the first grade teacher, Ms. Jemison. She is really the perfect teacher for incoming students. The PTA is very active and the KAA (sports) has things for every level. I highly recommend soccer and joining ASAP as they have limited spots but it is the best way to know the kids and parents right away. It usually starts at the beginning of the school year – like day one. The staff is caring and approachable. The workload is not light, but workable. I am very happy, my child is happy and has made some great friends. Take the spot, get involved and welcome to the Keller Family!!

  • 356. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks so much!
    We live in north side as well. We are not sure to take the offer or not because of the commute. My husband applied for kelker since its ranked top three, and we want her to go to Edison, which is close to us. I don’t know if there’s any chance for her to get into 1st grade. Maybe stay in the neighborhood school and try again.
    Thanks again!

  • 357. Sscf  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Oh – yes, that would be a horrible commute. A shame, a great school but that is a really long commute for a little one. Good luck.

  • 358. DM  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Edison is currently going through a transition. The beloved principal was non-renewed and the search for a new principal is in process. There are new teachers at K, 1st and 2nd. So not many parents will be able to speak directly about them but I have heard only positives.

    The school is strong with many outstanding teachers and, in our experience, a welcoming, nurturing environment.
    Our family’s only frustration is with the language program. Maybe because French is not a tested subject the kids don’t seem to make a lot of progress from year to year. Friends who teach HS French are puzzled that many Edison kids don’t test out of French one.

  • 359. longview  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Tier 4

    Entering 3rd
    RGC 125
    R 99
    M 90

    Entering 6th
    RGC 134
    R 98
    M 90

    No offers for either.

    Does this suggest they will have a hard time getting into selective enrollment high school?

  • 360. conflicted parent  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    @316 nimakk@gmail.com many thanks!

  • 361. Kellermomofson  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm


    I am a Keller mom and have been for five years. It was the best educational decision I have made for my son. Very diverse. Parental support is fantastic. Teachers and staff knows each kid. Your child will love his/her experience with the Level 1 teacher. Keep a look out, you will receive notification of the upcoming new parent open house. Congrats and hope to meet you in the new school year.

  • 362. New to CPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    @PritzkerParent Are the before and after school options offered everyday? I teach at a school with the same schedule that is only 2 miles away. I could drop him off for before school and make it to mine on time. Then, he could do after school except on Tuesdays when he has goalie practice for his hockey team. It sounds like a great school.

  • 363. Beatriz Penalver Bernabe  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    We are going to accept the offer we got today from Skinner North!

    Math 99.9
    Reading 99.8
    Tier 4

  • 364. Lisha Chen  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Tier 4, Enter 1st Grade
    RGC 131
    R 99 and M 98
    Offered Bell (2nd choice).

    Our first choice was Skinner North which is closer to where we live and work. Anyone offered SN 1st grade seat?

    We did not have chance to tour Bell yet. Would much appreciate insights from Bell parents!!

  • 365. Kellerparent  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Flowingcity@330,345. Keller RGC is a phenomenal school. The Keller community is warm and welcoming. The first grade teacher, Ms Jemison is absolutely amazing! Students from all levels still come up to hug her! The entire Keller staff is outstanding and go above and beyond to stimulate and enrich the entire student body. We are so very happy there and our child loves it! I would encourage you to check out the Keller website for more information! There is a video of Ms Jemison featured by CPS. Congratulations! Your daughter is going to love Keller!

  • 366. Weebs1818  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    My daughter was offered a spot at Keller 1st grade. RGC was 132 and we are Tier 4.

  • 367. PritzkerParent  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    @new to cps, yes JCC offers before & after school care everyday from 730-9am before and 4-6 pm after. we’ve been really impressed with JCC, the counsellors make sure the kids do their homework after school and otherwise have lots of fun with them. And then if you wanted to do other special classes like music, sports, etc, they are usually 8-9am or 4-5 pm.

  • 368. Kellerparent  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    @Weebs1818- Congratulations! Hopefully you have read the posts from several Keller parents! She will love it!

  • 369. Weebs1818  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    @Kellerparent we’re stoked! My husband is a CPS RGC alum himself. We have heard great things about Keller!

  • 370. DCB  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Tier 4

    Entering 2nd
    RGC 112
    R 90
    M 97

    Entering 4th
    RGC 133
    R 91
    M 98

    No offers for either. They’re already both at a RGC, albeit one of the weaker ones.

  • 371. Confused  |  April 1, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    Can anyone help me understand the scores. I see people posting 125 and we received a letter with percentages. What percentage gets you into Beaubien Tier 4?

  • 372. cpsdistressed  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    @371 I think the percentage scores refer to the classical testing. Beaubien is a regional gifted center. How old is your child? Did you do both the RGC and classical testing?

  • 373. cpsdistressed  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    @370 Just curious which school you consider one of the weaker ones. I know nothing about how the schools compare.

  • 374. shikarishambu (@shikarishambu)  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    @272 Yes, same story here. Looks like either CPS experience is bad or the testing experience.

  • 375. Entering 4th  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Entering 4th
    RGC 150
    Offered Pritzker

  • 376. El DeSan  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    My 3rd grader got accepted in Pretzker. Can anyone tell me a little more about this school? I was hoping Skinner north but for some reason his reading score was only 81!!!! And math 99% He is always 99% on maps so I am very surprised with the reading score.

    Please give me your input

  • 377. Options  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Is there a ranking of the RGC schools? I’m just curious as to how they are ranked. Thanks!

  • 378. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    @kellerparent, kellermomofson and other parents who gave advice about Keller school.
    Thank you so much for the information! I truly appreciate it. Now, it’s getting harder to make decision. Of course, I want my daughter go to Keller, but at the same time, I’m not sure if we can handle one hour commute to school everyday. Also, how about the safety?

  • 379. AE  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    @ 376 El DeSan. Can you post the RGC score? Thanks and congrats on Pritzker.

  • 380. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    My husband found the ranking here:
    It’s 2014 though, hope it helps.

  • 381. Curious about Bell  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Bell Parents – We have heard that the 1st grade teacher is amazing, however, the 2nd grade (and perhaps others in the older years) are terrible. Have heard they give lots of homework/busy work…would love to hear insights.

    @prouddad – is that one of the reasons you want to move to Edison?

  • 382. Near South Sider  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:38 pm


    Just another data point for you to consider is that Keller has a start time of 7:45. With my night owls, I know we’d be late every single day, so I didn’t even bother to put the school on my list. 😀

  • 383. Curious about Bell  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Here’s a post from last year’s thread:

    “446. 3 | March 23, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    We would pull our youngest from Bell’s RGC if we get a Hawthorne spot. Like I said earlier, first grade is fantastic. After that it’s years of inconsistency, shaming, and a dismissive administration. If you make it to seventh grade, the teacher is great also.:

  • 384. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    @near south sided
    Yeah… Our bad. Didn’t do the homework..😓

  • 385. Maria  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Offered Beaubien for 1st grade, will decline, too big, over 1000 students.
    RGC score 127
    Reading 99 and Math 97

    We also applied to Skinner West, how does that work? No mention in the letter. Is it a waiting game now?

  • 386. Flowingcity  |  April 1, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Oops. Mistyped. Suppose to be near north sider. Sorry!

  • 387. Neighbors  |  April 1, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    RGC 135, Tier 4. Got an offer at Beaubien for first grade. It’s very close to my house, so I listed it as my first choice. But lately I haven’t heard great things. Can any Beaubien parents give me some insight into how things are over there? Does the overcrowding of the neighborhood school affect the RGC? Do you think we might get another offer if we decline this one?

  • 388. fourthtimearound  |  April 1, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    @387, That’s a good score! You would likely get another offer. I have heard there have been a few issues at that school but I do not have experience with the school. I would think the overcrowding of the neighborhood school won’t affect the gifted classrooms, since they are assigned through OAE and they only take so many.

  • 389. New to CPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 11:15 pm

    My 9 year old is #9 on the Beaubien wait list. What do you think our chances are of getting him into the gifted program there so we could have both boys at the same school? They both scored 135 and we are Tier 3. I don’t understand if the wait list for the magnet has anything to do with RGCs.

  • 390. El  |  April 1, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Does anyone knows what is needed to get accepted for skinner north at tier 4 for 4th grade and also for kindergarten?

  • 391. LotharOfTheHillPeople  |  April 1, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Seeking 4th grade RGC spot at Bell or Coonley. Got neither, and kiddo scored 145.

    Also, for those asking about Bell, there’s been a fair amount of turnover in the Options program in the past few years. Some of the current teachers are awesome and really spark the kids’ interest in learning. However, some are pedantic or rigid, and one or two are downright abusive (one of my children had a teacher who should have been fired years ago and yet stays on despite years and years of complaints by parents). So if you have a child who is compliant and doesn’t require any accommodations (such as a 504), he/she may get through OK.

  • 392. Confused CPS  |  April 1, 2016 at 11:45 pm

    Was happy with our neighborhood school and know a ton about it but got into Coonley RGC – having a really hard time figuring out what to do. Want to connect with Coonley RGC parents to find out more.

  • 393. Beaubien?  |  April 2, 2016 at 12:28 am

    @387 and @388 :

    Can you share more about what you’ve heard about the school lately? What are the issues you’ve been hearing about?

  • 394. Dr. Pepper  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:17 am

    There was a Keller open house on the OAE calendar for today, but they’ve removed it. I called Keller, and they told me that OAE made a mistake, and there’s no new student open house scheduled. The woman I spoke to also said that they will try to accommodate tour requests, but the current students are PARCC testing, and they won’t do tours during testing. She told me to call back on Monday and try to schedule a time before April 15 when the Confirmation Forms are due back.

    @60643Mom: We’re also 60643. I look forward to meeting you!

  • 395. Karyn  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:18 am

    I asked earlier about Lenart for K. Does anyone have any experience or insight they want to share?

  • 396. SNMommy  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:39 am

    For those who got acceptance letters for Skinner North, check out the Friends of Skinner North’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofSkinnerNorth/

  • 397. akt  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Entering K
    tier 3
    RGC 142
    Offered Pritzger

    We applied to Pritzger at the last minute after finding out there was only one K class at each of Coonley and Edison. We know nothing about it, although reviews of the gifted program are good. The problem with it is we live in Albany Park, so it’s a ways away.

    Does anyone know if bussing will be a reasonable option? Or is my Kindergartener gonna have to catch the bus at like 7 in the morning for a 9 o’clock start?

    We’re considering declining in the hopes that we get called for Coonley or Edison (much closer to us) in later rounds, but it seems like the chances would be slim. Any experience with waiting till later rounds with a score that seems to be on the cusp?

  • 398. Tier4Mom  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:47 am

    @397 After 1st rounds Tiers will no longer matter… therefore, I think 142 may not be high enough for Coonley or Edison. The scores seemed really high for them in round 1

  • 399. Tier4Mom  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I posted this earlier but can any parents that tested, for 1st grade, for Bell post some results… trying to figure out if we have any hope for round 2. My daughter scored 121 in Tier 2. Thanks.

  • 400. Tier4Mom  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Sorry.. Tier 4 not Tier 2 @399

  • 401. C&Cmom  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:53 am

    @Kc is you child in the regional gifted at Carnegie? We got an acceptance letter for kindergarten. I’m looking for parent input on the program and school.

  • 402. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Tier4mom – we got an offer at Bell with a 120 but we are Tier 2. I’m new to this but seems like Tier 4 scores need to be much higher.

  • 403. Mom72  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:19 am

    I’m curious about school climate/culture for middle school at Coonley in the RGC. I have an anxious and quirky kid. Any help, advice, parents who want to email would be more than welcome! My email is lella27@yahoo.com.

    Thank you in advance!

  • 404. Tier4Mom  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:20 am

    @402 Thanks… The Tiers matter but only in round one so I’m trying to figure things out for our family and any info. helps me make a more informed decision.

  • 405. Ktj705  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I received a letter for the selective enrollment schools only. I didn’t receive anything for the RGC schools yet. Does anyone know if this will be mailed separately? RGC Score = 142

  • 406. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:05 am

    @397 My son comes from Jefferson Park and so does his friend. Currently they are picked up from Beaubien at 7:45, and my son says there is also pickup from Volta which I would guess pick up time to be around 8 or so. They get to school around 8:45-8:50 every day. My daughter was offered a seat in the FA lottery and will be entering 1st there at Pritzker next year. She will be riding the bus as well. We love the school and it was the only one I wanted. We tested for SEES seat at Pritzker and FA hoping to cover bases, but felt she would not test well (she didn’t) and so was really relying on the FA seat. We are ecstatic.

  • 407. Kellerparent  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:12 am

    @ 378 Flowingcity- Keller is one of the best kept secrets of the south side. It is a small school tucked away in a quiet Mt. Greenwood neighborhood. I have never heard of this school having any safety issues at all. I do understand your concern for the commute tho! Our child boards the bus at 6:15. It was a concern to us as well. We all have adjusted beautifully. Keller school draws in students from every part of the city! Well worth it! You do have a tough decision! Best of luck to you!

  • 408. NW side parent  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Entering 1st grade
    Math 98%
    Reading 98%
    RGC 124

    Offered a sear at Decatur

    We live in Jefferson Park, and are thrilled our son was offered a seat at Decatur, but were now a little worried about the commute and are thinking about trying to get into a Coonley or Bell, don’t know if that would be a good idea after seeing some of the scores kids had who didn’t get into those schools. Does anyone have any info or experience with Decatur they can share? It would be greatly appreciated.

  • 409. Parentof2  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Entering 1st grade
    RGC 125
    Will decline offer for Keller and be placed back on the waiting list.

  • 410. ProudDad  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

    @Curious about Bell, Lisa,
    Yes, as i said earlier the first grade teacher is fantastic. but not sure about the further grades. But i heard the same as others. But that is not the only reason we opted to test this year as well. We wanted our kid to get in to RGC program which starts from K, since i have another younger kid. If both kids goes to same school, it would be convenient for drop and pick up.

    On a further note, we have decided to accept the offer from Edison. so there will be a open spot at Bell for 2nd grade, next year.

    @StayinginCPS, thanks for your insight. Is there any uniform requirement at Edison? How about the after school program? Is it conducted at the school facility or at a different location? any other positive or negative points about Edison? How about the homework? etc.

    Thanks all..

  • 411. West Side Parent  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Does Pritzker has a magnet component or it is only RCG?

  • 412. Mom60641  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:23 am

    It has both. We’re actually still waiting for our SEES letter, but our daughter received an offer for the non-RGC side.

  • 413. 2inarow  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:56 am

    @Tier 4 mom, regarding Bell, see below. I also saw an earlier post with same RGC score of 131 for Tier 4, also offered Bell.

    @Ktj745, based on my experience so far, the SEES letter includes both scores for Classical and RGC (assuming tested for both) AND any initial offers from Classical or RGC in that same letter. They are grouped together. You cannot be offered from both Classical and RGC at the same time. If you accept a Classical, you are out of the running for future offers from other RGC and Classical schools.

    I’m wondering if anyone has gotten into NTA 1st grade with RGC 131? It would be more convenient location-wise than Bell for us, and now I’m a little frightened by the comments about the upper grades, which makes me wonder if we should keep him at Newberry. On the other hand, I love that Chinese is offered at Bell.

    Tier 4
    Kid 1, entering 1st grade
    Math 80, Reading 99
    RGC 131
    Offered Bell RGC

    Last year results when entering K:
    Math 88, Reading 98
    RGC 131 – at least he’s consistent

    No offers initially, received offer for NTA RGC mid-June and initially enrolled but then pulled out in favor of Newberry to guarantee both kids a good school. Although, in retrospect, given our younger kid lucked into a good school anyway, we regret declining the NTA offer.

    Kid 2, entering K
    Offered LaSalle and Newberry (sibling). Will take LaSalle.

    Tested 30 minutes
    Math 95, Reading 67
    RGC 137
    No SEES offers but given our first son’s experience last year, wondering if he might get an offer for NTA RGC in later rounds.
    In any case, we feel lucky with our options.

    Reasons for not placing both kids in Newberry: 1. Not entirely satisfied with K experience although suspect this is teacher-specific as upper grade parents seem happy. 2. While our son is not at top of class, he is close enough that I wish he had more competition. He’s a lazy little bum 🙂 3. Would really love a school with language.
    In the end, it’s a personal fit issue, not a condemnation of the school, which is well regarded.

    Sorry for long post. I am making up for not posting at all last year. I found this thread invaluable when considering our options and thank everyone for sharing information!

  • 414. Hermosa Parent  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:04 am

    @397 Bussing for Pritzker: “Free busing to and from school is available to students living more than one and one-half miles from the center. ” listed on the Magnet Program page of their site.

    We were accepted this round so I don’t have any experience, but we are curious since we are outside the boundary. We will be attending the open house

    Pritzker Open House: April House 10am-12pm http://pritzkerschool.org/apps/events/

  • 415. Flowingcity  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I’m very much appreciated for your comments! It’s very encouraging! I can’t imagine how determined and dedicated parent you are! We decided to go visit the school to check out the driving distance and the environment. If we take the offer, besides the long commute, we also need to change our younger one’s preschool to avoid the different directions. It’s very tough and challenging! But once again, hope it will be worth it at the end as you said! Best wishes

  • 416. StayinginCPS  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:19 am

    @ProudDad Congrats on deciding on Edison!

    There are no uniform requirements, except for gym. The kids have gym twice a week and are supposed to wear “spirit wear”, which consists of an Edison T Shirt and blue (and I think now black) pants and sneakers. However this year this was expanded to include “team shirts” (college or pro) as well as spirit wear. The gym teacher is retiring mid year (in a few weeks) so we will be getting a new one, so I am not sure if these requirements will change with the new PE teacher.

    This year was the first year of the after school program! Previously all after care (except for some special activities that did not run the full year) was done offsite. But FINALLY there is after care through a company called Youth Guidance at the school. I believe it goes to 6pm? (we don’t do the aftercare). There are also after school fee based enrichment activities. They are things like Mad Science, Robot City, fencing, math club, cooking, pokemon club and even chainmaille. These are generally once or twice a week and children can participate and either get picked up by their parents or go straight to after care. We do enrichment but not aftercare, but those I know that do the after care seem to like it and the coordinator has been great!

    Homework is really dependent on the teacher. We have had some teachers with a lot, and some not so much. All, for us, has been manageable. I know you are entering 3rd, and they do get quite a bit in 3rd. As I had mentioned, some parents, don’t love the “worksheets” and would rather see more RGC type homework. However, in 3rd, I didn’t think it was unmanageable at all. The great thing about Edison is their last “period” is supposed to be “intervention” which is time for them to do homework, go see a teacher if they need more assistance, or just read. My child doesn’t love homework, so uses his time wisely and completes the majority of his homework in intervention. Some kids do not and therefore might have more at home. But it will vary depending on the teacher.

    Other negatives as someone mentioned, I am not really sure after 6 years of French if my child should know more. I definitely don’t think he is ready to speak in France! It seems to be a lot of videos and now online stuff….Science has a new teacher and I personally don’t believe he is as strong as the previous science teacher. Topics seem too easy and definitely not what kids older than my child were covering..which is sad.

    Pros there is plenty of technology! Due to a three year tech plan, each child starting in K has access to a one to one device. K-3 (ipads) 4-8 (chromebooks). The kids do lots of cool stuff with them as they get older google docs is common place. In 4th grade they work on a few macs and do a ton of great stuff with imovie and similar programs. We also have a pretty great computer lab for testing as well, and the library is beautiful…however we have been without a librarian all year due to budgets and the kids have had significantly less time there (a big con!). The facilities are new and nice with big beautiful classrooms and huge fine arts room.

    If you have any other questions, please ask, I would be happy to share what I know.

    Additionally, would you mind sharing any specifics of what you “heard” about the upper grade teachers in Bell Options? (2nd, 3rd). I realize everyone’s experiences are different as are everyone’s children. Someone posted that it doesn’t get better until 7th? That seems like a lot of teachers to go through that people don’t gel with. And I totally understand you don’t have personal experience with them.

    Thanks so much for your insight!

  • 417. DecaturWonderings  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Is there anyone on this thread with knowledge of the possible Decatur relocation and/or expansion? I read that only 40% of their students are accepted into the Academic Centers. Many red flags if there is no opportunity for expansion. No gym, lunch in the classroom….according to the presentation from 2013 on the website, if a child had to score 99% in all w/ straight A’s and still couldn’t get in an Academic Center something is wrong…what happens with PARCC now? I’m sure they will outperform, but it may take awhile to overcome that hurdle. ISAT is very different from the PARCC. Send some encouragement my way? Also, how long has the Principal been there. The article about the “shorts shaming” did not sit well with me at all. Then again, you will never find a perfect school.

  • 418. Firstgrademom  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I think that the RGC scoring is different for Kindergarten and all other grades.

    Kindergarten scores are from a max of 160 while 1st on up is from a max of 150.

    So, a kid getting in to an RGC for 1st-8th will likely have a lower number score.

  • 419. fourthtimearound  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:39 am

    @393, I’ve heard the administration is lacking, and that they favor families/kids and bully others. I’ve heard that climate wise there is teasing and division between RGC kids and neighborhood kids.

  • 420. Dai Bentley  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:59 am


  • 421. El  |  April 2, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Do you know why Pritzker is so low on state wide school ranking 67%. Initially when we selected this school I think the ranking was higher. My son got a letter for RGC. Was reading on line realizing this school is partial RGC. Do you happen to know anything more about this school? Is it in safe neighborhood

  • 422. 60643Mom  |  April 2, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Re: Keller… 🙂

    Our daughter got into 1st grade for the Fall and we already have a son currently there in 6th grade (he has been there since 1st grade, he went to Lenart for K). We have been very happy with our experience. With only 1 class per grade, it is a small school/true family atmosphere. Everyone knows everyone, which is awesome. The PTA and athletic association is very active, as is the LSC. As with anything, you get out of it what you put into it, so attendance at events helps to get to know the other families, who are very welcoming.

  • 423. El  |  April 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Thanks immensely. I will be there. I didn’t know about this event. It will help a lot

  • 424. Decatur sib  |  April 2, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Ugh again. Still no gifted/classical letter in 60625 mail today! Got the magnet letter yesterday. Anyone else in 60625 in the same boat or should I be worried?

  • 425. ProudDad  |  April 2, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    @StayinginCPS, Thank you so much for a great insight. We are so exited to be part of Edison family :)…

    Actually my kid is entering 2nd grade this fall…

    Regarding Bell, First grade teach is really fantastic. So we are totally satisfied with my kids performance and things he learnt at his 1st grade. She does lots of activities and handles first graders so well, which makes the kids gel with her so much and enjoy their work. she is a well seasoned first grade teacher.

    But the general talk is, that the standard deteriorates as the kids progress on high grades. which as we don’t have personal experience, i can’t comment more. Probably this could be cos of the comparison with the first grade teacher. but i am really not sure though…

    Based on their buddy program, where in 5th grade kids and first graders work together and spend time together, my kid enjoys his buddy company and the older kids teach younger kids on many things. All the older grade kids are also seems to be very happy and gel very well with their teachers. Last year, 26 out of 28 kids got into the best high school. One got into lane tech. Not sure about the other one.. In general all the parents are also pretty happy about Bell (It has 3 different programs though)..
    I will try to collect additional information on the coming days and update you (more specifics)..

  • 426. @Decatur sib  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    60630 here, also got magnet letter yesterday, today’s mail still had no SEES letter.

  • 427. B  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    @170 Thank you otdad.

  • 428. B  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 3
    RGC 141
    Reading 99.9
    Math 99.5
    Applied for 1. Edison 2. Coonley 3. Decatur
    Offered Decatur

  • 429. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Pritzker has a neighborhood/magnet cluster/RGC housed in this building. So it’s hard to determine what portion is just RGC since they don’t separate the scores. I have been extremely happy there, the kids are challenged and engaged, and the diversity is a bonus to us. The neighborhood is Wicker Park, like directly across the street from it. I have never had any problems although there is occasionally a car break in. Safety wise I think it’s safe. Down the street is Sabin and around on Division is Lasalle II. It’s proximity is close to all kinds of things, so they take field trips (at least from my son’s experience in 5th so far) often. Like we have been to Chicago History Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and the Planetarium. They are headed back to the field Museum next week. Each trip is less that 20 minutes from the school. Their Fine Arts program is phenomenal. I am glad I didn’t judge the book by it’s cover in this instance (the building isn’t the prettiest or most modern) and feel we lucked out.

  • 430. Maria  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    @ Decatur sib…I’m in 60625 and got both of my letters yesterday. Checking with the post office. I’m near Montrose n Kimball

  • 431. Near South Sider  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I only got 1/3 of the letters I was waiting on (one for my Pre-K 3 kid). The magnet letter and the SEES letter for older kiddo didn’t arrive yesterday or today. Boo.


  • 432. Mom of three  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Has anyone had experience with testing accommodations during Selective Enrollment testing? Our son has very high functioning Autism (previously called Asperger’s Syndrome”), and will be entering 1st grade in the fall. He is in a mainstream K classroom (without an aid) at a charter school and loves it. Although he did have an IEP in preschool, he DID NOT HAVE TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS written into his IEP. Therefore when he took the SE test last year as a preschooler, he didn’t have anything different than all the other kids. At that time he scored 96% for reading, 76% for math, and 116 RGC. This year, he does have testing accommodations (small group setting, extended time, etc.), and we were assured by the proctor on the day of the test that they had read his IEP and would implement everything. So we get his scores back this year, and his reading is 99%, but his math has dropped to 68% and his RGC score has dropped to 83. So my husband and I are a bit confused for a couple of reasons. First of all, his NWEA test results from this past winter (around the same time he took the SE test) place both his reading and math at mid-second grade. Secondly, it just seems odd that WHILE HE HAD TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS his math score would decrease by 8%, and his RGC score would decrease by 83 over the course of a year. We are questioning whether or not the appropriate testing accommodations were actually put into place. Anyone out there have any experience with this and/or know who we can contact to discuss this? Thank you!!!

  • 433. RGCfamily  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    For everyone asking about different schools, please take the responses with a grain of salt – highly disgruntled people and highly satisfied people are more likely to post. No school is perfect. The school and it’s atmosphere need to fit your child. There will be “good” teachers and “bad” teachers at all schools.

    Our family is at Bell and as has already been stated, the first grade teacher is fantastic. The second grade teacher we had (no longer there) is, to this day, still my older child’s favorite teacher ever. I have had conversations with SEES teachers, from several schools, and all have stated that every year they have parents that complain there is too much work and homework for their child, and at the same time have parents complaining the kids aren’t pushed enough. Plus, teachers come and go at all schools, especially now that the SEES programs are no longer funded the way they used to be. Obviously all CPS schools are struggling to keep any kind of decent program running because of the finances. The RGC program (at any CPS school) will never be like Science & Arts Academy in Des Plaines. RGC’s are at best, an accelerated program. After that, it is the individual teacher and the general atmosphere of the school that makes the difference. And it’s completely subjective. For OUR family, Bell has been fantastic. So, I guess I’m one of those happy parents that posts. While stressing academics, they also really try to make sure the students are happy, well-adjusted, socially conscious kids. They use “responsive classroom” to help the kids learn to deal with their own quirks, emotions and challenges and their relationships with others. Our experience has been that the majority of teachers are good (some absolutely fantastic) and they understand gifted kids (I mean that in the actual psychologically diagnosed sense) and are educated in handling some of the other “quirks” that go along with being, let’s say, atypical. Every teacher in the RGC program in Bell attended the IAGC conference this year to stay updated on gifted education. The school has a fantastic art and music program, and we are on our way today to go see the “Sign/Voice” production of Pinocchio where the neighborhood, RGC and Deaf programs all work together. They do a production every year with the help of teachers and parents. It is really something to see an entire cast not only singing and acting, but signing the dialogue. If your child has been given a spot at Bell I highly suggest you go see it. Today at 2pm or next Friday and Sat. It’s the perfect opportunity to experience the community and see what Bell is “all about.”

    As far as the upper grades at Bell I’m not sure what others are referencing. To be honest, the 3rd grade teacher is liked by some, hated by others. They have had some turnover (retirement and shifting to other grades) but our experience with teachers for grade 4 and up has been good to great so far. For us, a 5th and 6th grade teacher has been absolutely fantastic and celebrates divergent thinking. Again, subjective viewpoint. Kids at Bell learn Mandarin and American Sign Language. Bell also has a really strong parent base and (not to be tacky) fundraising component. This is the only thing that keeps the arts, language, etc. in a school. CPS is making it harder and harder for schools to keep these programs, if they have them at all. Personally I would not base a school decision on whether a school has French, Chinese, etc. since many schools might not have these a few years from now if they can’t raise the funds themselves to keep them. I don’t believe CPS funds language for the SEES anymore.

    I know I’ve wandered a bit off topic, but I just can’t stress enough to find the right atmosphere for your child. We did have an experience at another RGC and it didn’t work for us. That happens. You know your kid, pick what fits them regardless of test scores, school rankings and rumors. Just trying to offer some insight. Good luck everyone!

  • 434. Learning CPS  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    @417 Decatur Wondering

    There is an active expansion committee still doing what they can. At this point the focus is to try to get $$ to expand on Decatur’s current site. Clearly with everything going on in CPS, that conversation is at a bit of a stand still but it is not going away.

    Yes, the kids eat in their classrooms and they have no gym big enough for the whole school. But they rent from the JCC next door and use the multi-purpose space and their playground as needed. Not ideal by any stretch, but it hasn’t impacted my Decatur child’s experience as much as it annoys me.

    My child loves going to Decatur and that is far more important to me than the principal, who is not going to be your best friend but who hasn’t given me any real reason for complaint. I’ll be sad if they can’t expand before we get through 6th grade, but I wouldn’t have put my child in any other school…Decatur has been perfect for her.

  • 435. El  |  April 2, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    Thanks dearly for taking your time to help another parent. Great insights. I am going for tour this Sat. Wondered which high school most kids end up in. More specifically from RCG

  • 436. cpsobsessed  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    I have not set foot in Decatur in years, but given my knowledge of CPS, I would speculate that an expansion is unlikely given the other budget issues going on.

    I’ve had it pointed out that the challenge with Decatur getting expansion money is that by not being a neighborhood school, there won’t be a local community or alderman pushing it through (which is often what these things take.)

    Also, with many kids leaving for ACs, the time I toured (years ago) the principal openly stated that it wouldn’t make sense to expand to 7th an 8th grade when so many kids leave anyhow. It’s true that not every kid will get into an AC, but spots open at the RGCs/Classical schools that go to 8th grade, so I think most families find a spot. Back in the day, many of the Decatur kids went to Taft AC, as the cutoff score was lower.

    I think if Decatur is the right fit, I wouldn’t let the lack of 7th/8th stop you from taking a spot there. Kids are often ready for a change by then.

  • 437. MP  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Still no letters in Streeterville 60611..

  • 438. lella  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    @ mom of three-

    My son gets testing accommodations. He has had the aspergers diagnosis in the past, but doctors now dispute whether he even has a disability that is on the autism spectrum! Fun times. Some think he’s just quirky, anxious, with ADD, and has some sensory processing problems. Honestly, I don’t know and in a way it doesn’t matter. Just doing what I can for him.

    Anyway, he was tested in a small group. There were specific days when they did IEP tests, I believe. At one point this year I called to OAE because I hadn’t received a testing notification, and I was told that the delay was because of his IEP accommodations. I got the impression that they had IEP days/times. If you are not sure, make sure to call them and check. The number is on the letter you received. They’re actually pretty helpful once you get a human.

    About the NWEA vs the Classical test- I’m as confused as you are! My son scored super high on NWEA. He is well into the 99th percentile in both reading and math. His math scores (5th grade) were above a sophomore in high school level in math. Reading might be that high as well this year because he surged there. His Classical test scores were underwhelming. I think his reading was in the 70’s somewhere and his math was in the low 90’s. Luckily he scored a 150 on the gifted test and got an offer. Not surprising that he did well because I think it’s similar to an IQ test, and he does well on those too.

    I have no idea why the Classical test scores were so different from NWEA. One would think that they would match up. NWEA does adapt to students as they are working, and that might have something to do with it.

  • 439. gamutgal68  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    RGC 142
    Reading 73
    Math 88

    So she bombed the classical test. Thoughts on RGC score for Coonley, Pritzker or Edison?

  • 440. gamutgal68  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    OOPS! We are Tier 3, entering K.

  • 441. Parentof2  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    @439 She may get a summer offer for Pritzker.

  • 442. Learning CPS  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    “I’ve had it pointed out that the challenge with Decatur getting expansion money is that by not being a neighborhood school, there won’t be a local community or alderman pushing it through (which is often what these things take.)

    Also, with many kids leaving for ACs, the time I toured (years ago) the principal openly stated that it wouldn’t make sense to expand to 7th an 8th grade when so many kids leave anyhow.”

    CPSO – You are correct, that is one of our biggest challenges. We are on the CPS 10 year plan to expand but getting the right combo of voices to give us the money is the challenge.

    The principal is on board with the expansion efforts and as of late isn’t saying things counter to the efforts. The road block at this point is simply money, of which we all know, there are some big issues with right now. It could happen in 2 years or 10…I do think it will happen eventually unless CPS gets rid of the whole SEES system or Decatur entirely; the model is K-8 and there are only a handful of K-6 schools left.

  • 443. John Pearson  |  April 2, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    RGC 160
    Math – 77
    Reading – 83

    Entering K
    Offered Coonley and Disney
    Waitlisted at Blaine and Hawthorne

  • 444. Decatur 7th and 8th  |  April 2, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I am sort of scared to write this because I will antagonize some very strongly parent group but since my identity is not revealed, I am daring to write.

    Every year with new LSC members the expansion effort will start. There will be carefully worded surveys for parents about expansion. The principal and the staff surely don’t want the school to move in order to get 7/8th grade, I mean they are all settled in waiting for sweet retirement. Nobody wants to add to their commute for the sake of children getting 7th and 8th.The parents group itself in Decatur divides. Harsh words exchange between parents, tempers fly when there is mention of new building. Threads start, abuse starts and then some parents leave, some parents back off, some parents show their staunch support to LSC. The North side people don’t want the school to move because the commute will make them rethink the school while the others would want the school to move as it becomes easier for them. Then all efforts stop as the LSC chair’s kid get in AC and that is that. The saga starts all over again. This is been happening over and over again.

  • 445. PsyMom  |  April 2, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    Tier 3, entering K
    RGC: 153
    Offered Coonley

    No magnet offers, but waitlisted #30 (proximity) at Lasalle 2

    Can someone help answer a couple of questions:

    1. We live in Wicker Park and have decided we don’t want to move so we’d actually prefer Pritzker. If we turn down Coonley, is there any chance of an offer at Pritzker?

    2. Does it help to be on the proximity list? Is there any chance we might be an offer at Lasalle 2?

    This feed is terrific – thanks, everyone!

  • 446. KCK  |  April 2, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    @390 My DD got accepted to SN 2 years ago with 92 in Reading & 98 in Math for 4th grade in Tier 4. We turned down the offer and stayed at the neighborhood school.

  • 447. cpsdepressed  |  April 2, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Is Tier factored in for students applying to Bell, 1st grade?

  • 448. LSmom  |  April 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    @447, it is because 1st grade is the entry year.

  • 449. summermom  |  April 2, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    @PsyMom I know from personal experience that you will absolutely get a second round offer to Pritzker! We had an almost exact situation and what I learned was not to freak out and trust yourself.

  • 450. Kiddosmom  |  April 2, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    @cpsdepressed What were your scores. If you don’t mind me asking?

  • 451. PsyMom  |  April 2, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    @summermom – thank you. we really want to keep our lives sane by staying close to home so we’ll turn down Coonley.

  • 452. WesLooMom  |  April 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    Letters came yesterday in West Loop. No good news for our family. Good luck to everyone else.

  • 453. cpsdistressed  |  April 2, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    @kiddosmom- Entering 1st, Tier 4, RGC 135. I don’t really understand how the scores work so I have no idea what that means 😉

  • 454. New to South Side  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    KG Tier 2
    RGC 144
    Math 88
    Reading 99.9
    Offered Lenart and Sheridan
    I see a few families who got into Keller are from Lenart. Is that the natural progression for many families from there?

  • 455. Cpsmom  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    Does anyone have past experience of being allocated a seat in rgc after the first round?

  • 456. Concern  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Will any parents please tell me what is it like at Edison for science and math programs? I heard that the new science teacher is terrible, making the kids watching Bill Nye most of the time… Basically these students are not doing any hand on labs except online worksheet and video…Is it true? Son offered a spot for sixth grade, but I am hesitant to send him there! Thank you!

  • 457. AndersonvilleMomski  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Tier 4
    Math 99 Reading 99
    Offered Skinner 🙂 Second Choice after Coonley
    Also offered Lasalle and Chappell
    RGC 98 😦

  • 458. CB  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Entering K. Math 94 Reading 99.8 RGC 142
    Offered a spot at Decatur; wait listed for all our other choices. Any insight into Decatur and will there be an open house before the acceptance letters have to be returned?

  • 459. gamutgal68  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    @Parentof2- thanks!!

  • 460. CB  |  April 2, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    I should also say Tier 4

  • 461. parent  |  April 2, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    @439-440. Probably a good chance you’ll get an offer from Pritzker with a tier 3, 142. I don’t think Coonley or Edison are likely.

    @cpsdistressed, That’s a high score for entering first grade. (Scores for entering K are higher, different scale). Yes, tiers are used for applications for Bell, grade 1 (because it is entry level year). It wouldn’t surprise me if you get an offer in later round. Did you apply to Beaubien? I would think you’d have gotten an offer there if you didn’t already.

  • 462. Non Entry Level  |  April 2, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    @457 AndersonvilleMomski :

    Which Skinner were you offered (West or North), and what grade was your child applying for? Thanks!

  • 463. cpsdistressed  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    @parent461 She did get an offer at Beaubien but I have considered turning it down because even though it’s very close by I’ve heard not great things about the school culture there. That it’s too crowded for the kids to be adequately supervised, that there is some animosity between the RGC and the neighborhood school and that the principal makes a lot of promises but doesn’t deliver any real change.

  • 464. Maria  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:23 pm


    My son is currently at Chappell in K. I love the classroom size of 26, I love the teacher and principal. We were offered Beaubien and he did score 99 in reading and 97 in math. But we will be declining. I am very satisfied with the school, not going to change schools.

  • 465. Maria  |  April 2, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    @NWside parent,

    My son was offered Beaubien RGC. You mentioned you live in Jefferson Park. Was wondering if you knew about Beaubien?

  • 466. MMM  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Really appreciated the comments posted by current Bell parents! Very helpful. Thank you!

    To prospective Bell parents, I also found discussions from 2015 and 2014 helpful, particularly 2014. Check them out.

  • 467. elisejaffe  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Anyone out there NOT get the page of the letter that you’re supposed to submit back? I did not though we did receive a seat.
    Also,, need to respond by April 15th but next tour at Coonley RGC isn’t till the 14th – do I have to hand deliver my acceptance or Fedex it? that seems crazy to have to decide a day after.

  • 468. Dee  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    For those going to the Skinner North tour for new parents, do you think it’s ok to bring your child?

  • 469. K D  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Keller advice – we love Keller but the distance can be difficult for a few reasons:
    – Keller is very strict about the 7:45am start time. 3 tardies earns kids a detention.
    – The 3 year bus contract ends this year, It was a $110 million dollar expense. You can imagine that expense will be vulnerable with next year’s budget, so I would have a contingency plan in case there is no bus service.
    – Unless you live far west, you have to cross a number of railroad tracks. The frequency and length of delays has worsened.
    – It can be difficult to participate fully in the school community if you are not able to attend the after school events.

  • 470. IG  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    @psymom from what I understand, you can accept an offer, and if you get a better one, you just cancel your acceptance. Accepting doesn’t make the other offers stop from coming. Someone can correct me if I am incorrect.

  • 471. IG  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    @ 438. lella, some unsolicited advice. Take your child to see dr. Margolis in Arlington heights for a full developmental vision screen and some of the symptoms would be alleviated, most likely, for what it’s worth. You can google add and vision and high functioning autism and vision together and see percentage correlations. I’m a strong advocate for vision intervention, and most regular optometrists miss the issues in the US. You can read about their comprehensive vision screen on their web site to see the difference. When I hear gifted and add I always send there and it has helped every time so far. Just saying.

  • 472. 2ndKidforK  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    @akt We are also in Albany park and our older child goes to pritzker. It depends on where in AP you are. Our daughter catches the bus at 7:52 and usually arrives at school at 8:30 for the 9:00 start. She usually arrives home at 4;45. Our bus stop is Waters. Last year’s busing is much better. We caught it at Bateman at 8:15 and she was usually back at the stop at 4:25. But they got rid of the bus.

  • 473. Annie  |  April 2, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    I haven’t read much in terms of the climate at beaubien with the exception of what people have “heard”.Is there anyone who can comment on the program and school experience? I

  • 474. Mom of three  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    @ lella Thanks so much for the feedback! It sounds like your son is pretty much like mine. We started having him evaluated at two and a half, and couldn’t get a concrete diagnosis until he was almost 6 years old. We have also come to the realization that his formal diagnosis doesn’t mean too much beyond the paper it is written on. He is who he is, and we’re just trying to help him learn to navigate the world as best we can. I will try to dig deeper into the correlation between NWEA scores and the SE test scores. Hopefully I will get some answers!

  • 475. MP  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    We were planing to bring our son unless current SN parents think otherwise?

  • 476. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    @473 in regards to Beaubien: Our child was in that school for 8 years before transferring out to for 5th and my daughter was there for 3 and I will be transferring her out this year. I love many of the teachers but there is truth to the rumors. I am not trying to slander the school but I have had a long run there, so honestly I speak from experience.

  • 477. Caren Tarvin  |  April 2, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Tier 4
    Currently in 3rd at Skinner West
    RGC 139
    Offered Pritzker

    I’m taking it. Pritzker wasn’t our first choice, but we’re in an off year and the commute to Skinner West is killing me (we live near Edison). Pritzker doesn’t limit bussing, so we’re going to switch.

    So anyone looking for a round two opening at Skinner West for 4th grade…there’s going to be a spot.

  • 478. NW side parent  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:00 pm


    I don’t know anything about Beaubien’s RGC, we just moved here from Arizona and it was our neighborhood school, where he was in Kindergarten, RGC starts in 1st grade. Good Luck!

  • 479. llvmom  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:21 pm

    can parents whose kids in tire 4 entering 1 grade and accepted by north skinner report their scores?Thanks

  • 480. mom  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    @77 @214
    Those interested in Skinner West Classical should know that there is no differentiation for reading and math for classical students. This means that Tier 1 students who are accepted for scoring 99 in math and reading are grouped with Tier 4 students that are accepted and score in the low 80’s in reading and math. In Skinner West’s neighborhood program, however, there are 3 levels of differentiation. So students who score 99 in math and reading are separated and taught at a higher level than those scoring in the 80’s. The neighborhood program seems to offer some advantages over the classical program from this perspective. Also, Mandarin is now taught in both the classical and neighborhood programs.

  • 481. Jaysmom  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    @ New to Southside…Are you accepting the seat @ Lenart? I’m asking because I am same tier, but #2 on waitlist for Sheridan!

  • 482. El  |  April 2, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    What do you know about Pritzker? Do you think gifted school is better than selected enrollment or switching just because of commute! We also got to Pritzker. And I ranked it second due to a friend recommendation and also great reputation. I hope it’s the right decision for us

  • 483. anothercpsmom  |  April 3, 2016 at 4:09 am

    @482 I have two children at Pritzker and both are thriving. I don’t have the viewpoint of other schools for comparison, as both have stayed there since transferring from a neighborhood school. As another have posted, it does house RGC, magnet and neighborhood programs. We love the RGC program, and beyond that the music, art and drama programs are excellent. A huge part of its success, I believe, is parent involvement– not just financially– that have created invaluable experiences for our children.

    My daughter was just accepted to Whitney Young AC for next year, and I have left the ball in her court to stay or leave. I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I was less than happy with her progress at Pritzker.

    Let me know if you have specific questions; would be happy to answer as best I can.

  • 484. SNMommy  |  April 3, 2016 at 4:23 am

    @468 Dee

    Yes, you can bring your children to the scheduled open house at Skinner North. It would be nice for them to see the school and participate in the decision, too. It also can help calm their fears if they see their new environment first-hand. I would run FAR away from any school that did welcome your child at an open house. To make your life easier, make sure your kid has had a snack before they get there and bring them a book or something to do while they wait for the program to start.

  • 485. Former Beaubien Mom  |  April 3, 2016 at 5:29 am

    For all of those wondering about Beaubien…I am a former Beaubien parent. My child went there for K-6 (neighborhood K and RGC for 1-6) and has been out of there for one year now, at his first-choice academic center (AC), so my info is one-year old, but if you are in an information desert, you might welcome my dated perspective.

    (For those who do not yet know about academic centers, they are six-year programs, from 7-12 grade. Very challenging. Testing into them is bananas! North side ACs are: Lane Tech, Whitney Young and Taft. My kid LOVES his AC experience. We only left Beaubien so the high school decision will be done and he can relax and enjoy life again without pressure to get into the “next” school. He has so many good friends at the AC and is maturing right before our eyes, thanks to the incredible teachers and curriculum, and of course, his own hard work and normal development.)

    I have always maintained that the Beaubien RGC program there is a hidden gem. I loved it for that reason. It is not full of uber-competitive nutjob parents who are always jockeying for the next “best” school. It is easy to get to from the highways and is in a beautiful, safe little neighborhood full of hard-working people (we live in Jeff Park, so I am partial). There is a lovely huge park across the street and they have a great turf playground and play equipment on its property.

    When someone on this thread or elsewhere talks about Beaubien, do yourself a favor and make sure their kids are actually in the RGC program and can talk about that. For better or worse, there are very different experiences for both the neighborhood and RGC programs, like every school. I do not feel very qualified to speak about the neighborhood program, since we did not experience that, so I will not address much about it.

    I do know families who have had one kid in the Beaubien neighborhood program AND the RGC and many of them report that the differences are a little disappointing. They feel like the RGC kid gets so many more opportunities and challenges. The neighborhood program has such diverse students in full classrooms that kids who are doing well are not as challenged since the teacher has to focus on the entire class’s needs. Differentiation is tough to get and maintain in those classrooms, but the teachers try. I am not sure how different that is among other CPS schools, though.

    I will say that yes, there is a little friction at times between the RGC and neighborhood kids, but usually only in the upper grades, like fifth grade and up, when kids figure out there is a difference. “Why don’t I have class with you if you’re in my same grade?” at recess gets the awkward answer “because we are in the gifted program.” You can imagine how well THAT goes over! The school is trying hard to integrate the kids more, with monthly activity periods, but it takes time. I know that this is not unique to Beaubien and does occur in some fashion in every school that houses different programs.

    Possibly due to a very bad thing that happened about 15 years ago (some crazy RGC parents caused a stink over a t-shirt and the case went all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court, btw, the school won and sanity reigns again), the school seems to keep the RGC’s light under a bushel. Other schools aggressively promote their RGCs, but not Beaubien. I wish they would be loud and proud about it, but on the flip side, since people do not know much about the RGC there, we do not attract looney parents who school hop to get in on the next “best” school. The entry test scores have remained stable and sane, unlike some schools in the city where you need a 149 to get in in most tiers. Normal, smart kids can get in and thrive at Beaubien’s RGC.

    Maybe it has changed in the past year, but I also wish they would make sure that the parents who give the RGC tours actually have a child in the RGC. (I had so many prospective parents complain to me in the past two years that their tour guide did not have any kids in the RGC and could not answer even the most basic questions about what the RGC offered in the way of curriculum and teacher experience, which is frustrating for people who have to make an important decision quickly.)

    My kid, and I believe 13 other kids from the RGC, last year got accepted into ACs. I think that speaks well for those individual kids and the RGC. Those teachers really do a great job of preparing the RGC students for a challenging curriculum.

    At my kid’s academic center, only 15 projects went on to the city History Fair and FOUR of them came from kids formerly at Beaubien! I think that speaks very well for the individual kids and the level of instruction they received there. They do NOT get away with giving “easy” answers. They have to go deeper in their papers and projects, so they are used to the rigor when they get to middle school.

    When I went to the open house at my kid’s AC, I asked the math teacher about the kind of math they are teaching at 7th grade. He asked me where my son came from and I told him Beaubien. The teacher said he would “absolutely” be fine and went on to say that Beaubien kids are really prepared for the AC experience–they have no trouble with those kids keeping up and excelling. There are some SEES elementary schools that are red flags for him and his experience says those kids will NOT be prepared. That made me feel so proud and calm. (He was right, BTW.)

    The Beaubien RGC teachers are GREAT. My kid loved the upper-grade math, science and literature teachers in particular and misses them so much! They did not just phone it in–they worked hard to make sure kids “got it.” They treated the kids like mature, reasonable people, so that is what they acted like.

    Beaubien is a BIG school, with almost 1200 students. That could be daunting for someone who came from a small kindergarten. But the first and second graders are housed together in the newer annex building. When they get to third grade, they move into the bigger, older building (it’s well-kept and very classic Chicago schoolish).By then, they have the hang of it.

    There is only one RGC class per grade, so your child will be with the SAME 30-32 kids (give or take a move or two) for the entire time they are there. My kid LOVED that and made some amazing friends. For some kids who need variety, that might not work. A school that offers more accelerated classes per grade might be good.

    For the younger grades, they use Everyday Math which takes some getting used to, but I am now a fan. They have a robust Science Fair every year–some of the projects are amazing! In general, I would say the kids are working 1-2 years in advance at Beaubien.

    Beaubien has a small but mighty group of involved parents on the PTO. They have some great community-building events and fundraisers. I wish more parents were involved, but that seems to be the norm in every school across the country.

    The school does not use Responsive Classroom or anything across the board. They do have a guidance counselor who comes to the classes and has class conversation about topics such as bullying or diversity, which is nice.

    So in summary, if your child got offered a seat in Beaubien, do yourself a favor and go to the open house. Ask questions. Bring your child.

    Whew! That was long. Sorry! Best of luck to you all.

  • 486. Lella  |  April 3, 2016 at 5:48 am

    Thank you! You are not the first to suggest this, believe it or not. This has been a long journey. I’ll look into it again.

  • 487. TJ  |  April 3, 2016 at 6:17 am

    Beaubien is my neighborhood school. Both of my children tested into (first choice) Beaubien RGC. Both went through the program, then to ACs, and are now at the SEHSs of their choice.

    It’s a great program. 30+ bright kids together, with teachers that care. In CPS it’s a home run.

    Too big? No, they run the school safely. The small kids are off in the annex. By the time they hit 4th grade, they love moving to the big old building.

    However, the gifted/neighborhood divide is quite real. Living in the neighborhood my kids pretty much stopped socializing with non-RGC kids in the neighborhood after 5th grade or so. Or vice-versa. But that divide evaporates outside of the neighborhood. At any social situation outside of the 120 kids in your grade at Beaubien your kid will just be another kid.

  • 488. Yama  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:58 am

    @485 Former Beaubien Mom, would you available for a private chat? Please email me at yamkara@gmail.com if yes.


  • 489. LisaM  |  April 3, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Any Mayer parents that can offer a little insight on their experience with the school? We are moving and it will be our neighborhood school, but we are currently enrolled in private. Thinking of making the switch and would appreciate any feedback.

  • 490. New to CPS  |  April 3, 2016 at 9:55 am

    @Former Beaubien Mom,
    Thank you so much for the information. My son will be entering 2nd grade at Beaubien in the Fall. He is so bored at our good neighborhood school, so he is ready for the challenge. He recently told us that he loves learning, but he doesn’t like school. Our other son got a seat for 4th grade at Pritzker. We were really hoping to have them both at Beaubien because we live in Portage Park. He is number 9 on the wait list, but I’m happy with what I read about Pritzker. He can take the bus and will be fine.

    We moved to Chicago last summer from down state. At the time, our older son had been identified as gifted, but we didn’t know for sure that we were moving here early enough to try to get him in an RGC for this year.

    My husband is an education professor at Illinois State focusing on urban education. He has former students all over the city. One of them teaches language arts in the middle school at Beaubien. He is very happy that she will eventually teach our son.

  • 491. SkinnerGoldCoast  |  April 3, 2016 at 10:03 am

    We are bringing our son to the Skinner North K open house on Wed (and based on sitters we may have to bring our 3 year old too)!

  • 492. SNMommy  |  April 3, 2016 at 10:46 am

    @491 Children (including siblings) are welcome at Skinner North. They’re the reason it exists. You’ve got the tougher end of the deal–you have to be able to focus on the presentations and tour while taking care of your kids. 🙂

  • 493. LotharOfTheHillPeople  |  April 3, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    @433/RGC Family: wanted to comment on a couple of your comments.

    There is indeed no perfect school. And our family has been very happy with Bell in general. However, when it comes to the RGC, people applying should know that in the past five years, there have been 3 different second-grade teachers. New fourth-grade teacher this year. New fifth-grade teacher last year, and a much-beloved previous fifth-grade teacher leaving to go to another school a few years before that. Eighth-grade teacher left a couple of years ago. One or two left for personal reasons (such as a move), but not all. The fourth-grade teacher’s retirement was never even acknowledged/announced by the school, and she was very well-liked by many students and parents. There also appear to be more and more kids leaving for ACs, which means that 7th/8th grades have kids who have not been in the Bell RGC in previous years and may not be on pace for the accelerated program, if they are not transferring from another RGC.

    Of the teachers in the Options program, there are some definite standouts. However, there are some teachers that have misconceptions about how to teach gifted children, and some of them only seem to want to teach children who are able/willing to work at an accelerated pace and not differentiate instruction and/or make legal accommodations for those who are not high achievers across every single subject or have conditions such as ADD/ADHD or SPD. Responsive Classroom may be helping some of the teachers better manage their classrooms, but that is a CPS initiative and not all teachers are implementing it as they should. This is also the first year of RC, so we’ll see. CPS usually changes these things every couple of years.

    As for integration of programs, there is some integration here and there (such as for extracurricular activities). But except for a couple of grades, the programs are largely separate during the school day. There’s a definite divide, with kids in the neighborhood seeming resentful of those in the RGC and the kids in the RGC sometimes acting superior to the kids in the neighborhood program. The deaf program is invisible for much of the time. So if that isolation doesn’t bother you, fine. But you should be aware that it exists, even if the administration (and some parents) won’t admit it.

    Children do not learn Mandarin in school after fourth grade. That was cut a year or two ago (although my understanding was that it was at least partially funded by a Chinese organization and not CPS). It is offered after school now, however. ASL instruction has been spotty in recent years. Some of this is of course due to CPS cutting funding, but if it’s a priority for the parents/school, the parents will find a way to fund it. The fact that a foreign language has gone by the wayside for gifted students at Bell — indeed, all the students above fourth grade — is unfortunate, since many of their peers at other schools are being exposed to a foreign language during the school day. And with the amount of homework in the upper grades, it can be nearly impossible for a child to take a foreign language outside of school hours, if they want to have any free time at all.

    Bottom line: Our family does not have experience with other RGCs, so we have no point of reference. This may be a good fit for others, and prospective parents should tour the school and inform themselves. However, they should be aware of some of the program’s (and school’s) shortcomings so they can decide for themselves.

  • 494. hyyyyyy  |  April 3, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    Does anybody know if Decatur have open house?

  • 495. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 3, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    I think one parent said people who post here generally either love their school or are disgruntled with the school. That is completely true, as we all have different experiences. So one person can give a glowing review and another can give a scathing. The positives don’t outweigh or nullify the people who have had negative experiences at a school, or vice versa. Take every “review” with a grain of salt of course, and do your own research/tour, etc.

  • 496. FirstTimer  |  April 3, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    Applied for 1st grade.
    Tier 4.
    RGC 128
    Classical Reading 90/ Math 99.
    Offered Bell.
    But it just says “Bell,” not “Bell Options” or “Bell RGC.” So
    is it the Gifted program, or not?

    Thanks 🙂

  • 497. LSmom  |  April 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    @496, it’s the gifted program (Bell doesn’t have a lottery for the neighborhood program)

  • 498. conflicted parent  |  April 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    @493 Thanks! This is helpful information on Bell RGC. Why so much turnover and is the quality of the new teaching staff better or not so much? In my opinion, good teachers who can differentiate matter no matter RGC vs. neighborhood. Despite some of the shortcomings you mention, why do you stay? Peer group? something else? If in Options, do parents get involved in the broader school community? I’ve heard mixed info on the principal-thoughts?

    Currently my KGer is in a decent nearby neighborhood school with a group of 4-5 equally bright kids in his class and a very good KG teacher, so really this is a tough decision on how important a RGC/accelerated cirriculum is for us, though my kid is very naturally inquisitive/loves learning so I think might like the RGC peer group/environment. but am having a tough time deciding whether to do the RGC thing vs. stay in the neighborhood.

  • 499. parent  |  April 3, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    @498- I’m in the same boat as you and the advice i keep getting is – do the RGC program – if you don’t like it then you have the neighborhood school as back up but if you turn it down you have to go through the whole process again!
    Also I didn’t know Bell had an RGC program – I assume cause it just starts at 1st?

  • 500. Soon2BeCPSMoM  |  April 3, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I’m so confused about how these scores translate when the 4 year olds are given one test. So my little one scored 128 on RGC, but 82% in reading and math. So she made the cut off for both but no offers. I only applied to two schools—Lenart and Poe. Im wondering if I pigeonholed her application. Any parents at Carnegie that can share what scores your child had entering K. Also, do you like the school? Also, can anyone explain how these scores correlate? Looking for some pointers next year for 1st grade.

  • 501. Maria  |  April 3, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    @conflicted parent,

    I am in the same situation….my son has a great KG teacher and the test scores are good, but he was offered an RGC spot……ugh

  • 502. A little help...  |  April 3, 2016 at 6:22 pm


    Just to be clear, there is no “cutoff” scores for selective enrollment elementary schools, per se. There is no formal “your child scored X number, so they automatically get in.” There are only so many seats. Your child is competing with every other child who had that same school listed for the same tier. Those who score higher than her get the seat. Even if she got a 99%, there could be someone with a 99.9% in your same tier who gets the seat instead of her.

    As far as pointers for next year, I would say cast as wide a net as you can possibly cast, including magnet schools and any school you could reasonably get to every day. Based on your choices, you sound like you are on the south side. In addition to Carnegie, you may want to think about Keller, Beasley, NTA and McDade.

    As far as scores go, some kids just simply do better on one style than the other, RGC vs. Classical. Allegedly, classical is “what you already know” like reading and basic math and the RGC test covers aptitude and logical thinking.

    Your child’s 126 score is promising for RGCs–you may still get an offer as the spring and summer wear on and people make their decisions and seats open up. Her classical scores (the percentage ones) are not high enough for most classical schools. Next year could be a whole different ball game as she matures and gets better at this weird kind of test-taking. (I would be nervous at four years old to go into a room with a stranger and answer questions!)

    Some people give their little ones formal test prep. I am not a fan, but I absolutely can understand why they do it. You could try it. Or you could simply expose her to more logic puzzles, more reading, etc. My kid had a HUGE jump in reading during kindergarten, AFTER he took the tests, naturally. Just keep it fun and low-stakes.

    Good luck!

  • 503. Dr. Pepper  |  April 3, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    @454. New to South Side

    I wouldn’t say it’s a natural progression to switch from Lenart to Keller. For us, the issue was that we always intended to apply to Keller, but it doesn’t have a Kindergarten class. That means you play the Lottery/Testing game for Kindergarten so your kid is in the best place possible, and then you play the game again for first grade.

  • 504. New to South Side  |  April 3, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    @Jaysmom I haven’t decided yet. I will attend the open houses and go from there. I literally know very little about both schools.
    @Dr. Pepper thank you for sharing. Keller is the end goal for us as well for at least right now. Was it stressful for your child to do all over again? Do you think one school (Sheridan or Lenart) prepares the child more for the climate at Keller? How many kids are in a kindergarten class at Lenart? Can you speak to the teachers?

  • 505. Been There  |  April 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Hi @conflicted – We switched from a great neighborhood program to a RCG in primary. After we left the neighborhood program, some disruptive students transferred into the neighborhood program and the neighborhood classes were slowly getting larger and larger. Plus, I know my child would have become less challenged as they entered intermediate and upper grades in the neighborhood classroom. The benefit to the RGC is that the class size is capped, the teachers tend to be more stable, and as your child gets older, the material will become more challenging than a neighborhood program.

  • 506. CPS.PAPA  |  April 3, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Entering 2nd grade RGC scores? Anyone got in to RGC what score was accepted for 2nd grade?

  • 507. 3isacharm  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Anyone have any info on Clissold,Owen,or sutherland third grade?

  • 508. Choices  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    If you are happy with your neighborhood school that is your best option! After trying two different RGC in three years and now at our neighborhood school I realized not only how much time I wasted, but how it was a terrible decision for my son. What matters, at the end of the day, is the community your child thrives in – everything else really just falls into place.

  • 509. Maria  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Just got an email from Beaubien RGC. About taking a tour on April 7th. Will be there.

    1) Can anyone tell me about how big the RGC class sizes are?

    2) How do they handle the bully situation there?

    3) How much pressure is put on the kids?

    ….Any other questions I should be asking On the tour on Thursday?

    Thank you,
    I appreciate any answer or suggestions

  • 510. El  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Which community school does he go to?

  • 511. Old IP Mom  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Entering 2nd
    Tier 4
    Classical Reading 99 / Math 97
    RGC 109

    Applied Skinner North and Skinner

    No offers. Any insights on hopes for second round?

  • 512. Momof3fish  |  April 3, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    @506 my son was accepted in 2nd grade 138 but that was years ago

  • 513. ToDecaturOrNot  |  April 3, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    Would someone please provide their perspective on their experience with Decatur? I know that it is very subjective, however I’m interested in knowing more about the school culture, leadership, and your overall take.

  • 514. ToDecaturOrNot  |  April 3, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    …by the way, thank you!…(513)

  • 515. Beaubien  |  April 3, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Current or former Beaubien parents, please can you share your experiences with the administration? Have they been welcoming and approachable, if difficult situation arises, or are you on your own?

  • 516. headstart mama  |  April 3, 2016 at 10:19 pm

    my girl
    entering kindergarten
    tier 1
    rgc 147
    reading 76 math 84

    offered NTC (1st RGC choice-selected primarily based on the sanest commute for us to ensure I don’t lose my job to Chicago traffic)

    i work. we spend our evenings talking to each other while we make dinner, rather than drilling math and reading. her little fingers peel garlic with a quickness. she is so engaged, I don’t worry about pushing her to read or work math problems. she will learn to read. I can help her with trig someday. these tests tear at my oppressed heart strings. how interesting, that my kid in a head start program is killing it on the ability style test and and coming in lower than most on this blog on the ability style test? it’s the reason for the tiers y’all. what does it mean when a kid scores lower on the ability and higher on the learned behavior test? I think it means we have a long way to go. this process is frightening. i hope, given the limited time and information available to make a decision, I make the right one. in the end, she is my responsibility and i will give her all i got and know it’s enough.

  • 517. New to CPS  |  April 3, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Entering 2nd grade
    RGC 135
    Offered Beaubien

  • 518. LotharOfTheHillPeople  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:18 am

    @498: Answers to your questions …

    Not sure of all the reasons for the turnover in some instances, because parents often aren’t told why and we have not been able to substantiate certain rumors. However, it’s clear that some good teachers have left of their own will and therefore there have been problems with new teachers learning the curriculum, consistency from grade to grade, things like that. Also, as you likely realize, instability in an organization generally indicates some problems with leadership.


    In my opinion, good teachers who can differentiate matter no matter RGC vs. neighborhood. Despite some of the shortcomings you mention, why do you stay? Peer group? something else?

    My children have had some very good teachers who truly care and know how to engage gifted children, and they are close with their peer groups. So we have tried to appreciate the good in the program despite some of the shortcomings largely because we want to stay in the city and can’t afford private school. Sending the kids elsewhere to an unknown new entity would not only be a longshot (in terms of actually getting in), but would also increase our commute and diminish the already-precious free time that is left in between school, homework, and the occasional extracurricular activity.


    If in Options, do parents get involved in the broader school community? I’ve heard mixed info on the principal-thoughts?

    Some of the parents get involved in the broader community. When they do, it’s good for everyone. But many don’t. They drop off (or send their kids by bus) and don’t come inside the school unless it’s for report card pickup. So they are somewhat disconnected from the school and not really part of the community.

    As for the principal, some parents whose kids were there when the previous principal was there believe that the current principal lacks the vision of the previous principal. Parents with no experience with the previous principal, as well as some old-timers, are fine with the current principal. The demographics of the area have shifted somewhat in the past 10-15 years, with new homes in the neighborhood priced between $1.5 and $2 million. The neighborhood program has also grown so that now the ratio of neighborhood-to-RGC kids is about 3:1. Much of the fund raising is also done by the neighborhood parents. So some RGC parents believe that the principal focuses on the neighborhood program and neglects the RGC.

  • 519. Mom73  |  April 4, 2016 at 3:22 am

    My kids are at Decatur since kindergarden. Prior applying, I did some extensive research and toured several top choices. I still believe overall Decatur is the best for us. The best thing I like about the school is its teachers and admins…who are loving, experienced and dedicated to the school. Almost all the teachers have been there for years. Turn overs are very minimum. The admins are professional and friendly. They are traditional, predictable, reasonably strict. The school has only selective students; so everyone is same…no feelings of privileges. PTA is doing a lot for the kids…art, tap, music, chess, choir, running…and works well with admin. They just added a theatre program. Latin teacher is awesome that my kids are so into Greek Mythology books. It gives kids a deep foundation of literature…although no one uses it!

    The biggest problem is Decatur has no 7th and 8th grade. As a results kids transfer to other schools as early as from 1st grade. Another problem is that the school seems to be so poor. It is a shame that the school has performed as a top school in Illinois for so many years yet under such limited budget. Kids seem to be fine with it. They have all their essentials and really appreciate the air conditioning that was just installed last year.

    My kids love Decatur. When they get a fever and can not go to school, they really miss it. It is their home away from home.

  • 520. Beaubien parent  |  April 4, 2016 at 6:22 am

    Re: Beaubien
    I have a child at Beaubien RGC. We are only a couple of years in so I can’t speak much about what goes on as kids get older, but we have no regrets so far. I don’t know about / have never seen or heard about bullying. My kid takes a bus, so I’m not on the playground after school that much.

    We have talked to the Principal and AP several times as they are usually present at school functions and are very approachable, but we’ve never had any major issues that need addressing… other than a chronically late bus driver that the AP helped us get rid of.

    There seems to be about 30 kids/ class on average. They are challenged, but not too stressed. I can’t speak for everyone. It is not easy. There is homework and projects, but they don’t take over our life (usually!)

    The parents make a big difference. The parents we’ve met both from our kid’s class and from other grades at bus stop, are very involved with the school and various classrooms, but are not hyper stressed helicopter crazy. It is a huge relief.

  • 521. Maria  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:20 am

    @Beaubien parent,

    Good morning and thank you. That helps.

  • 522. CS  |  April 4, 2016 at 8:26 am

    @beubien parent (#520), @TJ (#487) and @former Beubien mom (#485) – thank you! You guys kick ass in terms of your willingness and ability to provide honest insight. This is exactly what we needed. I wish you were still there, @former beubien mom, because you sound awesome.

  • 523. cps mom-to-be  |  April 4, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Thank you Mom73! We’re looking forward to attending their open house (next) Monday.

  • 524. 60643Mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 9:20 am

    In regards to Lenart and Keller, I echo the parent who shared about Keller not having a K class. Our son (now in 6th grade) went to Lenart for K and he/we were very happy there. However, Keller is closer to where we live (in 60643) and thus, we had him tested for Keller, “just in case.” He got in on the first round that year, for first grade, and we accepted/chose to move him. Likewise, our daughter is at our neighborhood school this year (she didn’t get into Lenart) and is very happy. However, she did get into Keller for 1st and are accepting the spot/moving here there. All three schools, IMO are awesome and certainly have strengths and weaknesses. I highly recommend giving Lenart and/or Keller a try, given the opportunity.

    Also, our son didn’t get into Lenart until the 5th round back then. So for those waiting for subsequent rounds, it happens. 🙂

  • 525. Joy5555  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:14 am

    Tier 4
    going into 1st grade
    M – 98
    R – 99
    RGC – 122
    We received our first choice of Decatur.

    I also wanted to write as to why Decatur is our first choice. A couple notes- my child hasn’t attended Decatur yet and I work in education.

    I believe strongly that the very best schools have three things – 1. a loving environment 2. smart teachers 3. project-based learning. I toured Decatur and from what I heard, the school has all three. First, I was blown away by the excitement of their students; I had the impression the students felt safe to express themselves and loved. The vice principal knew the students by name and engaged with them continuously. I was told that the teacher turnover was low, several teachers had been students at the school, and even the secretary had 3 kids who went through Decatur. The teachers I met gave me the impression that they were at the top of their field, especially, the Latin teacher and the two math teachers in the older grades. Last, is that Decatur engages in a lot of project-based learning which I believe prepares students for their future which is much different than ours. Decatur not only does project-based learning, but does extremely well in project-based competitions like the illinois science fair (I believe they have a strong history of being number 1). Here’s an article on project-based learning.


    I know someone who is an adult now who still talks about and thinks about her time at Decatur. She loved the environment. I think it has something special despite the overall CPS problems.

    Last, my take on the 7th and 8th grade issue with K-6 Decatur is first that I hope they can add a 7th and 8th grade before my son graduates. Second, if they don’t, I think I’ll send him to the local private school for two years. 7th and 8th grade are extremely difficult growing/changing years for children and in 7th grade they have to take the test that determines where they go to high school. If he went to the local school with his neighborhood friends, he’d have time to study for the test and he could get the A’s he needs to get into high school. Am I missing something on this?

    Anyway, that’s my two cents on Decatur … I’d love to hear yours!

  • 526. CB  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:26 am

    @ Joy5555 Thanks for your info on Decatur. My son was accepted for Kindergarten and it’s nice to hear your perspective. For anyone curious, there is a tour for parents only on Monday, April 11, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. You must already be accepted to attend.

  • 527. New to South Side  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Thank you 60643Mom for your insight. We live in the South loop so commute will be difficult but might be worth it for the education. What I don’t want is for us to not feel like we are part of the school’s fabric. Are there any other families who attend Keller, Lenart or Sheridan that live in the South Loop, Bronzeville or UIC area? I said UIC because that is the area we are moving from and we still have family there.

  • 528. Chicago School GPS  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:44 am

    We are adding the Open Houses we know about to our CSG Calendar: http://www.chischoolgps.com/Calendar.php

    And those looking for more info regarding CPS Gifted and Classical Schools, we have a seminar on Sunday, April 11 at 11am-1pm down at IIT, co-presented with Critical Thinking Child and Chicago School GPS. We will discuss the types of schools, the admissions and testing process, and how to help your kids regardless of if they are in a SEES program or not. More info found on chischoolgps dot com.

  • 529. Chicago School GPS  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Oops, I meant Sunday, April 24 @ 11am-1pm at IIT. Sorry! http://www.chischoolgps.com/CSG___Elem_Gifted_Options.html

  • 530. Beaubien dad  |  April 4, 2016 at 11:04 am


    I agree with @485. Beaubien is a great program. I have had kids at four different RGC’s, and Beaubien is no better or no worse than any others. It’s about what fits your family best.

    I have no experience with the Principal, but I know Mr. Kotis, the Vice Principal. My son has been in physical altercations several times at recess, with non RGC kids. Nothing serious, and the Administration handles it well, imo.

  • 531. ktj705  |  April 4, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Thank you for the response. We tested in November and received her test results in 2015 – Gifted, Math and Reading were all on one letter. But when I received my letter this weekend I only had the lottery schools listed and none of the RGC’s.

    I called CPS this morning. They told me that I should receive a separate letter today with the RGC’s results. We Applied to Edison and NTA. Edison is near my work and NTA is by our home.

  • 532. Jenan  |  April 4, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Does anyone have children at Salazar? We’ve been offered a spot for our son starting Kindergarten and are considering it. We also have good wait-list numbers at Sheridan, NTA and Galileo.

  • 533. Dr. Pepper  |  April 4, 2016 at 11:31 am

    @New to South Side

    There are LOTS of Bronzeville/Bridgeport/South Loop families at Lenart. Plenty of kids ride the bus from all over the city.

  • 534. Ktj705  |  April 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

    One of my clients had her children there until the my moved further north – west lake view The mom was very active on the school and she loved it – so did her children. Her children are very smart and speak English and Spanish fluently from being in the school. The mom and the children spoke very highly of the school. The are now at inter-American magnet school and they love it as well.

  • 535. Chris  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    @493: “kids in the [Bell] neighborhood seeming resentful of those in the RGC”

    That’s pretty funny.

    Seeming, by what indication? Resentful, in what way? Has some class of Options kids recreated the Beaubien debacle of 2003?

  • 536. New to South Side  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    @Dr. Pepper. Thank you that is helpful. I was not aware of a bus. Excuse as I am new to CPS. I will most certainly ask about the bus when I go tomorrow. Were there play groups and activities that families participated in outside of the school day? How strong is their after school program?

  • 537. SEESalumnus  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 3
    141 RGC
    90 reading
    91 math

    No offers (Edison, Coonley, Decatur, Skinner N, Skinner W)

    I called OAE to find out our chances with RGC, but they said there are no waitlists for SEES. They would not reveal the minimum scores that resulted in offers for each school (private information). I called Coonley and they told me to call OAE again because the ranking is available. I called OAE again, but they told me that 150 was the minimum score for RGC (which doesn’t match some entries above).

    Can anyone advise on how to find out how many children are in front of mine in line? Should I contact the school or OAE?

    I really appreciate the help.

  • 538. PBL?  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    @525. Joy5555

    Where did you hear that there is project-based learning at Decatur? That’s PBL news to this current DCS parent…

  • 539. 2 in SEES  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm


    If you’re looking for another parent to weigh in on Decatur, I am happy to do so as well. I am a current parent with (thank goodness) two children in the school, and both have been there since kindergarten. We have been there now four years. I have a terrific neighborhood school as well, and so the choice to initially attend Decatur was a tough one for me.
    Yes, it is a haul to get the kids to the bus stop or to drop off every day. My husband and I both work, as do many of the parents at Decatur, so it is a commitment made for the program. Yes, there is not a seventh and eighth grade, but like others have mentioned….most of the kids I know in the SEES program test for 7th grade Academic Centers or alternatives because it is a lot of togetherness for the smaller program populations, and because Junior High is a good transition time anyway.
    A full picture of the school, would, in addition to these challenges, give you the following:
    1. A student body who is safe to explore their academic interests in any possible topic they want from Hercules to Minecraft and beyond.
    2. Teachers who truly are committed to their curriculum, and to Oral Presentations–a tremendous life skill, and to being involved in their students’ lives. The school has a volunteer led run club, where teachers run alongside the students…..because they want to, not because they have to…..They come to support our students at Chess Tournaments, Geography Bees, Invention Conventions, and events not even organized by CPS.
    3. A parent body that come from across the globe. The diversity of the school can’t be categorized fairly in U.S. Census boxes of Hispanic, African American, etc. Decatur’s African American’s are just as likely to hail from Somalia and South Africa as they are Chicago’s neighborhoods. The kids celebrate their heritage from Kindergarten forward, so that we have the opportunity to learn from student peers and parents as much as the curriculum.
    4. A PTA and LSC that are really well led and very invested in making sure great things come in small packages. Decatur has a thriving Arts program with dance (hip hop to tap), theater, art, music and more. In a time of tough economy, these parents and community members make sure the students do not miss a beat in terms of a full academic experience.

    I am sure when you tour the school, you will see the enthusiasm for learning and the pure school pride these children possess. Ask them when you are there….the children are not shy on this topic, and will probably convey in their oration a more eloquent position than I present.
    There are no perfect solutions in CPS. Decatur is a book that can not be judged by its cover……open up the pages and you will find a great story. Happy reading 🙂

  • 540. Matt  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    99.8 reading. 84 math. No offers. Anything else I can do?

  • 541. asianmama  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    We applied from out of state (Tier 3 address), but are moving out east instead. My son (KG) got M98 R92 and got accepted into Poe. Daugher (1st) M80 R99, no matches. We would’ve sent my Asian son to a majority black school if we had ended up moving to Chicago. He probably would’ve been in the minority in a majority white school if he had the scores anyways. So what’s the difference? I saw a comment asking about the safety at NTA because the neighborhood program is majority black and I wanted to intentionally make this comment for some of you scared white people that find comfort in being in the majority. Not that this comment changes anything… The CPS process is insane and so stressful, this mama’s heart goes out to you all 😉

  • 542. SEESalumnus  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    For what it’s worth, I went to Decatur (30 years ago) and it was great. As a student, I didn’t care that we ate in the classroom and didn’t have a gym. I didn’t know that schools were supposed to have a cafeteria and gym. When I toured as an adult, I was disappointed in the facilities, but I would gladly send my child there, knowing from personal experience that the facilities don’t matter much to the kids.

  • 543. SN Mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I have to agree. I am an educator and Decatur seemed very traditional/old school to me when I toured. I didn’t see PBL happening there. When I asked the principal about the math philosophy she said “we don’t have one” and the third grade teacher was very negative about this new “common core” math (I think she was really referring to constructivist math) and said she preferred and taught the “old school” method.

  • 544. Matt  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Should have mentioned entering kindergarten

  • 545. Joy5555  |  April 4, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I’m looking for data on gifted children. What’s the most recent research and information? Good books you could recommend?

    Here’s my dilemna:

    Our neighborhood private school is good at teaching social emotional skills, community, god in everyday, less stress and anxiety. But I believe the gifted school is better at developing like-minded friendships, cultivating interests, discouraging perfectionism (it’s not challenging so I have to be perfect), and dissuading boredom.

    Anyone else grapple with this?

  • 546. Joy5555  |  April 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    My two cents from a potential parents perspective on Decatur’s math program and projects.

    1. They are definitely doing projects – someone mentioned them doing the invention convention, and the illinois science fair. I have heard several times from parents that there were a lot of projects. They are definitely doing projects.

    2. A teacher being negative about common core, doesn’t mean she was negative about the type of math being taught. That’s apples and oranges. My take on it is if you’re good at math, it just doesn’t matter how you teach the initial concepts. It’s the exploration on the subject after you learn the basics (something I definitely saw at Decatur) that’s important. For example, one of the teachers is working on stock market picks with her students … fascinating and relevant … but definitely an add on to the curriculum.

  • 547. Beaubienmomofthree  |  April 4, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I have one kid in the RGC and 2 in the neighborhood program at Beaubien. Our kids take the bus to school, so I don’t do any after school activities for them. We have had a few talks with the principal in the past few years (Ludford) and while we felt like she heard us and was sympathetic and going to address the issue, it never happened. For at least 2 years I was asking her to find a way to meet the high achievers in the regular ed classrooms and she brushed it off and nothing ever happened. The RGC kids are separate, but on occasion mix with a regular ed class for music or art. From what my child says, they just stay to themselves while together in the class. I’ve had to address bullying, and can say I haven’t been very satisfied with the response, despite them introducing this Olweus bullying program. There also was a whole fiasco this year of children being pulled from the neighborhood program into the gifted program, who did not test or go through SEES. That created a hoopla and in the end OAE got involved and the children were placed back in the neighborhood program. The principal ticked off a lot of parents by going around the selective enrollment process. My child in the RGC has been challenged in regards to the work and they have a strong math program. The experience in the options program is quite insular and so it literally is like night and day until the kids realize the difference and then some tensions arise. There are a couple of teachers that I found abrasive but overall their options program is decent. My child will be testing for AC in the future.

  • 548. Courtney_Mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    RGC: 127
    Classical Math: 99, Reading: 87
    Thoughts on Pritzker or South Loop?

  • 549. Chris  |  April 4, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    @543: “the third grade teacher was very negative about this new “common core” math”

    off topic a bit, but I’ve not found *anyone* positive about the common core math–at least as seen through the instructions materials that CPS has chosen to make available. Horrible!!

  • 550. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    @548 I really like Pritzker, and am excited that both of my kids will be there as of September. Involved parents, diverse student body, challenging curriculum and fantastic fine arts program. I’d give it a chance, there is an open house this Saturday from 10-12.

  • 551. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I actually find the CC math to be good; the problem is the instructional materials they use. It makes a big difference. Also, teacher training is important. My son’s teacher was phenomenal at teaching math, and I sat in her class pretty much every day during her math lessons and I learned a great deal about math that I struggled with in school, or not realizing what I was actually doing when I did the algorithms. It was refreshing to see it done well.

  • 552. 60643Mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm


    There has been a busing system, that CPS provides (free of charge for years), however from year to year it is not a given, especially with the budget issues of late. So it does allow kids to get bused in from all over the city and Keller also has kids coming from many different locations. As for play groups and activities that families participate in after school, we have a very strong PTA and parent led athletic association. In the fall we have co-ed soccer teams with combined grades 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th, etc. The PTA hosts monthly dinners at a local restaurant in the area, it is a fundraiser (in that the restaurant gives back to our PTA/Teacher wish lists). We have a Father/Daughter dance, a mother/son event, Halloween Party, End of Year Picnic, Fitness night, Math & Science Night, Art Night, Family Reading Night, and I am probably forgetting something. There are afterschool program options. And most grades have a Facebook group or Google group or email list they use to connect and keep in touch. A lot of families invite the whole class to b-day parties (though not required) to help everyone socialize more outside of school. Often parents from a grade will coordinate a BBQ or meet up at a park or someone’s home, before the school year begins. You get the idea. We are a very active/family-like school atmosphere.

  • 553. Learning CPS  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:28 pm

    I will reinforce that there are definitely projects happening at Decatur. In fact just today the 2nd graders are hosting their Famous Women project open house based on having to research a woman of their choosing, build a presentation board with a timeline, etc. and give an oral presentation without reading from a report. The other week we had Primary Dance night at the same time as the 5th grade history fair which included huge project boards, demonstrations and student made videos. Each year the 4-6 graders demonstrate science experiments to the K-3 kids; I am never not amazed at how articulate and knowledgeable they are as they demonstrate science concepts to the younger kids. I have an awesome DVD of my child from Kindergarten that the K teacher makes and gives to the students at the end of the year of two project/presentations they do – one at the very beginning of the year and one at the end. So amazing to see the progress in oral presentation! These are just a few examples.

    Not sure when SN Mom toured, but we did just have 3rd grade teacher retire over the summer and I would imagine she had her long-standing preferences on teaching math. The two 3rd grade teachers this year are both younger teachers (one was my child’s 1st grade teacher last year and we loved her) and probably stomach common core a little better or at least are less verbal about it 😉

    Congrats to all who have been accepted and have the opportunity to consider it for your family!

  • 554. Chris  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm


    “I actually find the CC math to be good; the problem is the instructional materials they use.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s what I wrote. What I can see of CC math *is* the instructional materials.

    How does one judge ‘common core’ anything, except through the instructional materials? Common core is (1) standards (you should know this), (2) criteria for evidencing the achievement of the standard (you meet the standard by doing [thing]), and (3) the instructional materials.

    First, I *love* the concept of national standards–it blunts the insanity of (eg) the curricula at some Louisiana charter schools.

    BUT: WTH is it point of having 5th/6th graders shading 64 squares to show (eg) they understand 8×8 is the same as 4×16??

    Maybe I’m making a bad assumption that the instructional materials are designed to be prep for the PARCC test, but I doubt it. The materials are following the criteria–because that is easier than designing materials that get kids to achieve the standards, and be able to satisfy the criteria thru deep knowledge.

    What you saw was a great teacher, not a great instructor of ‘common core’ math. A great teacher is (1) unfortunately not all of them and (2) able to get her/his students to CC standards *regardless* of the instructional materials.

  • 555. Claudette Bernadel  |  April 4, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    For those who are considering Edison do your research……test scores are not representative of the real deal here. My child attended since K and was given A and B in math .This year , as a fourth grader, they finally realized he is behind! They have him working out of a different textbook than others in his class and it bothers him.Too little too late.I truly bel these teachers hand out grades to appease parents who in a few years will test for SEE high school, since parents at Edison are extremely generous to the teachers around holidays…plus Edison can boast about their high school acceptance rates.I was told at one point by one teacher, Ms. N that my child was bringing down our schools scores, I quote.Now this same teacher this year ironically is the so called coordinator working with him on math! Recently she remarked what a disservice it was that after all these years he never received any interventions. In my opinion it is not worth our long commute or having kids at different schools.Edison is pure hyperbole and my child is not returning for more B.S..

  • 556. Hopeful In Old Irving Park  |  April 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Does anyone have experience in getting an offer on next rounds? Kindergarten:
    RGC 138
    Scores for classical just ok, probably no chance.

  • 557. Hopeful In Old Irving Park  |  April 4, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Tier 4

  • 558. tanyastabler  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Has anyone else still not received a letter? I’m in 60625

  • 559. 2nd round ...maybe???  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Entering 4th
    tier 4
    RGC 147
    Only applied to Coonley since sibling goes there.

    Since score is high should we pester someone over the summer to see if a spot opens up? If so, who? Principal or OAE people downtown. Any suggestions welcome. Thanks!

  • 560. MP  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Still no letter in 60611.. If we did not teceive email from SN I would be going crazy now… I hope it was not April fool’s joke!

  • 561. cpswonderland  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I’m still waiting for SEES letter for kindergarten application (for older child I already got both letters). 60615 is my zip code.

  • 562. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm


    In no way was I being combative or disagreeing with you, so I’m unsure of your tone, but anyways, yes, I do know it is standards and not curriculum. I have had to explain that to MANY people. Yes, the teacher was great, but she was meeting the standards of CC and using CC based math program. So while I agree, she is simply a great teacher, she herself will tell you (as I have had several discussions with her about it) that she has had to rework and learn CC methods and she understands why it’s taught the way it is. IDK which publisher 6-8 grade was using where you know, but they don’t have that in their materials in the upper grades at either school my children are at.

  • 563. waiting...  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Still no SEES letter for us as well.

  • 564. Chris  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    @558: Like others, have received one, but not another. OAE website sez to call if not received tomorrow.

    @559: “Since score is high should we pester someone over the summer to see if a spot opens up?”


    “If so, who?”

    In the past, it has been the principal, but OAE may be exercising more control. If you talk to the principal first, you might get better intel about possible spots, tho.

  • 565. Maria  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:36 pm


    I received mine on Friday and I’m in 60625. My friend received hers and she is more north and she received hers

  • 566. 2nd round ...maybe???  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Thanks Chris.

    We always have been confused about who decides 2nd round entry into RGC later grades. Some folks have told us the Principle since they might know when a spot opens up and others told us OAE folks call all the shots.

  • 567. Decatur sib  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    @558 tanyastabler I’m in 60625 as well and I still have not received the RGC/Classical letter either (did get magnet lottery letter on Friday). Misery loves company! 🙂

  • 568. Julia  |  April 4, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Any Decatur Classical Parents living in Bucktown? Daughter got in for first grade and have a few questions regarding the commute. Thanks!

    R: 99
    M: 98
    Tier 4

  • 569. mpaul  |  April 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Can anyone rate the Pritzker Gifted program . teh school in general did not seem impressive.
    Any comments is helpful since we are new to CHICAGO.

  • 570. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 4, 2016 at 5:25 pm


    I have had nothing but good experiences with the gifted program at pritzker. The building is worn and not the prettiest but the teaching has been fantastic and the fine arts program is amazing. If you scroll through the comments you will see a few other parents who are also Pritzker families who have happy, thriving children there as well. I say give it a shot.

  • 571. so frustrated  |  April 4, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Why my SEES letters not arrived yet?!! Still waiting!!!!!

  • 572. parent  |  April 4, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    @571, Me too! We are in Jeff Park. Calling OAE tomorrow.

  • 573. Decatur opinion  |  April 4, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    @525 You asked a few questions and invited opinions on Decatur. So here goes. Take them or leave them. 🙂

    1) Have you met the principal? She is a real peach. VERY loving. Here’s a glimpse of her character in action:


    2) “Project-based learning” as you described it at Decatur sounds suspiciously like what just about every SEES school in Chicago does. It’s not bad, it’s just not PBL. True PBL is not dabbling in a science fair, history fair or even a quarterly project. PBL has a different philosophy, structure, teacher training, etc. Its outcomes are even measured differently. Sure, it’s cute and all and the kids learn a lot from their Wax Museums, History Fairs, Science Fairs, Invention Conventions, etc. but do not confuse that with PBL or think Decatur does something other SEES schools do not.

    3) Unless a CPS miracle happens or the whole CPS gets privatized, they are not adding a 7-8th grade at Decatur in our lifetimes. Do not count on it. ESPECIALLY if the Decatur parents and administration continue to lobby for it with the elitist tone as they do. I once saw them do a presentation at a CPS facilities meeting at Taft and the Decatur parents and the principal were so condescending and snobby, it was appalling. They spoke without shame after about 5 schools who were there, literally begging for things like bathrooms for their schools and air conditioning. It was bizarre that Decatur would ask for an addition or a new building for, as they repeatedly said “gifted” students, as 50 schools were being closed in the city and people were begging for working toilets in their schools or the right to not have reading classes held in closets! The only thing that saved them from being the biggest entitled jerks of the evening is that the Lincoln Park school community was there, and almost got into a fistfight with one another over boundaries.

    4) As far as the road running out at 6th grade at Decatur, yes, I think you might be missing a few things. I think you are not factoring in the social part of school, how your kid changes over time and some of the assumptions you are making about your local private school may be off-base. You also should have Academic Centers on your radar screen for after Decatur.

    Most kids cannot be plugged in and out of different schools that easily and still be ok with it. Change can be tough. Your little five year old may seem resilient to you now, but you never know.

    Also, he may not really have “neighborhood friends” if he goes to a different school than they do for 6 years. They will have established their groups by then and he will have to work his way in as a new student. It may be tougher than you think.

    After Decatur, he will be the “new kid” at his neighborhood or private school during the growth (let’s call it the “hormonal” period) you described. If things continue as they are in CPS, he will face insane pressure to be “perfect” in 7th grade so he can get into an SEHS. That means straight As in 7th grade, 99% on his standardized test and a near-perfect on his entrance exam. All while being the new kid at school. Try getting a 13 year old to care about getting perfect everything when he’s starting to get more independent, getting zits, noticing girls, playing sports, sleeping teenager hours, etc.

    You are also assuming your child will continue on the same path he is now. He is what, five years old, and you are assuming he will have an easy road from 1-6th grade. So much so that you think he will have an easy time in the neigborhood private school, with enough time to get his As and such. That school might be harder than you think.

    Life throws you curves. I have seen so many promising kids who have scored even higher than your child start to slide and get Bs and Cs in the SEES, particularly classical schools which admitted them based on what they knew already, not precisely aptitude. Some struggle through and right themselves, some give up and slide into crap grades, some move to their neighborhood public school. You can never tell. Plan on every plan you’ve made to unravel when it comes to your kids.

    And finally, Academic Centers, the 7-12th grade programs in the city. Every kid at Decatur will be trying for AC seats. They will all take test prep classes to try to help get an AC seat. Your child’s next “perfect” year is fifth grade. Perfect grades, perfect tests. Ugh.

    Best of luck to you!

  • 574. New to South Side  |  April 4, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    @60643Mom thank you for ask your insight. Did you find similar programming at Lenart? 5Essentials seem to say that the culture and climate at Lenart is fairly weak.
    I know that our daughter is only in kindergarten but the end goal is Keller. Should we concern ourselves with this if we only plan to be there for a year?

  • 575. Joy5555  |  April 4, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    @573 – The tone is all wrong. Ironically, you were as condescending and snobby as you depicted the Decatur parents at the CPS meeting.

    However, I am very grateful you encouraged me to go to that link.

  • 576. Near South Sider  |  April 4, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    No SEES letter here either. Ugh.
    Can I call tomorrow in the morning, or do they want us to wait to see if it comes tomorrow in the mail?

  • 577. Ed  |  April 4, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Are there any current Edison parents that comment on how the process for a new principal is going? Will there be a new assistant principal as well? Is there a high teacher turnover at this school? I have heard there is no librarian or gym teacher anymore, is this correct? Sorry for all the questions, really trying to get a feel for this school since we weren’t able to tour!

  • 578. 5th_grader_mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    I would like to find out any movement for 6th grade for RGC. If anyone got accepted, would you mind share the score?

  • 579. mama  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm


  • 580. Lella  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:07 pm

    @5thgradermom- My son was accepted to Coonley 6th grade with a score of 150. I think that’s a top score. I posted a bit ago and I’m still hoping a Coonley parent will fill me in on climate and culture there in the upper grades. No luck yet! I spoke with the OAE today and it sounded like he was one of few accepted at this grade.

    Did they give you a composite score too? One thing that I did was compare that to the academic center cut offs for this year. It might clue you in on whether he might make it into an AC next year (Lane Tech, etc). It might be worth holding off if you like that idea. Just a thought.

  • 581. North Center Mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:12 pm

    @575, I don’t get condescension and snobbery from @573. I pick up on the anger and frustration. And I understand it. There are so many things wrong with Chicago and CPS that there are times you want to scream. There are some useful facts in that rant.

  • 582. Ktj705  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    You can go to the CPS OFFICE location downtown with an ID to request the letter in person.

    You can call and have them mail it again; or

    You can request an email of the letter which will take 48 for you to receive.

  • 583. Near South Sider  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    @579 Mama

    Thanks! I just filled out the form.

  • 584. ERGC Parent  |  April 4, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    @577/Ed…I am current Edison parent in an upper grade. I hopefully can answer a few of your questions from my perspective.

    The new principal process seems to be going well. From what the LSC has said there were over 20 applicants and they are narrowing them down. I believe all have been interviewed and I think a principal forum is in the next few weeks where the top candidates will speak to the parents. As has been mentioned, it is a very hot topic at ERGC with many families having very strong opinions one way or the other..some of these opinions have been spilling over in social media which makes this process very divisive. No matter how people feel about the decision, I myself, at this point know the decision has been made and we need to move forward and be positive that we will gain a great leader.

    It is my understanding that the Principal and AP go hand in hand as the AP is hired by the Principal. So, ,my guess would be a new AP will need to be hired. Again, could be wrong here. It would be a shame as the AP is pretty great, in my opinion.

    Turnover: Historically there hadn’t been much, but recently the K, 1, and 2, grade were replaced. K and 2nd retired and first was given a new position at the school as Social/development coordinator. Personally (again my opinion) a new 1st and 2nd grade teacher was needed and though my child is past those years, I think it must have been an improvement. The beloved 7th grade teacher also recently retired (2 yrs ago maybe?)…but was replaced by a fantastic teacher, who had taught at the school in a “extra” type position and is a former student! The Science teacher left for good last year after having her second baby, and again, in my opinion the Science teacher now is not strong. The gym teacher is also retiring this year…but WILL be replaced this year ,I know the Principal is actively interviewing for the replacement (not sure if it will be interim or not as it will still be in this school year). This current principal has only be this position for 4 years as well, but was the AP for years previous to that and a teacher at the school before that. So, it might look like a lot of turnover, but many were retirements. You are correct we did not have a librarian this year, which has not made many parents very happy.

    I will say we have many fantastic teachers at the school (can’t really comment on the new early grades..although they say the K teacher AMAZING!…haven’t heard much about 1st and 2nd).

    Hope this helps a bit. We are happy to be there and look forward to positive changes in the coming years.

  • 585. 5th_grade_mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    @Lella, what is your son’s composite score? Did he apply for Lincoln IG?

  • 586. LR  |  April 4, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Wow. I just did a quick scan of the comments. I have a 6th grade options daughter at Bell and a 4th grade options son at Beaubien. I’m shocked at the negative perceptions. Keep in mind, with all the choices we have in Chicago, I feel that one unfortunate outcome is that the grass is always greener on the other side. But, truly both schools have been great experiences. I’d say Bell is a bit more “whole-child” focused and has been a great fit for my very verbal daughter. I’m sad to be leaving…she just got in to Lane Tech’s Academic Center. No, the teachers do not get worse as you go up in grades (as mentioned before the only stumbling block is the 3rd grade teacher). In fact, one of the best is the 5th and 6th grade social studies/language arts teacher who I would describe as magical. And Beaubien is great, too…a real hidden gem and I hate to hear all these people passing it up because it’s too big? I mean Bell is 200 kids less. I don’t feel like that’s a big deal because an RGC is a school within the school. It feels smaller because you are with the same roughly 30 kids from year to year. I feel as though Beaubien is a bit better fit for my son, who is a more left-brained math kid. We commute from Lincoln Square and it is 15 minutes…not bad at all. His first grade teacher rocked. She is now at Edison : ( But really we’ve had just a string of great teachers there. I purposely kept my son at Beaubien (I didn’t try to move him to Bell with my daughter) after our 3rd grade experience at Bell. That is the only year at Bell I did not care to revisit. But, I am glad I did leave him there. Beaubien has the BEST science teacher, Ms. Fly. And I should note that the sense of community there is growing. I attended the Spring Fling fundraiser this weekend. Last year there were about 60 people. This year…over double! I rarely talk to people I don’t know at events like that, but several people just came up and started conversations. This community is very down to earth…the type of people you’d like to go out and have a beer with. I have a 2 year old, so someday we will go through this again, but I’d say all you people who are passing up Bell and especially Beaubien, wow…you don’t know what you are missing.

  • 587. @Beaubienmomofthree  |  April 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm

    How is it possible, that the principal circumvented the OAE and handpicked kids from the neighborhood program for the RGC? And she has not been fired? Have the parents complained to the network chief and demanded an investigation? I mean, these are highly coveted spots! There is only one RGC school on the NW side.

    It is clear then, that Mrs. Ludford has borrowed a page from the former principal’s book, Mr. Kotis Sr. He used the same process. Usually, if a child of a LSC member did not get into the Options program, somehow, they would magically transfer into the Options classroom, at the beginning of the school year.

    The school staff really needs a breath of fresh air and needs to be lead by a principal that truly cares about about socioemotional well being of the neighborhood and Options students. Have the staff trained and apply Responsive Classroom curriculum. Differentiation CAN happen even in the neighborhood classrooms. Kids can be assessed and pulled out for reading into differentiated classrooms. Blaine is an example of a program like that.

    The lower grades are so overcrowded, they barely fit in the classrooms. Often, children that live outside of boundaries, are admitted. On top of that, there are many kids at Beaubien, who’s families do not live in the district, but they have gotten in through staff connections or have obtained an address in the neighborhood just for the enrollment.

    The LSC elections are coming up. I hope some of those ticked off parents will be applying for LCS and will stand up to the principal bullying. Breath of fresh air is very much needed at Beaubien.

  • 588. NWside  |  April 4, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Wow, it sounds like a lot of people didn’t get letters. I don’t remember that ever happening before. I guess that’s one way for CPS to save money — don’t mail out half the letters! lol

  • 589. Beaubien mom  |  April 4, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I have a child in one of the earlier grades in the Beaubien options program. We are very happy with the Options program, and generally happy with the school. When we first received the offer in 1st grade, we had no intention of accepting. We had our child enrolled in a top-notch neighborhood school. However, we went to the open house for admitted families and were very impressed. We also thought our child really needed a more rigorous program, so we took a chance on it.

    Overall, as a school, I like the top-notch neighborhood school we had (mega-parent-participation and fundraising, more personal feel, more volunteer opportunities, way better after-school activities), but realized that what my child needs in a school and what I want are not always the same thing.

    Overall, Beaubien is big, has a lot of rules, and feels more impersonal than the neighborhood school we attended (which feels like a private school, honestly). But, the options program really is a school-within-a-school, so the “bigness” of Beaubien is not really a big deal. What you are getting is the options program, which is much smaller.

    And, for all of the downsides of a big school, there are upsides, too. There are a lot of extra programs that the kids participate in that you don’t get at smaller schools.

    Before accepting, I talked to some current and former Beaubien families, did a lot of due diligence, and the teachers in the options program. Based on my experience and talking to current/former families, what @FormerBeaubienMom says is totally spot-on.

    If you got an offer, I strongly recommend attending the Options open house before you make a final decision.

    As for the comments about the funny-business with the Options program listing by the current principal, I am a bit surprised, and I’ve certainly never heard of this!!!

  • 590. Decisions Decisions  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Is there anyone in Tier 2 who plans to give up your seat at Sheridan?

  • 591. Decatur opinion  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    @575–sorry to cause you some cognitive dissonance on your Decatur decision. You asked for info and opinions on your stated reasons for choosing Decatur and I gave them, using my nearly 15 years of selective enrollment experience and knowledge of education theory and practice. If you did not want a reality check, then you should have said “everyone, please make me feel better about my decision, pat me on the back and say ‘you go, girl!’l

    As far as SEES go, I have been there, done that, seen hundreds of others do it too. Like I said, take my opinions or leave them. But do consider them, at least for a moment.

    My kids are all safely tucked away in their first choice SEES and SEHS schools, thriving. I have no skin in in this particular year’s game. In two years my last kid will be taking the leap to HS. Do what you think is best for your child, based on all of the info you can get your hands on.

    I vowed six years ago when R started this amazing blog that I would pay it forward and share info when I had experience or info to share. I post info on my kids’ former schools and larger CPS issues. I stand by all that I said in my previous post.

    Again, best of luck to you and your child.

  • 592. Lella  |  April 4, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    @5thGradeMom- We didn’t apply to the IG program, but we did apply to both classical and RGC. The composite score wasn’t high because they use the classical tests- he wasn’t super high there. His composite was something like 848. It looked like since we were tier 3 he *might* have had a shot at Lane if this were his 7th grade year. If he actually studied for the test (unlikely), maybe a better shot. I’m also not sure how I feel about those programs either. Not that they are bad, but I worry about essentially sending him to high school early. That’s just me and also my instincts about my kid. If he hadn’t gotten in, we probably would have tried for it next year though. I always think it’s better to know your options. Now that we have this offer that we will likely take, he won’t apply for AC next year. We will still do the enrichment stuff for him that we do. He’s doing the Northwestern program this summer, for example. Is that more than you wanted to know? 🙂

  • 593. beaubienmomofthree  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:15 am

    The principal of Beaubien sure did pull the same trick as the old principal, Mr. Kotis (who’s son ironically is the AP now.) When caught she had to reneg and pull the kids back into the neighborhood program or lose her job. There will always be flip sides of the coin; so of course go see for yourself. Maybe you will be one of the lucky families who doesn’t get the short end of the stick (which many of the options kids don’t.)

  • 594. LR  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:23 am

    @587: There have always been 2 to 3 spots that open up in my son’s class every year. Just speaking for his class, those spots have always been filled through the OAE. In fact, we even had one student join the class several weeks after the start of the school year this year, and even that student transferred in from another school, and had been through the SE testing process. I don’t know what happened prior to my son’s class under the former principal (5th and up). But for sure Mrs. Ludford has not moved neighborhood students into my son’s class. Also, we have had several families with younger siblings apply for Kindergarten spots. I know of exactly one that has gotten a spot. I would say Beaubien is pretty similar to Bell in that the neighborhood classes are packed. However, if I were a Bell parent, I would actually be much more infuriated. Because Bell strictly limits K-3rd Options classes to 28 students. They go to 30 in 4th and 32 in 6th, while sometimes your neighborhood classes have 34-38 students. Beaubien at least populates its first grade options class from the get-go with 32. Responsive Classroom would be good. Bell does this, but it is relatively new there, so maybe Beaubien will catch on eventually. When I talked about Bell being about the “whole child” this is kind of what I was getting at. This is Beaubien’s downfall, in my opinion. They could do a better job of focusing less on things like standardized testing and more on socio-emotional type learning. Hard to explain what I mean without going into a lot of detail, but overall, I just know my son really likes his classmates and his school and we’ve had great teachers there. While I catch your drift about the leadership, it impacts us less on a day to day basis than the teachers, so I guess the teachers shape my perspective more.

  • 595. hopefullmom  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:48 am

    my daughter got RGC 117. math 99 and reading 71. no offers. is there still hope?

  • 596. hopefullmom  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:49 am

    what are the chances for later rounds to offer us a seat

  • 597. beaubienmomofthree  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:52 am

    @594- Is your son in 3rd or 5th? because those were the years kids were pulled this year.

  • 598. hydepark  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:03 am

    tier 4
    RGC 144
    accepted to lenart for KG

  • 599. ig  |  April 5, 2016 at 8:51 am

    @595 Hopefullmom: you can call the CPS hotline and find out the cutoffs for the RGCs and Classical schools. Also depends on your tier too, the lower the tier the better chances you have. It also depends what grade. I’m assuming kinder. I know that 117 for RGC is near the cutoff for some of the RGCs for some grades, some have a cutoff of 115, but I don’t know for Kinder if above or below. Math looks good, reading not so much, again, you have to check the cut-offs to see if it’s realistic or not, competition is stiff. They are allowed to pick from below cut off if the seats are not full, but as you can see many are vying and there is much more demand than seats.

  • 600. JRB  |  April 5, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Any parents in the RGC at Carnegie?

  • 601. LSmom  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:00 am

    @ig, I don’t think that they do go below the cutoffs, some schools start with less than full classes. Last year, they sent out letters giving people the option of adding schools to their application (I think the only one that had room for K was Carnegie).

  • 602. Dee  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Sorry if the answers to my questions are posted somewhere…there are so many! Anyway, for Skinner North I was wondering 1. Is there bus service and how does it work? 2. Do the kids have to leave the school for begore/after care? I can’t stand the thought!. Thank you everyone!

  • 603. SNMommy  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:16 am

    @602 Re; Skinner North.

    Yes, there is free CPS busing, IF you live within certain boundaries. In the past it has been south of Foster and north of Cermak Road for Skinner North. If you do not live within that area, you must figure out something private that works for your family, such as driving your own child, carpooling or hiring a service. And the bus does NOT pick up at your home, unless your child has a specific IEP that requires it. You will have to bring your child to a neighborhood school for bus pick up and drop off each day.

    Then again, with CPS’ tight budget, busing is always on the potential chopping block.Every year, we say a little prayer that the busing is not cut.

    The school currently offers after school programming, some free through the All-Stars program, which is usually teacher-run and some for fees through Youth Guidance, a non-profit outside vendor. We are also next door to Stanton Park and they offer some programming, including swimming. School staff walk them over to the park after school. I believe before care starts at 7:00 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m. and is run by Youth Guidance for a fee.

  • 604. Dee  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:24 am

    SN mommy ty! Do you know if there is a western boundary for bussing? And do the kids stay at the school for the youth guidance program?

  • 605. SN mom  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:34 am

    There is bus service at SN – for now at least. It’s always risky to assume there will be each year with CPS budget issues. My daughter takes the bus home. They will assign you to a nearby school where your child will be picked up dropped off. Her pick up time is early so we only do the return trip and she is home by 3:55 (schools ends at 3:30).

    There is great after school programming through Youth Guidance and it is on site so kids don’t leave school. Certain teachers also offer clubs and classes after school for free that are very popular. My daughter is even doing camp at SN this summer (STEM and art camp).

    It’s a great school!

  • 606. SNMommy  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:44 am

    @604. No, no western boundary for Skinner North busing in the past. And yes, they stay at the school for the before and after school care.

  • 607. Julia  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Agree with all of the answers @Dee has gotten, but would add one more thing- if you do afterschool at Skinner North, then you will need to pick up your little one yourself, there is no bus service that will bring him or her home after the afterschool program. That’s why we have our kid take the bus home from Skinner North to our neighborhood after school where he does an afterschool program near our house (there is an agreement between CPS and the Chicago Park District where the school bus will drop the kids off at a park district for their afterschool program).

  • 608. AGBell  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:53 am

    @LR: “I’m sad to be leaving…she just got in to Lane Tech’s Academic Center.”

    So, not giving in to the “keep them together” ringleader(s)??

    Anybody else leaving, but not telling the ringleader parent(s)??

  • 609. MP  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:54 am

    @SN mom: could you please give a bit more information about the summer camp program that SN has?
    Thank you for all of your great input on this blog!

  • 610. AGBell  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:58 am

    @LR: “Because Bell strictly limits K-3rd Options classes to 28 students. They go to 30 in 4th and 32 in 6th, while sometimes your neighborhood classes have 34-38 students.”

    What neighborhood class has 34, nevermind 38, kids? After deducting the options kids, there is only one grade that has over ninety kids, and that grade has 4 classrooms, rather than the 3 for other grades.

  • 611. Bell Class size  |  April 5, 2016 at 10:07 am

    @594 — I have students in the neighborhood program at Bell. There are NO neighborhood classes in the 34-38 student range. In fact, neighborhood class sizes are almost always much smaller than options class sizes. I took the time to count (using this year’s directory). Class sizes in the neighborhood dept at Bell are as follows:
    Kinder 23-24 students per class
    1st 26-28
    2nd 27-28
    3rd 25-26
    4th 26-28
    5th 25-26
    6th 21-22
    7th 23-25
    8th 31 each

    I think CPSO is a great resource for information sharing. However, I urge those reading the posts to remember that information posted is not always totally accurate, and often reflects extreme opinions.

    Good luck to everyone with their decisions…

  • 612. AGBell  |  April 5, 2016 at 10:10 am


    Yeah, don’t even understand how someone gets that impression.

  • 613. SN mom  |  April 5, 2016 at 10:13 am

    This will be her first year doing the summer camp so I can’t speak to its quality (although others have told me good things) but basically they offer a regular weekly camp that youth guidance arranges (with before and after care options) for I think 6-8 weeks over the summer. You can sign up for individual weeks or the entire thing. Then this year they are offering some speciality week long camps that outside vendors are coming in to run – STEM, sports, art/drama. My daughter is doing two weeks of the speciality camps. The camps are for current SN students (not sure about incoming kindergarteners but you could ask) and their school age siblings. There is not a bus in the summer though so you have to transport yourself or carpool.

  • 614. A Current Decatur Parent  |  April 5, 2016 at 11:17 am

    @Decatur Opinion,
    Thank you for your thoughts, and particularly for clarifying them as “opinions.” I’m curious as to the basis for them. Because in reading your post, it’s not clear why or how you know anything about Decatur.

    I will tell you the basis for my opinions – I have a child who goes there, and who has gone there for several years. Also, I attended the presentation at Taft. I remember the principal speaking there and asking for expansion (which seemed like a reasonable request, given that the topic of the meeting was facilities issues and our facilities need work), but I don’t remember any parents speaking. I did not have the reaction that you did regarding anyone’s comments being “elitist.” And beyond your belief that parents wanting their kids to have a gym and lunchroom at school is “elitist” simply because those kids are smart, it’s not clear from your post why you have any real basis to form your opinions in any more meaningful way than anyone else on this board who has read a couple of articles. I didn’t actually see anything in your post that reflected any first-hand knowledge about Decatur. Maybe you have some reason to know about it, but it’s not apparent from your post.

    So here is my experience at Decatur (for the benefit of interested parents), and it is in fact, based on actual knowledge of Decatur.

    The article about the principal and the shorts is accurate. She has worked to rebound from it, and different people have different opinions whether she has done so. Someone above said she’s not going to be your friend, and that’s probably accurate. She is not really a warm and fuzzy person.

    But the kids are absolutely warm and fuzzy. And the parents are fantastic. We really love the community. It’s a commuter school, so the PTA and school work hard to have a lot of events in the evenings that families attend and that allow people to hang out and interact. And kids that don’t take the bus home often stay to play on the playground after school. We have made some fantastic friends, and love the really smart kids that our child is hanging around every day.

    The community has generally been really unified in our desire for a 7/8 grade, though there were some really vocal objectors last year when the closed Stewart school seemed to be an opportunity for us (a few people didn’t like the neighborhood and were really vocal about it, but they were a decisive minority). @Decatur opinion can say it’s never going to happen or that it’s elitist to want the facilities for our kids that other schools have when still yet other schools have it worse, but the reality is that no one knows whether or when it will happen, but CPS has acknowledged the problem and said they want to fix it – it’s a matter of finding the right solution at the right price at this point. It is tough on the 5th and 6th graders, but I personally hope and believe it will happen in the next couple of years, but we’ll see.

    I’m sure Decatur is not for everyone, but our child loves it there, and we have loved the friends that we’ve made and the community we joined.

  • 615. Bel  |  April 5, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Hello everyone, I have been trying to ask around of parents of kids at RGC Pritzker. No one seems to have heard the name and in fact those folks are in school system, teacher or former principle in another school in the city.
    Would you be willing to share with me the your suddenly learning experience at Pritzker with us?
    I can’t see how the program performs since their school score is an aggregated number. Do they teach two grades above? How are their teachers for RGC? Here is the mom in need. Please let me know if you have any feedback on this. Thanks in advance

  • 616. kate  |  April 5, 2016 at 11:48 am

    To whom haven’t got the SEES letter, I went to CPS office this morning and got the letter. My kid reading 99, math 95. We applied both skinners. No offer! So upset.

  • 617. Decatur Opinion  |  April 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

    @614. If you know the principal, then you know she and her minions read here. It does not pay to give too much info about yourself and where your kids attend publicly. You and your child can pay later through gossip and mistreatment. I have seen it happen at Decatur and another SEES school.

    I stated from the very beginning that these are my opinions. This whole blog is for opinions. But be sure to cloak your identity if you can. It does not take much for parents, principals and teachers to figure out who you are here. Many of them read this great blog.

    If you were at that same Taft meeting, then you probably did not sit with families from other schools who were aghast at the Decatur presentation. Again, thank goodness the Lincoln people went berserk over their boundaries.

    You’re right. It WAS a CPS facilities meeting and the correct place to ask for things for your facility. However, most of the people there were fighting for basic things for their students, like working toilets. A kind or savvy administrator would have toned down her presentation for a multi-million dollar expansion a bit. It was like watching a rich person polishing off a steak and potato in front a starving child, loudly burping and then asking the waiter for a creme brulee and an espresso.

    You’re also correct in that the Decatur principal was the only one who spoke at the microphone that night. The other Decatur people were plenty loud enough without one. I, and several parents from other schools, (I was a community rep on the LSC for a neighborhood school at the time) sat in front of the Decatur principal and the parents who were with her and overheard the appalling and loud comments they made about parents and teachers they knew in the audience and who presented. They called one parent who used to have a kid at Decatur an “asshole” as he walked by. Very classy.

    You’ll notice that I have not said one thing about the teachers at Decatur, who are good, hardworking people who are doing their best under a terrible leader. I have personal experience with them and appreciate what they do. And I have made sure I let THEM know it.

  • 618. Erica  |  April 5, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Hi everyone. Just wondering if anyone has some insight into Edison for me. I know it’s a good school but I am wondering about the culture and if your children enjoy their time there? Thanks

  • 619. rewing123  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    @SN Mom:

    Is there a link you know of where I can get more info on the summer camp? Thanks!

  • 620. Keller  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Open spot in Keller for 2nd grade? OAE say they don’t have cut off point number but he scored in 98 percent …a high score… But not offered a place, when do second round offers come

  • 621. SN mom  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    The info was sent to us in the weekly updates from the principal as pdf attachments. The blurb is below, but to get the details, you could prob just call the school and they will email you the PDFs about each camp.

    Youth Guidance Summer Camp Program: It’s that time of year! SUMMER CAMP! Attached are ALL the summer camp options Youth Guidance will offer this summer here at Skinner North. We are excited to introduce Tech and Engineering Camp partnering with Kids STEM, Sports Camp with We Got Game and Art Camp partnering with all of my industry artists friends including some of my friends from Barrel of Monkeys! Because this is a Youth Guidance Pilot program ONLY happening at Skinner North, I am having an Open House on March 9th at 4pm, the same day as the LSC and FoSN meetings for your convenience. Just stop by the front table and ask me any and all questions you may have about ALL our Summer Camp options.

    Feel free to pass these flyers on to your friends and family!!
    Hope to see each of you there!
    Shá Norman

  • 622. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    @615- I have posted several times about Pritzker, I know some other parents have too in the comments. We love the school and currently my 5th grader is working 1.5-2 years above.

  • 623. another cps mom  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    @Bel I have a child at Pritzker RGC in 2nd grade and we have been there since Kindergarten. We have loved our experience at Pritzker. The academics are very challenging and the teachers are wonderful. When I first went into the kindergarten room sadly I was surprised to see toys. When I mentioned this to the teacher she commented that play based learning is what is proven to be most effective at this age and though the students do heavy work in academics she still feels it is important to include play time in the day. I have a Master’s in Education and know this to be true but sadly find that most classical and RGC have ignored this research in order to cater to parents who don’t fully understand child development and how children learn. We have a 4th grader at Skinner North and have not noticed many differences in our two kids’ curriculum. Both schools do a great job of differentiating the student’s learning. What Pritzker has that Skinner North and most other RGC and classical schools don’t have is the fine arts program in the school, which the RGC students get to take full advantage of. So my child at Pritzker has drama, dance, music and visual arts in addition to her academics. Pritzker highly prizes the value of the arts and all the students are able to try out for the 1-2 plays they do every year and they can start band beginning in the 5th grade. I know that many people pick a school based on test score ratings but I encourage you to look at ALL the school has to offer and figure out where your child will best thrive. Good luck!

  • 624. parent  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Finally got through to OAE after a long wait on hold. We never received our letter. They said they’ll email it … but it may take until Thursday! seriously????

  • 625. EdisonMom  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    @618. My kid has been at Edison since his kindergarten year. I am one of Edison moms who are so grateful to be a parent at such a great school. Currently the Edison community is walking through a kind of tough situation but I always feel that we are walking together to make our kids’ learning/social environment better. Great kids, great parents, and great teachers! I think Edison has all three components that make the school the best. Don’t expect a lot of homework that keeps kids busy after school like other schools. Not much homework but still kids learn a lot. I don’t know how but it is amazing to see how my kid is growing in many ways through the interaction with his friends and teachers at school. I am sure you will love it.

  • 626. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Can anyone point me to information on whether the tiers are considered in Round Two? I have read posts here that say they’re considered only in rounds one AND two, and other posts saying they are only considered in round one. I can’t seem to find confirmation or an explanation of round two process on OAE site. Thanks!

  • 627. Seyedeh DeSanto  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Thank you so much

    Sent from my iPhone


  • 628. MP  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I have been on hold most of day today with CPS. Still no letter for us either. Ridiculous!

  • 629. Decaturmom  |  April 5, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    @614 current Decatur parent – Thank you for your post.

    My son went to Decatur from K to 6th grade. He had a couple of good years and some not-so-good years and I, as a parent, experienced the same. However, I am very confident to say that Decatur is a great school. I am sure that you had your reasons for choosing Decatur as the first choice just as I had my reasons to choose Decatur. After seven years of Decatur experience, both my kid and I confirmed that it was the right choice. Decatur is one of the best elementary schools although it doesn’t have a neat cafeteria, a nice gym, or fancy bathrooms. Great teachers and parents work together to support excellent kids. That’s what Decatur is!

  • 630. 2 in SEES  |  April 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    @614 and @629 Thank you for posting.
    Always happy to roll with a crowd whose children actually attend Decatur. @629 phrased it best….great teachers and parents who work together to support excellent kids. Pretty much all you can ask for from the system.

    A reminder to all that you never know the agenda of those participating in an anonymous feed. I know I, for one, can only weigh in on the experience I have with my children at their schools, and would only offer an educated opinion from experience as opposed to one made solely by outsider observation….or on a tour.

    For the parents who want answers to their questions from actual Decatur parents, i.e. busing from Bucktown, homework loads, project based learning, etc. please contact the school and they will connect you to current parents who have volunteered to help guide you in this process. Parents are assigned based on the grade your child is considering. Kindergarten Parents to Kindergarten Parents, 3rd grade to 3rd grade, etc.

  • 631. chitranair7  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:04 pm

    Entering 5th
    Tier 4/ Open Tier ( we are moving from the suburbs)
    140 RGC
    96 reading
    99 math

    Applied to (Skinner North, Skinner West, Pritzker)

    My daughter got accepted to Pritzker. with the above scores, what are her chances of getting into Skinner North/ West? Should we consider the second round?

    I read some great reviews about Pritzker. I could not get a sense of the diversity. Also, are the RGC kids self contained or do they take the PE/Art/ Drama classes with other kids?

  • 632. chitranair7  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    A follow up question, In case we go for the second round, will
    CPS allow us to change our ranking or add new schools to the list?

  • 633. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    @631 The diversity rocks at Pritzker. That is why I am happy that my daughter will be attending in the fall. We moved from a school that was sorta diverse on the northwest side, and I am happy that there is such a range of diversity there.

    The RGC is self contained, and they do their specials with other RGC kids who pick the same elective.

    I believe next year the fifth grade teacher will be Mr. Weissbuch, who is a really great guy. He is tall and quirky, and much loved by the kids. He also will be their social studies teacher all the way through eighth grade.

  • 634. cps mom-to-be  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    @Decatur Opinion
    So if my DD is offered a seat at Decatur…don’t take it…? just send her to a neighborhood school? (Blaine) Thanks!

  • 635. Chris  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    “So if my DD is offered a seat at Decatur…don’t take it…? just send her to a neighborhood school? (Blaine) ”

    How long would she be on the bus? Or do you have 2 hours out of your day to spend in the car for drop off and pick up?

    Best case scenario with how good Decatur may be: is that extra travel time worth it??

  • 636. Chris  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    632: “In case we go for the second round, will CPS allow us to change our ranking or add new schools to the list?”

    Nope. Zero chance.

  • 637. cps mom-to-be  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    @ Chris
    20-30 mins. Her dad would drop her off and pick her up. I’ve heard so many great things about Decatur, but also not so many great things as well. My first choice is SN, but she didn’t make the cuts (still proud of her…!). My husband is VERY happy with Decatur, but the fact that it goes up to 6th grade is a major turn-off for me. I just can’t go thru this again (6th grade) and again (8th grade) and again (12th grade) – I had my husband open the letter. I can’t move to the suburbs because of my job.
    Thank you again.

  • 638. anothercpsmom  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    2ndtimesAcharm is correct. Starting in 6th grade, however, they attend their “specials” with non-RGC kids. So the 6th graders who choose art as their special will take it with other 6th graders who chose art whether or not they are in RGC.

  • 639. DecisionsDecisions  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    Entering Kindergarten
    Tier 4
    RGC 135
    Reading 99.9, Math 95

    Offered Skinner North (2nd choice)

  • 640. Joy5555  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I just wanted to thank @Decaturmom and @current Decatur parent for posting. I need all the info I can get and your posts have been really helpful. We will most likely be joining the Decatur community shortly. Thanks.

    -prospective parent

  • 641. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 5, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Thanks @anothercpsmom. This is our first year at Pritzker- my son started in 5th, so I didn’t know that. I thought it was mixed this year but my son just the other day explained to me that it wasn’t.

  • 642. Chris  |  April 5, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    @cps mom-to-be:

    Blaine’s a good school. If every CPS elementary were as good as Blaine, there’d be very little demand (or need) for the application and lottery craziness.

  • 643. Erica  |  April 5, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you so much @edisonmom!

  • 644. Yet another Decatur Parent  |  April 5, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    When I was reading this board daily after our acceptance to Decatur a few years ago, I was caught off guard by two things: few people posting about it despite several of us asking and those that posted often had some VERY strong negative opinions. I also observed that many of those negative opinions appeared to come from parents on their way out of the school or from parents who were sharing second-hand info. I took a leap, accepted the offer and have felt so fortunate that I did.

    I’m happy to see more Decatur parents posting this year to help out those of you asking questions, and even happier to see that many of these posts are representing the amazing attributes of the school, as well as a realistic take on some of the downsides. That is so much more helpful than the griping, complaining and in some cases really nasty comments about the school that I was seeing in the past. I think that difference speaks to the current strength of our school community and some really, really positive influences from today’s parent leaders on the PTA, LSC and regular, committed parent volunteers.

    All facility negatives are true, as is the lack of 7th/8th grade, as is the lukewarm to cool feeling people have about the principal. But if you are looking for a school where your inquisitive, motivated kid can learn and grow with great teachers and other like-minded kids then Decatur might be a good fit for you.

  • 645. Confused again  |  April 5, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Any feedback on Lenart? Entering for KinderGarten.

  • 646. 2 in SEES  |  April 5, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    @cps mom to be
    You should call Decatur and ask to be connected to a parent in the Blaine neighborhood. I live in the Blaine neighborhood and have friends on both Blaine’s and Decatur’s PTAs. Big fan of both schools. Most of the parents I spoke to who were at Blaine and at Decatur before I accepted were very honest and able to give me important feedback that I needed to make my decision.

  • 647. chitranair7  |  April 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    @2ndtimesAcharm, @Chris, @ anothercpsmom, Thanks so much for your helpful comments. I plan to attend the open house at Pritzker this weekend.

  • 648. SloopFam  |  April 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    anyone apply for 3rd grade RGC at NTA?

    Curious….please post whether or not you got an offer and your child’s score. Please and thank you.

  • 649. Ktj705  |  April 5, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Can you elaborate on the “tough situation?” We were just accepted today, as well.

    Thank you,

  • 650. dmmom  |  April 5, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    @cps mom-to-be
    which grade will your DD enter?

  • 651. Stem parent  |  April 5, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Just a reminder to all. Waitlisted move and offers come eventually. Strangely some people get multiple offers and unexpected things happen. Make a plan but don’t be surprised when offers come very very late in the process. Many people make their decisions and don’t want the late offers. People hold onto offers they know they are not taking until the last minute. Try not to freak out. If you truly do not believe you have a chance, there are charter options. I realized I just cursed at some of you…lol…but that is the point of a charter. Their lottos are separate from cps and offer an option if you feel you have no other. Someone told me last year that we would land were we belonged and after a long summer of stress, we got multiple offers.

  • 652. 60643Mom  |  April 5, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    @New to South Side

    I haven’t had a child at Lenart in 6 years, but have friends with children there and have been there this whole time who are very happy. The administration has changed since we were there and some of the teachers, so I am sure aspects of the school culture/climate have too. There has always been a strong network of parents/families, since kids come from all over the city, which we enjoyed meeting/getting to know and missed after we left for Keller, though there are plenty of things we love about Keller.

    Programming-wise, Lenart had French and Music, when our son was there for K. Keller has Spanish and Art. There is the Chicago Children’s Choir and Band options, after school at Keller. Choir doesn’t start until 3rd or 4th, but I think band is as early as 1st. Our son has done choir, but not band.

    As for if it is worth it for Lenart… Hard call. At the end of the day I would say yes, it is still one of the top schools in the state, so I recommend it to anyone. But having had our daughter in K at our neighborhood school this year and she was able to get into 1st for Keller in the Fall, not really sure how much difference it makes. I know our son’s transition to Keller was easier, for having been at Lenart, as he was used to the homework load. Most of his classmates it was a harder adjustment. That said, our daughter has enjoyed a much more laid back K experience at our neighborhood school and has still learned plenty. I think there are pros and cons to both. RGC are intense.

    Our daughter didn’t get into Lenart for K. I would venture to guess if she had, we would have sent her there. But we have been very happy with our neighborhood school.

    Also, reminder that if Keller is your end game, there are no guarantees. Our son was one of only two kids from his K class at Lenart that got into Keller for 1st and we expected him not to get in (because we heard it was hard to get a spot). I am not sure how many tested, but I know many who live in 60643 and went there did. We were fine with him staying at Lenart, as he had a wonderful K class/friends. But Keller is so much closer to our home. Also, at the time, Keller was known for being more warm and fuzzy and welcoming parents into the school and classroom more. However, we never felt like we weren’t welcome at Lenart. You can always test in subsequent years for Keller, if 1st grade doesn’t work out, as it seems every year a few kids leave and we get a few new children.

    Hope this helps. 🙂

  • 653. Decatur sib  |  April 5, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Does anyone know from current or past experience, if parents that did not receive letters get an extension on the decision deadline? (hopefully, I will have a deadline to worry about!!) Still no letter today in 60625. OAE was closed by the time I got home and I see that people who called them today were told it would be at least 2 more days for them to re-send it even via email!

  • 654. cpswonderland  |  April 5, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    @Decatur sib use this link to request results http://www.cpsoae.org/apps/forms2/?f=3828
    It says it will take 2 days to get them. Or you can go to the downtown office and they will give you the letter ( they asked me to let them know the time I will be there, if I’m coming, so they could have them ready, but I didn’t have time to go, so I’m still waiting). They don’t give results over the phone.

  • 655. Decatur sib  |  April 5, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    @654 cpswonderland thanks for the info. Fairly sure I will have completely lost my mind in 2 days. I work in Evanston so getting downtown during business hours is out. This is just cruel. I’m going to open a bottle of wine now.

  • 656. Momma  |  April 5, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    I tried calling this morning and couldn’t get through, so I just walked in and they printed the letter for me then.

  • 657. Decatur sib  |  April 5, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Hmm….I may have to take a sick day or hire someone to go get it. lol

  • 658. cps mom-to-be  |  April 5, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    @dmmom – entering K

    @Chris, @Yet another Decatur Parent,@2 in SEES and others…Thank you very much for your inputs. This is soooo stressful! My husband kept telling me to stop reading…but I just can’t help it.

  • 659. Kdad  |  April 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    RGC 134, no offers. What are our chances of getting a late offer at pritzker?

  • 660. logansquaremomof2  |  April 5, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    No letter here either. I couldn’t get through to the oae office today and can’t take time off work to go downtown.
    Which school sent out emails? I haven’t had any emails so I’m guessing that means no offers?

  • 661. Tina  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:27 pm


    You mentioned that your son got into Lenart for Kindergarten on a 5th round. Do you remember his RGC score? I’m hoping my DD gets a K spot with a 128.

    Also, can you speak on the neighborhood schools in the area. My neighborhood school is Kellogg and I’m concerned about the scores. What have you heard? I have twins that will be starting if my DD doesn’t get the gifted or classical call. You said one of your children was at a neighborhood school and loved it. Also, how many K classes does Lenart have?

  • 662. Krv  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    My son had a 131 last year. Lenart was our top choice. He did not get an offer.

  • 663. parent  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    @660, I believe Skinner North is the only school that sent out an email.

  • 664. Tina  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    @KRV, was your son entering kindergarten? What school did you go with? Another gifted/classical or magnet or neighborhood?

  • 665. Krv  |  April 5, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Yes, that was for kindergarten. We ended up at a catholic school.

  • 666. Ktj705  |  April 6, 2016 at 2:17 am

    They more than likely said 115. The minimum score for RGC is 115 not 150.

  • 667. CurlyMom  |  April 6, 2016 at 6:24 am

    @660 Poe sent out an email yesterday.

  • 668. 60643Mom  |  April 6, 2016 at 7:38 am


    His K score, getting into Lenart was in the 140s, I would have to check exactly. But I know the range to get in can vary from year to year.

    As for neighborhood schools in the area, ours is Sutherland. That is where DD is for K. I don’t know that much about Kellogg, though we aren’t that far away from it/you.

    Lenart has one class per grade, including K, as does Keller (though it starts at 1st grade).

    Also, can you speak on the neighborhood schools in the area. My neighborhood school is Kellogg and I’m concerned about the scores. What have you heard? I have twins that will be starting if my DD doesn’t get the gifted or classical call. You said one of your children was at a neighborhood school and loved it. Also, how many K classes does Lenart have?

  • 669. Norwood  |  April 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

    I’ve got 2 children in the RGC at Bell. For those of you stewing on whether or not to accept an offer to an RGC, there are 3 good reasons – the teachers, the students, and the curriculum. I saw the first two reasons mentioned above but not the third. Any one of these would be a good reason to go.

    The students tend to be top notch, and the schools make an effort to get these kids to work effectively together as a team, or as a big family. I’m thrilled that my kids have friends who are academic oriented and push them in the right direction.

    The parents of each grade meet regularly and have a network to help with missing homework. I don’t put this down as a reason because all schools should have a parent’s network.

    The curriculum is 2 years advanced. It takes the 1st and 2nd grades a while to catch up, but by the time they hit 3rd grade, they’re doing 5th grade curriculum in all its glory, despite a steady stream of projects. I checked with some good schools around the country and Bell doesn’t short change the curriculum even though the kids are so young.

    Here’s the current lineup of teachers at Bell.

    The first grade teacher and the 7th grade teacher each have more than 20 years experience. The 1st grade teacher started the first options program at CPS, and she did it at Bell. These years are phenomenal.

    The second grade teacher is like Mary Poppins. I’m not sure how she does it, but she’s great. She’s only been in the program for 2 years.

    The 3rd grade teacher is my favorite. She’s like a drill sergeant. Something happened a few years ago, because she mellowed. I don’t get the complaints like I used to, but she’s still my favorite. Not everyone shares this view.

    The 5th grade and 6th grade teachers form a team of math and science versus reading and history. I used to think the 6th grade teacher was the best, but the 5th grade teacher is getting better as she gets more experience. When these 2 presented their curriculum at parents night in the fall, I though my son was having freshman orientation for college.

    That leaves the 4th and 8th grade teachers, which I am not familiar. Maybe we’ll just take a break for these years, but I doubt it.

    I have good friends at all the programs on the north side, including Beaubien, I’d take any offer just for the curriculum and the students, but of course, good teachers and good parents help.

  • 670. New to South Side  |  April 6, 2016 at 8:53 am

    @60643Mom thank you for your insight. It has been helpful. We attended the OH yesterday and enjoyed hearing from both the p and ap, especially Connie. The community felt small and welcoming which was good. There also seems to be many after school opportunities for K students. Hard decision to make and the OH made it harder.
    I know Keller is hard to get into. I think the commute to Lenart will help us to decide if going further from our house is even feasible.

    @Tina my daughter was accepted to Lenart with 144.

  • 671. Rebecca Cafarelli  |  April 6, 2016 at 9:01 am

    I can speak to Kellogg. My daughter is currently in K there, and we have been very happy. The teachers, staff, and administration all work so hard and the parental involvement is excellent (and growing). The kindergartners have a great new teacher, they take French (!) and art, and the after-school enrichments are terrific. My daughter has completely and totally taken off academically over the course of this year, and got into Keller for 1st grade.

    We will go straight to Kellogg K with our second child, with no hesitation.

    If you have any other questions about Kellogg, please let me know and I can also probably connect you to other parents if you’d like.

  • 672. conflicted parent  |  April 6, 2016 at 9:54 am

    @669- Thank you for this. very helpful. are the 4th and 8th teachers new? I’m fine if teachers are new to bell, as long as they are experienced, good teachers in general! though it is nice to have teachers with gifted “experience”. I am looking forward to the open house next week. yours was a very helpful, specific post! I also appreciate your comments about class community. That is one thing I am feeling like I will miss if decide to leave our neighborhood school

  • 673. Hopeful In Old Irving Park  |  April 6, 2016 at 10:14 am

    I called the hotline to ask what are chances for 2nd round offers for RGC kindergarten. They couldn’t give me a straight answer, but I gave them my daughter’s score (139, Tier 4) and they said she was in the 99th percentile. I am not sure that is correct…but I’ll take it. Just putting it out there so people can gage their kids abilities even if we don’t get into gifted programs. There’s always next year!

  • 674. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 6, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Posting again with a question about round two – are tiers considered or is it scores only, or principal discretion?
    Can anyone point me to an explanation of how round two works? I’ve seen it posted here that round two does consider tiers and also that it does not. OAE site is pretty vague.

  • 675. tiers  |  April 6, 2016 at 10:50 am

    @674 – Tiers are used in round 2. They stop after round 2 and go scores only – or at least that is what they’ve done historically. Please note, that if you are looking for Decatur for first grade, it is already scores only. Since first grade is not the entry year for Decatur, tiers were never applied.

  • 676. DoraDiamant  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:09 am

    I’m glad to see you interject here, as ice enjoyed your posts from previous years. My son was just admitted to Bell, 1st grade, and if the other parents enjoy your sense of humor, I will get along great with them. Can you comment on the Chinese program? Is it “Chinese-style/ Chinese for Amurikanz” (like kung pao chicken)? My son went to Chinese preschool a while back; I’m hoping it will trigger something in the cluttered basement of his brain.

  • 677. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:10 am

    @tiers – thank you for your response. I wasn’t aware that tiers are not applied after entry year so thank you for pointing it out, and we ARE looking for Decatur so that is good to know.

    One of my sons was offered a spot at Decatur and the other was offered Bell. We would like to get our other son into Decatur, but not sure if it is worth the risk of turning down Bell as his scores were lower than most for Decatur – 90 reading, 94 math. We’re Tier 2 so I hoped that might help. I guess not.

    I know it is common for people to send their children to two different schools, but I’d be interested in hearing from any parents of twins that do this. We feel it will be a big challenge for my boys that have been in the same classroom up until now. It is important that we consider their emotional well-being when making this decision.

  • 678. DoraDiamant  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:11 am

    *I’ve, not “ice” (winter plaguing my subconscious? )

  • 679. LSmom  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:13 am

    @675, I’m not sure if that’s true about Decatur, I think they do apply tiers for first grade in years when they add a full class (like this year). But someone would need to confirm that.

  • 680. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:20 am

    @679 – thank you for pointing that out. That makes sense too, since there wouldn’t be another entry point for that entire class. I’ll try and get clarification at the Open House on Monday.

  • 681. 2ndtimearound  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:30 am

    @firstgradetwins, just wanted to let you know, for some perspective, my child scored 97R and 94M last year for K and we desperately were hoping for a summer call from Decatur…but sadly did not receive one.

    This year we were offered Bell for first and are very happy!

    Not sure how much the scores differ from K to 1st, but just wanted to let you know in case you will be turning down the spot.

    We have another child at another RGC so understand the two school thing, and it can be tough….but workable, but completely understand wanting your twins together!

    Good luck!

  • 682. Cpsdilemma  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Both of our twin boys got an offer for first grade to Keller. Can any Keller parents please give us an idea about the community feel, overall culture, teachers other staff at Keller. Our biggest concern is the commute, we live close to Illinois medical district.
    The older twin already attends RGC program, closer home,we love it, not sure if worth it to pull him out of his current program and accept Keller so both kids are at same school.
    Any thoughts, ideas will be appreciated.

  • 683. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 6, 2016 at 11:58 am

    @2ndtimearound – thank you for your comments. We are very happy that we have offers at Bell and Decatur, but wish that both offers could have been for the same great school. We are contemplating turning down one or the other, but it is probably going to be too big of a risk. My son that was offered a spot at Decatur had a lower RGC of 115, which seems really unlikely for a spot at Bell in round two or later.

  • 684. Dadstoo  |  April 6, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    With a score of 94% and 92% (in Tier2) I would take the risk! So many offers happen after round 1 especially for Decatur.

  • 685. JenRN  |  April 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Re missing letters – We DID received our Neighborhood/Magnet letter, but not SEES/Gifted Letter.
    I requested the letter via the website on Monday evening (thanks to the poster of the link) and have NOT received it yet.
    The positive news is I called OAE office right before close last night (4:30-ish) I was on hold a while, but DID get through. They WILL tell you if you received an offer over the phone (we did not) ONLY IF you are calling from the phone number in your CPS profile/info. I mistakenly called from my home # not cell phone and had to call back in from my cell phone for them to tell me. This was at 4:53 or something. I got right through and they told me no offers. They did not tell me the score. Hope this is helpful. The suspense it painful!!! Good luck everyone!

  • 686. 60643Mom  |  April 6, 2016 at 12:30 pm


    Scroll through the comments on this post already here, in regards to Keller. A number of us have already spoken about the answers to your questions. 🙂 My daughter is accepting a spot in 1st at Keller for the Fall and my son is currently there, in 6th grade and will stay through 8th.

    This year our daughter (in K at our neighborhood school) and our son (at Keller) have been in two different schools. It was fine and she is very happy there. However, we are really looking forward to having both children at the same school.

    The 2nd grade teacher at Keller is the mother of twin boys who have been there since 1st grade (now in 7th) and another son, who is in 4th grade there. I can put you in touch with her, if you want to talk with her about that dynamic, having siblings in the same class there, as it is only one class per grade, so they would always be together.

  • 687. Tina  |  April 6, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    @682–CPS DILEMMA: You are SO lucky!! You completely hit the jackpot. I can only hope to be in your spot next year. Keller is the ‘ideal school’ for my twins, as we live in the area. I have twins, one tested gifted/classical for K next school year, the other twin did not. I am now faced with the decision of splitting them for kindergarten. I am not sure if it is worth it for kindergarten. What are your thoughts? What made you finally decide to separate the boys? I have a girl and a boy, but they are very close, so I don’t know if it’s the right decision for them social-emotionally. DD is more mature and competitive, and my son is more co-dependent and compassionate.

    @677–FIRSTGRADETWINS: Were you faced with the decision to separate your twins in Kindergarten? If so, what made you decide to keep them together?

    @671–REBECCACAFARELLI: I would love to chat more about Kellogg. I have great anxiety about the neighborhood school. One of my twins tested into gifted/classical range, and the other did not, so I am faced with the decision of keeping them together. My fear is, DD will be bored and lose the skills that she has developed this year. They both received a Kindergarten curriculum at their preschool. Son could benefit from the review, but DD is reading and has high aptitude in math. I’m not sure if neighborhood Kindergarten curriculum will keep her engaged, but who knows. She already competes with her brother in ways that concern me, but they are still really close. Kellogg only has one classroom per grade, so there is no chance of ever separating them if needed in later grades. Two things also concern me: 1. I hear the principal is possibly leaving? 2. Ms. Whimby, who comes highly recommended has left?!? She was a REALLY big selling point for sending my twins to Kellogg!! Now, I’m really vexed!! What happened that she left mid-year?!?! She had really great workshops for reading and math going for the parents.

    Do you think that your DD got accepted to Keller in part because of the work of Ms, Whimby? I hear she is a really strong teacher! When did she leave? It seems like too many changes at Kellogg.

  • 688. 2ndtimearound  |  April 6, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Curious to all…are we trusting the “mail in” for the acceptance letters? With this whole debacle this year…I am scared to mail in our acceptance letter…but really don’t want to schlep all the way to the office.

  • 689. cps mom-to-be  |  April 6, 2016 at 1:18 pm

    @688 you can email them the form. You’ll get the “Confirmation Form Receipt” from OAE a few minutes after. And you can call them ‘to ensure that your form is properly received, check the attachment and confirm that the file is legible, accessible, and NOT a shared document through a link.’ They’ve been really nice at handling nearly 10,000 applications (if not more) with only 8 employees (I was told it would be 6 by Friday).

  • 690. Weebs1818  |  April 6, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    @Tina- (I didn’t mean to post under my full name so I’m back to my alias!) I can respond to a lot of that, although I haven’t heard anything about the principal leaving. We loved Ms. Wimby- she was great. She left at the 2nd quarter break. My understanding is that she went on to a preschool teaching job that she really wanted (no hard feelings towards Kellogg.) However, the new teacher is great– I haven’t noticed any significant difference in how my child is performing at school since the teacher change. We’ve never had her tested for a gifted program before this December, so I can’t say how much of her test result is due to her Kindergarten experience and how much is her own aptitude.

  • 691. Lisa Zyhylij Ackerman  |  April 6, 2016 at 1:47 pm


    7th Grade

    Accepted at Kenwood but it’s really geographically not going to work.

    ccepted at LaSalle Academy…along with 500 families in error! The email letting me know the error (and subsequent call) said she was #3 waitlisted.

    Does anyone think we have a chance at LaSalle? we really want an Academic Ctr school that accepts 7-12.
    I am feeling like we stay where we are at this year and try in 8th grade now that we got the process down. I expect she’ll do better on her RGC as well since we didn’t prep for it much.

  • 692. Letter Felt Like a Punch in the Gut  |  April 6, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Tier 3
    129 RGC
    Classical: Math 93, Reading 87

    No offers. Any chance of a summer offer at Pritzker?

  • 693. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 6, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    @Tina – our twins have been in the same classroom in a private Montessori school. Several preschools we visited would not allow our sons to be in the same classroom, but none could provide a reason, other than “we don’t do that. It’s the policy.” I feel that the administration or teachers should either have a valid reason or they should allow parents to make the choice they think is best for their children. Ultimately, we ended up at a school where they are together. We still have an option to continue there.

  • 694. parent  |  April 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Finally got our letter via email. It took about a day (not 48 hrs). No offers.

  • 695. Maria  |  April 6, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Good evening,
    Just wanted any suggestions or comments. I am going to Beaubien’s informational session tomorrow and I want to know any additional questions that I may want to ask. My son was offered a first grade spot here and right now he is at a neighborhood school with a 1+ rating and they have good test results too. Class size in his school is 26 and he might have 28 next year.

  • 696. Maria  |  April 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Question: My son was accepted to an RGC. Applied to Skinner West but no offer. He has a 99 Reading and 97 math. Do I hold out?

  • 697. CPS Parent  |  April 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    @696 – what tier?

  • 698. CPS Parent  |  April 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    and what year – K?

  • 699. Maria  |  April 6, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    I’m sorry, I cannot see who ur asking but if it’s me my son is going into 1st, no tier.

  • 700. Soon2BeCPSMoMultiples  |  April 6, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    @690–Weebs: How many students were in the kindergarten classroom at Kellogg this year?

  • 701. newtocpsmom  |  April 6, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 4
    RGC = 147
    R = 99.9
    M = 99.9

    Offered at Edison, which was our first choice from SEES.

    Offered at Hawthorne.

    Still trying to decide which offer to accept. Is Edison really so much different from magnet schools like Hawthorne?

    On the other hand, should we decline both and try for SN which was our second choice? How is SN different from Edison?

    Any thoughts and comments would be appreciated!

  • 702. SW21  |  April 6, 2016 at 7:56 pm

    Feeling crushed and frustrated!!! After all the time waiting for this letter my child didn’t get accepted to the school of our choice which is Orozco. My child is finishing the second year of prek at this school and I will have to take her to a new school for kindergarten since she didn’t get accepted. I have child in fifth grade at Orozco….he has been there since kindergarten and his score was above average when he tested for the gifted program and I was really confident that my youngest would get accepted. I’m feeling very confused about this exam since it is supposed to be in Spanish and there are kids that don’t speak Spanish and they got accepted and my child didn’t. My kids speak Spanish and English very well. I really wanted to keep them together in the same school.

  • 703. CPS parent  |  April 6, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    This is a tough one, especially if you have other children. If there are siblings involved Hawthorne is a great choice since all of your kids can automatically go to the same school. From my experience (my daughter was at Hawthorne and we transferred her to a SEES classical school after kindergarten) the biggest differences you will encounter are:
    1. The range of abilities is much greater in a magnet school and teachers need to focus on bringing the kids who do not have as much background in academics up to the median level so higher kids can get lost in K. At a classical school or RGC there will still be a range but it is narrower so differentiation can be a bit easier. Most kids at classical schools
    come into kindergarten reading confidently so the teacher can focus on other skills.
    2. The peers at my daughters SEES are more like her and have similar interests/hobbies (like reading Harry Potter for the 6th time while in kindergarten :-)) so she has found her niche and is very happy socially.
    3. My daughter expressed some boredom in kindergarten and I feared that she would lose her passion for learning if not challenged appropriately. She is now challenged and engaged at her SEES.
    4. The SEES are familiar with kids like her and the teachers seem to know how to handle the social emotional side of “bright” or “gifted” kids.
    I can’t speak to the differences between Edison and SN, but these are my thoughts about the differences between Hawthorne and a SEES. if you want more insight into Hawthorne, you can send me your email address and I can fill you in more. We did spend a year there and were very happy – I will definitely be putting it on my magnet application for my next child, but am also keeping my fingers double crossed that my second child tests well enough to get into my daughters SEES. Good luck with your decision! This is a great dilemma to have as you can’t really go wrong.

  • 704. newtocpsmom  |  April 6, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    @CPS parent
    Thank you so much for your reply full of insightful information. We only have one child and your point #4 was the biggest factor that drew us to SEES.

    I wonder if the kids at RGCs are at similar reading/math levels as those kids at classical schools? I could be completely off, but I had a number of parents who shared their kids test results and it seemed like many of them had lower scores in reading and/or math than the kids who got accepted at classical schools. In such case, wouldn’t the teachers at RGCs spend just as much time trying to bring them up to the median level for reading/math?

  • 705. MMM  |  April 6, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    @Norwood Really helpful! Much appreciated it!

  • 706. cpswonderland  |  April 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    Finally got the results and was shocked. My daughter, who’s bilingual (and not fluent in English) scored R:89 and M:49. She’s reading I-L guided reading level which means end of 1st/2nd grade and her math skills are aligned with common core curriculum for 1st grade. Although I possibly had nonrealistic expectations, I don’t understand how she succeeded to score that low in math portion of the test. So I came up with two possible reasons: or she didn’t understand or she was playing goofy. I didn’t ask for any accommodations for her and if I made a mistake I want to prepare for the next year when she’ll take test for the 1st grade. My question is are ELLs supposed to get any accommodations or not?

  • 707. A Decatur Parent  |  April 7, 2016 at 12:44 am

    @newtocpsmom – congratulations on those scores. Your child obviously did really well on both tests! I would ordinarily advise people to hang on to an offer like Edison because you don’t know what the next round will hold, but I believe that with those scores, your child does have an excellent chance of getting into Skinner North at the next round – if you decide to go that way. If you’re interested, you could call OAE and they’re likely to tell you what your position would be on the Skinner N. wait list if you were on it right now. Since you said you’re leaning toward SEES, I’ll give you my thoughts on Edison vs. Skinner North.

    We are at Decatur, so I don’t have direct experience with either of those schools. But some things to consider – they’re both wonderful schools and your child will get a fantastic education at either. Both schools will graduate your child working 1-2 levels ahead of grade. And while it’s true that many kids who get wonderful scores on the RGC test aren’t reading yet or may not be getting the math scores that kids at classical schools have, I wouldn’t let that deter you from Edison. They are all really bright kids, and I believe the RGCs catch up pretty quickly on the reading and math to the classical schools.

    One thing I would consider is that Edison has just one class at each grade, while Skinner has two classes at each grade. At Decatur we are mixed – some grades have one class while others have two (this is because of space). Our experience is that it’s a better overall social experience for kids to have two classes at each grade. Over the course of 7-9 years, being in class with the same kids year after year can be tight. While they make good friends, it’s pretty close quarters and having that second class to be able to mix things up is a really nice social/emotional benefit.

    You should also consider location. Both are fairly accessible, but if you live really close to one or the other, the commute could influence the decision.

    And Edison shares its building with another school. I don’t have first-hand experience how that works out, but it’s worth asking people who go there about how it is.

    We have friends who are at Skinner North, and they rave about it. They love their principal, and the attention they pay to social/emotional development is really fantastic. It may be the same way at Edison – I’m personally just a little less familiar with Edison so it’s worth asking someone who knows.

    Good luck!

  • 708. Just_a_mom  |  April 7, 2016 at 5:26 am

    Do you know if there was any 6th grader leaving South Loop, Lenart, Keller or Pritzker? Just want to see any chance to wait for these schools. Thanks!

  • 709. SW  |  April 7, 2016 at 5:57 am


    You should take the RGC spot. The likelihood of getting into SW is unlikely.

  • 710. Weebs1818  |  April 7, 2016 at 8:47 am

    @700- 27-28 kids in the class at any given time. (one kid moved away and then another kid moved in so right now they are back to 28)

  • 711. LR  |  April 7, 2016 at 9:04 am

    @611 and 612: Regarding Bell, note that I gave a mostly positive opinion about Bell in my original post, where I was reacting to people’s negative perceptions. The large class sizes…my information comes from people who had Kindergarteners who were in classes with 35 other kids. This was a couple years ago, so maybe now that we are actually using the addition it is better. Also, I thought this year, they had condensed the 8th grade into 2 classes? There was a parent talking about this at the beginning of the year. I don’t know what ended up happening, but because they switch for math, they ended up with many more kids in one classroom than the other, and I can understand how that would be a concern, especially for math. I’m not trying to misinform…just back to my original point…if you got a spot at Bell or Beaubien our experience has been very good in Options at BOTH schools.

  • 712. Maria  |  April 7, 2016 at 9:38 am

    @SW…thank you. I am going to the informational session that the RGC is holding today. We will see….

  • 713. LR  |  April 7, 2016 at 10:21 am

    @608: AGBell: I just read this comment. And I have no idea what you mean by “not giving into the ‘keep them together’ ringleader parents”. This comment seems inflammatory. Am I missing something here? We got a note signed by all the
    Options teachers with reasons to stay. They brought up some good points about still having recess and taking on leadership roles at the school, etc., but I have no idea where this is coming from. Look, I am trying to help people who have reservations about the school and becoming part of the Options program. That’s all.

  • 714. AGBell  |  April 7, 2016 at 10:28 am


    We had heard that some of the 6th grade option *parents* were (scare quotes) ‘encouraging’ others to not have their kids go the ACs to keep the group of kids together or some such. So hearing that someone is *definitely* leaving is interesting.

    The school’s view is totally legit, and is something that *should* be said, to help reassure parents and kids who would rather stay for whatever reason. Plus its consistent with the interests of the school.

  • 715. Norwood  |  April 7, 2016 at 10:31 am

    @672 The 4th grade and 8th grade teachers are new. Hopefully they know what they are getting into and are qualified, but new is new, and yes, leaving a neighborhood school is always really hard.

    @676 The Chinese program is Mandarin with characters, but it’s not in rigorous and it’s really an opportunity lost. We’ve all complained about it but it’s a funding issue and none of us want to give up band, sports, or art.

  • 716. Taking the SN Spot!  |  April 7, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Went to the Skinner North open house yesterday. We are definitely taking the spot in kindergarten. My wife, daughter and I were very impressed with the facility, teachers and parents. We almost could not get our daughter to leave! Now if we can only get our preschooler in there in 2 years…

  • 717. pritzkermom  |  April 7, 2016 at 11:46 am

    @421 I haven’t seen all the comments so I don’t know if this has been answered but compare the poverty rates at the other higher ranking schools and for the most part the higher ranking schools have lower poverty rates which is part of it. Also, the state ranking is based on ISAT and is 2 years old. ISAT is no longer used. Also, if comparing schools, a school that is 100% gifted (e.g. edison) will have a higher score b/c it is self-selected by kids who score well on standardized tests. Pritzker is only 1/3 “gifted.” My daughter has been there for 5 years. I have felt safe with her in school there and in the surrounding neighborhood. We don’t live in the neighborhood but friends who do let their kids walk to/from school by themselves. Also, when rankings are based solely on test scores, you miss a lot. Pritzker is a 1+ school which is the highest ranking of cps and offers art, music, drama, dance, and a library with a librarian. The parent community is diverse and active. Overall, a great school.

  • 718. LR  |  April 7, 2016 at 11:46 am

    @714: Interesting because I have been totally upfront with everyone in our class that my daughter is taking the spot at Lane and have had no pushback at all. There are quite a few AC offers out there with lots of kids on the fence, but I think it has more to do with the fact that the kids are very attached to their classmates more than any specific parent pressure. I know some kids in the class are really thinking it over, talking to current and former AC students before they decide…and that’s a good thing. In some cases, the parent and child have different opinions and are trying to sort it out. Also, visiting Lane last night, I can tell you it wasn’t all smiles and sunshine. They tried to give a dose of reality as much as they tried to sell the school. So, we’ll see what happens. It could be the case that most end up staying.

  • 719. AGBell  |  April 7, 2016 at 11:54 am

    “my information comes from people who had Kindergarteners who were in classes with 35 other kids. ”

    Didn’t happen. They hired a 4th K teacher that year. There were 115 kids, including deaf program, in K that year. 28/29 per class, tops.

    Maybe there were 36 kids in some of the specials, but not in the regular classroom.

  • 720. One parent  |  April 7, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Just a thought about the school rankings based on the score..
    Of course, the test score is not the only information that we should consider, however, if the school with 1/3 of “gifted students” couldn’t get a better test score than a neighborhood school without any “gifted students”, then it says something. As a parent, I use the school rankings as one of my references to decide which school to choose. Here is the rankings of 2015, I don’t see much difference after stopping ISAT:

  • 721. MP  |  April 7, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    @Dee, RiverNorthMom, SkinnerGoldCoast, and others in this blog who got offer from SN:
    How did you like the tour yesterday? My family will be accepting as we feel that SN is a perfect fit for our son.
    On the different note when I checked the SN website last night I was shocked to find out that the whole school was evacuated that very same day due to the bomb treat and no one mentioned anything during the tour..

  • 722. South Loop Mom  |  April 7, 2016 at 12:42 pm

    Tier 4, Scored 132. Applied to NTA and did not get an offer.

  • 723. New to Skinner North Mom  |  April 7, 2016 at 12:44 pm


    We received an offer to Skinner North for Kindergarten and I have a 2nd grader at Jackson Lang. We will have him take test for 4th grade since it’s too late for 3rd grade. Does anyone know what the classical school test is like for entering 4th grade? And if there’s any chance getting into SN at 4th, 5th or 6th grade levels? Thank you

  • 724. SN parent  |  April 7, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    @723 There are more spots open in 4th grade than 5th or 6th because the class size goes up from 30 – 32 in 4th and stays that way until someone leaves the program. FWIW, in the past, there have been new transfers each year for all of the grades above.

    @721 They probably didn’t want to worry incoming parents. It’s not an everyday occurrence, that’s for sure! It’s pretty disruptive and hopefully they can try to find a way to catch whoever phoned in the threat. The same thing happened at Lane a few months ago.

  • 725. LR  |  April 7, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    @719: Okay, I believe you about class size, even though I heard otherwise back in 2010-2011. But, that was a bit of a digression from my original point. We like the school. Bell is good. I am telling people to go if you have the chance. But, you will get a similarly good education at Beaubien. People think of it as substandard and I do not think so, based on our experience.

  • 726. LotharOfTheHillPeople  |  April 7, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    ConflictedParent: another perspective on these comments from Norwood:

    “The second grade teacher is like Mary Poppins. I’m not sure how she does it, but she’s great. She’s only been in the program for 2 years.

    “The 3rd grade teacher is my favorite. She’s like a drill sergeant. Something happened a few years ago, because she mellowed. I don’t get the complaints like I used to, but she’s still my favorite. Not everyone shares this view.

    “The 5th grade and 6th grade teachers form a team of math and science versus reading and history. I used to think the 6th grade teacher was the best, but the 5th grade teacher is getting better as she gets more experience. When these 2 presented their curriculum at parents night in the fall, I though my son was having freshman orientation for college.

    “That leaves the 4th and 8th grade teachers, which I am not familiar. Maybe we’ll just take a break for these years, but I doubt it.”


    The second-grade teacher is not beloved by all, and some parents feel the curriculum is not a logical progression after the awesome first-grade teacher.

    Fifth-grade teacher is in her second year at Bell. Some parents believe the math instruction could be better.

    Eighth-grade teacher moved to eighth from fifth when the fifth-grade teacher started in 2014. Kids/parents who had her in fifth (or in sixth, for math) were not all thrilled to hear that the kids would have her again.

  • 727. River North Mom  |  April 7, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    @MP: So scary abt the bomb threat! Just read the Chicago Tribune article on it.

    Our family will also be accepting the SN spot. The staff and the current SN parents giving tours all seemed to genuinely care about the school and want to see it continue to succeed.

  • 728. Dee  |  April 7, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    @721 MP We were on the tour yesterday and also loved it. I just accepted the position (despite the threat yesterday!) I was impressed by several things. 1. our neighborhood school is not an option so I like the fact that everyone at SN is coming from another neighborhood. I have heard many things about other schools and the way there is friction between those in the area and not. 2. I like that they have repeatedly mentioned they are focused on SEL and not test scores-also very important to me personally. 3. I was relieved to see the diversity of the new class and also learn that before and aftercare is onsite. Having to go to another location would be a dealbreaker for us. 4. I like the principal and I liked that he sent out an email to those accepted to begin with. 5. I am glad there is bussing-even though I’m not sure I will use it for our first year(s). At least it is an option for now. 6. Knowing that if my son thrives here, he will almost be guaranteed to get a spot at a HS he is interested in is also a relief. 7. I love that it is a small school and looks like there is a place for easy drop offs. 8. 30/20/10 school yay!

    The only thing I am concerned about is the neighborhood. I drove by on a weekend and saw many adults in the park (not kids which is weird?) but I just don’t like that they go out into a public park behind the school that anyone can access.

  • 729. 4th Grade Pritzker  |  April 7, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    We will be declining the spot for 4th Grade at Pritzker (RGC Score: 150). Just an FYI for anyone waiting….

  • 730. SNMommy  |  April 7, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Yes, Skinner North was the recipient of a hoax bomb threat yesterday at about 11:45 a.m. Within a couple minutes after the call, our K-8 students were ALL out of the building, heading over to our terrific neighbor, Jenner Academy, where our students and faculty were graciously welcomed and fed lunch.

    Within 20-30 minutes of the initial hoax call (once the kids were safe and the Chicago Police were handling things), our principal called parents via robocall and sent us an email with details on what had happened, how our children were doing, and what the next steps were going to be. 20 minutes later, he sent us another robocall and email letting us know the building was all clear and what the next steps were going to be. By 2:15 p.m, the assistant principal sent us an email with an update and some information on how to talk to our children about what had occurred. Throughout this whole time, the PTO was posting these and other helpful messages on the PTO Facebook page and classroom pages. Parents were texting one another, sharing information. The communication was clear and timely. No BS, just facts that we anxious parents wanted to know.

    The school’s teachers and administrators were INCREDIBLE. It was made very clear to all parents that if they wanted to, they could come and pick their children up at SN. No judgment, just “do what you need to do, we will be here for you.” I would say that most did not pick up their children early, but I could be wrong. My child stayed, even for onsite after school activities.

    In a way, I owe that cowardly bastard who made the hoax call a debt of gratitude. We all talk about how much we all LOVE our kids’ schools and teachers. At 11:45 a.m. yesterday, I had my years of belief in Skinner North tested. Do I trust them with my child? Will they take care of my little boy?

    I do. And they did. Beautifully.

    I picked him up after his activity and he was unfazed by the whole thing. In fact, he thought it was “fun.” (No, he is not to my knowledge a sociopath!) He just knew to trust the incredible staff and teachers at Skinner North, people who truly care about him. They ate lunch, sang songs, talked, played games, etc.

    I told him the truth of what had happened and asked him what he thought of it. He thought the person was crazy who made that call. I asked him if he thought his school was safe now and he looked at me like I was nuts. “Yep, probably safer than before this happened.” He’s probably right.

    As for talking about it at the open house, I imagine that if someone would have asked about it, the very down-to-earth administration and teachers would have easily answered the questions. Since it has never happened before, it simply does not make sense to bring it up to that audience.

    Well, there ya go. Not only does SN excel at social-emotional learning and academics, they know how to handle a crisis. (And I know how to write long-winded answers about Skinner North!)

  • 731. famc1124  |  April 7, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    Has anyone ever moved a child from a comprehensive gifted program to a regional gifted program? I’m wondering how much of a difference there is.

  • 732. AGBell  |  April 7, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    LR: “Okay, I believe you about class size, even though I heard otherwise back in 2010-2011.”

    In 10-11, there were 71 kids in K, and 3 teachers. 09-10 it was 86, and three teachers. 08-09 was 83, and three teachers. (all per 20th day data)

    iirc correctly, there was some concern expressed about the *possibility* that the 71 kids would get merged into 2 classrooms, but it didn’t happen.

  • 733. CS  |  April 7, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I just called OAE to confirm their receipt of our acceptance letter and she said that six employees’ last day is tomorrow (4/8), so they will be slow in entering in acceptance letters due to reduced man power. I’m guessing this will mean longer waits for second round offers.

  • 734. Suzanne  |  April 7, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    @198 @281 @283, I have a daughter who is currently at Lenart and she is in KG, The KG teacher Ms. Flaherty is AWESOME!!! if you all have any questions about Lenart please feel free to ask here or email me at smccray21@hotmail.com.

  • 735. cpsobsessed  |  April 7, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Oh man, that is depressing. I bet they could get parent volunteers if it wasn’t for the confidentiality issues.

    “I just called OAE to confirm their receipt of our acceptance letter and she said that six employees’ last day is tomorrow (4/8), so they will be slow in entering in acceptance letters due to reduced man power. I’m guessing this will mean longer waits for second round offers.”

  • 736. Lenart Parent  |  April 7, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I have two children at Lenart and we really like it there. My youngest one is in K now and we love the teacher. No school is perfect, but Lenart has a lot of positives. The main thing for me is that my children are very happy and have formed wonderful friendships with a very diverse group of kids. They are exceeding their growth expectations on testing and are adequately challenged. As far as communication, I have not found the teachers to be lacking in communication with parents at ALL. The kids have art, gym, music and computers. The French teacher resigned and the position is now open. If foreign language is a big selling point for you, in all honesty, I feel they are lacking in that particular area. But, overall, it’s been great for us. I volunteer at the school frequently and the kids are awesome!

  • 737. Confused but hopeful  |  April 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    My son scored 125 on the rgc (tier 3). Our first choice was Pritzker, any chance of an offer late in the game?
    Also, how does the 2nd round work? Will the schools call or is it another round of letters?
    Finally, we have a lottery offer for a magnet school, if we accept that, does it take us out of the running for a late rgc offer?

  • 738. CPS parent  |  April 7, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    @confused but hopeful
    I don’t know exactly how low pritzker has gone in the past but my daughter had a 140 two years ago and never got a late round offer – I don’t think I put pritzker on the app though, can’t remember.

    We got a second round offer for a non-entry year to a classical school and it came via a robocall and an email. I think we might have gotten a letter later on as well but can’t remember. We did get multiple emails and phone calls though.

    You can accept a magnet offer without it impacting your sees waitlist – they’re completely separate systems.

    Good luck!

  • 739. New to South Side  |  April 7, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    @Suzanne thank you for your willingness to talk. I will certainly be reaching out to you soon. The cps parent survey pointed to parent/teacher interaction as weak so I’m glad you cleared that up.
    @Lenart Parent they mentioned the French teacher resigned. I want my child to have a language so it is pretty important that they offer something. I’m watching that closely. I’m not expecting her to be fluent by 4th grade because it is not immersion but I’m expecting some competency.

  • 740. MP  |  April 7, 2016 at 9:22 pm

    @Dee, RiverNorthMom, SkinnerGoldCoast, Taking the SN spot, New to SN mom, and others whose child will be entering K at SN this fall, please contact me at d-maric@northwestern.edu if you would like to meet! Looking forward to getting to know you all!

  • 741. Bel  |  April 7, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    May I ask you why? Would you message me if not wanting to discuss in this venue.

  • 742. JelenaN  |  April 7, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    What does it mean 113 proxymity ?!
    My doughtier have that in letter and we appled for Hawtorne for kindergarten.
    Is there any chance?!
    Thank you

  • 743. HOPE N  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Has anyone had offers for Beasley Gifted Program? Scores and thoughts on program, teachers, numbers,etc.

  • 744. Maria  |  April 8, 2016 at 7:45 am

    @cps papa….

    Did u go to the informational session yesterday at Beaubien? Just wondering what ur thoughts were? If u did.

  • 745. CS  |  April 8, 2016 at 8:23 am

    @jelenaN (#742) – that means you are #113 on the waitlist. Unfortunately you will likely not get in.

  • 746. snmom  |  April 8, 2016 at 9:57 am


  • 747. parent312  |  April 8, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @AGBell – LR is correct. In 2011-12 There were 36 kids in one of the Bell K classes. I know this because my friend’s child was in that class and I used to pick them up. There was a surge of families in the younger grades at Bell for a while. That has since tapered off and the addition has helped as well.

    While this blog can be helpful, it is still one parent’s (or stranger, who knows?) opinion compared to another. And I have read comments here about several schools which I know first-hand are factually incorrect. If you’ve gotten an offer from Bell, or any other school, visit the school. But not just the tours. Go to an LSC meeting – you’ll see what the priorities are in the budget and curriculum and how the administration works with parents. If you can, go to an after school activity or sports event. See how the families interact (or don’t) with each other. It might be too late for this, but I found it helpful when I was trying to make a decision years ago. But, that’s just my opinion. Good luck everyone!

  • 748. HOPE N  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:12 am

    @LetterFeltLikePunch #692.

    You”ll certainly get offer from Carnegie.
    We like,the UC area and separate gifted wing to separate from the L ments

  • 749. Momof3  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:19 am

    We got an offer for Beaubien with an RGC score of 124 tier 4 for 1st grade. Went to the tour yesterday, well went to the info session as we weren’t allowed to tour he grounds because of PARCC. It sounds very STEM oriented. I liked it a lot better than Pritzker (I turned down the spot in favor of Agassiz) on many aspects in the curriculum. They use Everyday Math for K-4 and then the upper grade math teacher pretty much uses her own curriculum for algebra I, II and some geometry. Science lab once a week for the younger grades and then older grades everyday.gym 2x a week, Dance, art, Spanish and music for electives. For the options program they have classical studies (word entomology with Latin – so they took out what they liked about their classical studies and are using some of the curriculum of that class) and a logic class once a week.

    Some things that I didn’t like we’re that because they have so many electives they get them everyother week and only 45min instead of once a week. For example Spanish is every-other week for the lower grades. If you have been familiar with schools that have a CPS language they will not become fluent with even the twice-3 times a week for schools with K-8. At least that has been my experience with a Arabic program. Maybe Spanish will be easier to learn in that context but not everyother week. So if you’re expecting fluency it’s not going to be there. Again the same with the other electives to a lesser extent. I guess I would be happy with having the electives instead of none. And I’m used to having the kids have Music, dance, language and gym 2-3x a week at our magnet school at Agassiz.

    Another thing that concerns me more is that when I aske about whether or not they had a Friends Of fundraising organization the principal was very defensive about the PTO and said they were going to stay a PTO. I was trying to make the point of how this year schools with just PTOs have been told that if they have any overhead (even if they were saving for a larger project) in their budget it was going back to CPS and it will not come back to those schools in rollover next year. Pretty much they’ve been to use it or loose it. I know of several of my friends at different schools who are on PTOs are trying like mad this year to spend their funds because of the policy year and angry because they had some funds saved up for a playground. they now are in the process of switching the PTO to an Friends of. She flat it said that this was not the case for any CPS schools and she expects everything to roll over. So either she is playing stupid or what. I don’t know. It’s a little concerning that she wouldn’t be aware of this or doesn’t want to admit to this mandate from CPS. Our Friends of Agassiz organization and principal has been setting aside and budgeting for cuts so we were able to get through this last round of cuts with out any layoffs. But it means we will not be able to hire an art teacher next year. I’m just giving an example how our fundraising savings in a friends of instead of a PTO has been beneficial.
    Am I overly concerned about this or not?

    The last thing is that the discipline policy is that the teachers make their own policy, that it’s not a responsive classroom or school wide discipline procedure. They do have a new antibullying program called Olweus that they started this year. I’m not familiar with it and will be researching it today. The Principals statement was kids will be kids when asked about improper behaivior. So I’m a little concerned about that since I’m used to the responsive classroom situation and see how well it’s worked with my oldest who is a second grader who is smaller than the schools preschool kids 😉 My incoming first grader who may be moving to an RGC is a little bit more sensitive about his small size so if he’s getting teased about it he gets in a slump I am hoping that this will happen less in an RGC classroom but it’s a little concerning not to have a school wide code of discipline.
    Also walking into the tour I overheard a student whom I’m assuming was an IEP student taking a break from their classroom told his aid that he was really happy that he gets to recess today because he earned it back. I know know Agassiz’s policy is that they don’t loose recess no matter what and I had believed it was CPS’s but it was a conversation overheard so I don’t know the specifics of it.

    I’m still on the fence of accepting and am going to Bell’s tour next week. I don’t know if his score is high enough to get into Bell or my first choice of Coonley. My oldest son who is a second grader will be staying at Agassiz, even if he gets an RGC offer,as its liberal arts curriculum is a perfect fit for him and the kids are just a really great set of kids emotionally and supportively. I had turned down an RGC program spot for him in Kindergarten and am really happy I did. I’m scared to loose that for my second child but he definitely is needing something more in his interest of mathematics and science and more in depth conversations as he’s not finding many kids in his class who want to know why a piston engine works or why a certain thing goes faster or how something breakes/brakes. I know that we have the IB program for the later grades at Agassiz and we’re trying to implement as much as we can the lower grades and many of the parents and somewhat the principal are pushing to have an advanced math class for the upper grades with geometry.

    I hope that helps with people who didn’t go to the tour for Beaubien. And if anyone has any input on Beaubien and my concerns on a Friends of organization vs PTO. It would really be helpful.

  • 750. NEWSkinnerNorh  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:21 am

    @SkinnerGoldCoast #196, we got into SN for 1st grade and we live in downtown. Michigan and Randolph. i am wondering what are the options for school bus OR dropoff/on? Can an existing SN parent provide some info please?

  • 751. Momof3  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:24 am

    Oh also I forgot to say after reading about the separate wing of Carnegie. Beaubien has the classes set up like Coonley and NTA where they have the school as one school and all the grades are together and they mix the kids for the elective classes gym, math, dance, art with other kids from the regular classes. Which I am a really big proponent of because it gives the kids the one for all and all for one whole school mentality.

  • 752. Julia  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:29 am

    750, NEWSkinnerNorth, As long as you’re more than 1.5 miles away (and less than 6 miles away) your kid will get to take the bus. We started our son on the bus in January of 1st grade at SN. He would go to our neighborhood school and the bus would pick him up there, and would drop him back off there too. With the consolidation of stops, his bus stop was moved to another nearby neighborhood school, but it was still close (.5 miles instead of .4 miles from our house) enough to be walking distance. Hope that helps.

  • 753. 2nd time around  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:35 am

    @750 Do you mind sharing your child’s score?

  • 754. karet  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:37 am

    @750, 752. The SN busing boundaries are from Foster to Cermak. (each edge of the city). There is no requirement that you live within 6 miles. The pick-up /drop off is usually your neighborhood school (or one close by).

    Each SEES has its own busing boundaries:


  • 755. NEWSkinnerNorh  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:38 am

    thanks @julia 752. The Principal mentioned few things:
    – Parents can Car pool Or use Private services. Some parents are already doing that. Is there more information I can get for the above?
    – AfterSchool:
    — Does the school bus also take kids after school finishes?
    — How is the paid after school program Vs free after school? My concern is mostly about timings and school bus service for after-school.—–Thanks

  • 756. NEWSkinnerNorh  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

    @753: 2nd time around — my kid got 99 in reading and 99 in mathematics

  • 757. Julia  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:43 am

    NEWSkinnerNorth, we had to pull our kid out of the SN afterschool program because of the bus. There isn’t a bus that will bring him home after the afterschool program ends, so we were having to drive down and pick him up at 5:30-6 pm every day, then drive all the way home. I looked into doing a private school van service to bring him home after afterschool programs, but it was pricey (like slightly less than the cost of simply hailing a cab). I know some families do this, though.

    And karet- I didn’t realize that the 1.5-6 mile boundaries varied by school!! Interesting.

  • 758. karet  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:50 am

    The 1.5 – 6 mile busing boundary only applies to magnet schools (although there are a few magnets with no busing, like Disney II). It is unfortunate that the busing boundaries aren’t made clear to families when they apply to SEES. I’m pretty sure that I correct this idea (that you have to live within 6 mi) every year on this blog! But it can have a big impact on where people apply and/or accept spots.

  • 759. Julia  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:53 am

    karet: Scary to think what would happen if they ever discontinue the bussing for SEES and Magnets. That caveat at the bottom of the page you linked to gives me a stomachache!

  • 760. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 8, 2016 at 11:58 am

    @momof3… I have a kid who went from Beaubien to Pritzker, and ended up loving it a whole lot more than the Beaubien RGC. My son and his classmate both left Beaubien for Pritzker, and both of our kids LOVE going to school and love the program. We offered both the opportunity to try to go back to Beaubien and both said no.
    My son transferred out of the neighborhood program, so we did not sit through the options classes there, although we had a lot of interaction with them, especially in his last year there, as the teacher (neighborhood) did a lot of work to try and get my son resources so that he wasn’t stagnant that year. We had experience with the Options math teacher, who is insanely smart at math but MANY parents find abrasive and difficult to work with. I did not have that experience with her but many parents have who have children in her class over the span of 5th thru 8th grade (whom I know personally.) The Latin component is pretty much non-existant now that the position has been cut. The latin teacher now teaches one of the neighborhood 3rd grade classes.

    Olweaus is not seen as effective amongst the kids and I haven’t seen much difference in how things are handled from last year til now. Many of the kids say they are now forced to play with kids they don’t want to play with or they will get in trouble.

    After experiencing 6 years of Beaubien’s specials (art, dance, music) and now experiencing Pritzker’s, Pritzker’s is HEADS above Beaubien in that aspect. It is phenomenal. The spanish is not so good but I think it’s on par pretty much with every other school in the sense that the language classes are ineffective (once every other week.)

    The kids also had a special hip hop dance class. From the letter home: “I Am That I Kid Foundation is one of our dance programs at Pritzker and is also a mentoring program and was founded by Tony “Wave” Wesley, also known as Mr. Wave. I Am That Kid Foundation teaches our students Hip Hop Dance moves and Mr. Wave has also been here at Pritzker participating in Dance Programs here at Pritzker.
    Mr. Wave has been invited to perform at the final Obama Administration Easter Egg Roll in conjunction with the Hip Hop Public Health Initiative at the White House – TWICE!!!”
    My son adored this opportunity and spoke of it each time they had hip hop class.

    They have been on 6 or 7 field trips already at Pritzker. The PTO is good at Beaubien but can be exclusive. I really like the “Friends of” style and they have done a LOT to fundraise. Literally every week there is some sort of fundraiser you can participate in that requires little work, doing something as simple as dining out at many of the restaurants that are surrounding Pritzker. Wicker Park is chock full of life and businesses, and these businesses have no problems helping out our school.

    The school staff and student body is vibrant and diverse, both in the neighborhood program AND the options program. The options program at Beaubien is fairly homogenous. That may not factor in for a lot of families but it was quite the refreshing change for my family. There are a lot of teachers we love at Beaubien- from the neighborhood program to the options program. Mrs. Fly is fantastic and my son still misses her. She is also the only options teacher who works with the neighborhood program. As far as differentiation, I know that my son’s class does a tremendous amount of differentiation at Pritzker.

    Also, as a school they often host free seminars to Pritzker parents catering to the needs of their gifted families needs. I have attended 2 this year but that is a resource I have found very helpful. They are run by the Chicago Gifted Community Center. Last night there were families who homeschool, were from Catholic schools, from Winnetka, and Pritzker in attendance.

    They do monthly “pretty up Pritzker” events where families come in and concentrate on refreshing and cleaning up the school. They have a TON of before and after school activities. and they are about to enter a huge yearly event at Pritzker, the Festival of the Arts.

    Anyways, that is my 2c having experienced both schools. I am a big advocate for my child, and I did A LOT of work with the phenomenal classroom teachers he had that gave me so much room to guide him within their classrooms so that he could continue learning. And I am grateful for their team of teachers (especially in 4th) who allowed him to teach in each of the classrooms so that he could fulfill his projects we created.

    Pritzker may not have been right for your family, but based on your concerns I would hold out to see what Bell has to offer before making the decision.

  • 761. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Oh yeah, I forgot to add, that they do mix one class of Options with 1 class of neighborhood kids for music and art; however they just segregate in the classes despite the “effort.”

  • 762. rewing123  |  April 8, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I mean to ask at the tour (and it takes on a bit of a different meaning after the bomb threat) but I meant to ask about security. Doors locked, camera at front, security guard, etc. and what the day to day security is. You can pm me if it’s easier: rewing123 at gmail

  • 763. CBZ Mom  |  April 8, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Can someone please verify… If I accept our offer at Decatur, can I still get an offer from one of our wait listed neighborhood schools? Thanks!

  • 764. Dee  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    @ SNMommy and rewing123. Please let me know about security as well. It was probably my only concern. Especially the open access to the park in the back of the school. It just freaks me out.

  • 765. MP  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    @Dee and rewing123 I am totally with you on this.. any feedback from current families is welcomed!

  • 766. Momof3  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    @763 CBZ Mom – yes it’s a totally separating waiting list at the neighborhood or Magnet schools i.e. Hawthorne, Lasalle, Burr.
    If you accept Decatur you will be out of the running for any of the other SEES schools RGC and Classical. i.e. Edison, Coonley, Skinner North etc.

  • 767. Momof3  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Er. separate sorry autocorrect from the iPad is aggravating.

  • 768. Julia  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Regarding security at Skinner North: the building is locked during the day, with a buzzer and a security camera. You’re right, the neighborhood park (Stanton) has a playground that is adjacent to the Skinner North playground, not separated by anything except the different ground textures (woodchips in the park district playground versus concrete/artificial outdoor ground in the SN play areas). There are also basketball courts that are SN and basketball courts that are park district. When we’ve gone to Skinner North for events that take place out back, a couple of times a year in the afternoon when it’s nice out, there are lots of neighborhood kids and families on the Stanton playground and courts. The kids mingled a little on the Stanton Park equipment, but mostly everyone stayed in their own space. I haven’t seen or heard of any issues and I’ve never felt unsafe at all.

    You may also be aware that the neighborhood is about to undergo a massive transformation with the development of basically every open area you see outside of Stanton Park. If you google cabrini-green redevelopment plan, e.g., you’ll see that there are plans afoot for every square inch of open space to become retail, condos, and a high school. This will change the feel of the neighborhood drastically, for good or bad.

  • 769. Momof3  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    @760. 2ndtimesAcharm
    You hit exactly on the points that I was getting the feeling of with Beabiean. The Latin part about we took out what we liked about Latin…it certainly sounds like they did that because they cut a position. When the principal’s hackles got raised about the question of the PTO vs An Friends of sounds like it’s an exclusive club in which the principal doesn’t want any changes to it because she still controls all of the funds. I know that any RGC will differentiate especially in math where a lot of even the top performing magnets have a problem doing that in a classroom setting. Olweus did sound like they were trying to put a too small of a bandaid on a larger problem that would probably be solved a larger responsible classroom school wide discipline policy. And you touched on the diversity aspect that I couldn’t see unless I would have toured the school. I’m a large proponent of a diverse school one of the things that I liked about Agassiz as they are pretty much 25% around the board with ethnicity, social class and IEP students.

    With that aspect of the diverse population and we are doing very well as a school. My experience with the tours at Pritzker were that I did not think I could get along with the principal very well. The first time she bellowed at parents about organizing to smaller groups instead of using the mic to explain what was going on. That was 4 years ago when I was looking at it for my Eldest. The second time last year she spent 5 minutes telling the parents it’s a very good thing that you guys are on time and was bashing the parents that were coming in late. I loved the school the first time around and I thought that the tough principal act was an act. And shook it off. It was my first choice between Agassiz and Pritzker RGC we didn’t come off waiting list there and so I got to experience Agassiz for 2 years.

    Coming back from a little bit more experience in looking at schools for my middle child and having someone berate parents for coming late (I was early) to a place where one has no idea where the main door is and trying to get to the school was a little condiscending. I decided that it wasn’t just a one off with the principal. It also is quite aways from where I live in Lincoln Square I wasn’t looking forward to having to go through traffic south than back North. Kind of my same sentiments about Beabiean at least it’s closer to our house.

    The other reason why was while I liked the RGC they didn’t try to do things with the other neighborhood students and they even further differentiated their class rooms to low performing to the higher sticking some teachers with 7 or 8 IEP students. I was looking at it as an all around school and really it should be performing a little better on the neighborhood side. Yes the RGC program is awesome in differentiation and is a good program. It just seems as if the school caters more to the RGC program and not trying to have interventions in place for the neighborhood program. I have had friends who have gone to pritzker and had both a kid in neighborhood and the RGC program tell me the same and finally relieved when the neighborhood kid got into the RGC. In fact Agassiz had a few kids comeback after they went one year there and decided Agassiz was a better fit for their kid. I also had an RGC teacher from pritzker on her off time that it wasn’t much better in curriculum than Agassiz maybe about a half year or so ahead. And actually digging into the curriculum and talking to the 1st grade teacher at Pritzker RGC I was kind of surprised of where my first grader was compared to where her kids were. Maybe it ramps up a little more in the later grades? Also again the electives were everyother week and I’m used to the electives being 2x a day for an hour and 2-3x a week. So that must be a norm for larger schools to have electives Every other week.
    I don’t know Pritzker just seemed like it got worse from when we toured it the first time to the time we toured it in March last year when we were certain we were going to turn down NTA and were positive that we were going to second round offer and we did but we were close on the list at Coonley we had a 144 and something like 13th on the waitlist after second round and decided to take the chance because we were ok with our current school. I put Pritzker down again this year as a last choice so if we get a call for second round I may tour it again and look more closely based on what you were saying and with the idea that yes the neighborhood component is not that great but the RGC is pretty good. I really like the drama component there much better than I like ours at Agassiz. Really it’s a give and take for anything.

    Probably too much information but hopefully this helps others in the same decision process as we are going through. Next year is my daughter’s turn for K and I’m looking forward to seeing what she ends up doing on SEES and probably having three kids in three different schools.

  • 770. CBZ Mom  |  April 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    @766 Momof3 Thank you very much!

  • 771. Maria  |  April 8, 2016 at 3:24 pm


    I was at the Beaubien tour also and feel exactly what u are saying “mom of 3″. Since my daughter was at LaSalle for her elementary school….and they had 40 minutes of their chosen language…I have to learn to accept that this is not a norm for schools that aren’t a language academy. What was instilled in my head was….”kids will be kids”. And they have one security guard for over 1100 students? Really? I’m sure they don’t have many problems that would arise but….. Class size is 30? My son’s I class right now is 26 and when I went on your the prinicipal stated it would probably stay 26 for 1st grade…or 27. And they don’t have a kitchen? No bueno….

  • 772. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 8, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    @mom of 3, I was also taken aback a bit by the principal, but then again I had been so used to Beaubien’s and so I just shook it off. I am glad I did though, because when I had a specific question and concern she had me come right in and we had a very nice and productive discussion about it. I think stylistically she is different than I was used to but it didn’t deter me when I toured and the really helpful teachers I encountered on the tour. That was our deciding factor, since they gave me resources and time before we even accepted there. I have a child going in to the 1st grade fine arts classroom in the fall, so I will have a good feel after that for how the non-rgc works… I did speak to a few other parents that have children in the RGC and fine arts program and they were happy. I know it just depends on the experiences of the people you talk to… I was concerned about my child not being in a strong “math” school like Beaubien was…. however I have found that not the case, as his teacher challenges him well and differentiates… and I did ask Mrs. Barrett (the Beaubien RGC math teacher) about the curriculum Pritzker uses and she said it was a good one, and so I felt confident that he’s at least working along the same lines as she would.

    I am going to take my daughter to the open house this Saturday 10-12 so she can see it for her classroom and such. Thanks for sharing your input! I love both schools for what they are, but after the different feel at Pritzker (for us, since we went in at 5th and now will be at 1st) I have been happy enough and impressed enough to give it praise. But these are my experiences, and I think this year if you read through the comments you will find a lot of happy parents, where as last year at this time when I was trying to decide I wasn’t sure because of lack of parents from Pritzker talking. Good luck in whatever choice you make!

  • 773. NewtoSkinnerNorth Mom  |  April 8, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    @724 SN Parent, thank you so much for that feedback!! That is good to know. Do you know if there is testing required for the upper grade entry (4th, 5th, grade) or is admissions based on the previous year PARCC and/or NWEA scores? I had my 2nd grader tested for Kinder but didn’t get an offer at the time. I was bummed. I absolutely fell in love with SN when I toured the school in 2012. I’d love to have both my kids at Skinner just like many others who who multiple school aged children in cps! 😊

    @740 MP, yes, it would be great to connect with the new Parents of Kindergarteners! Looking forward to meeting everyone as well as the current families of SN!!!

  • 774. Tina  |  April 8, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    Wow, this board is SO northside heavy!!

    @748: Hope N, did/do you have a kid at Carnegie? Did you originally apply there, or did you just happen to land there because OAE contacted you? How many kids in the RGC kindergarten class? What can you tell me about the teacher and the curriculum? Lastly, what do you mean by, “the L ment”? I’m not sure if I agree with ‘wings’ and separating kids in the same school. I would also have a kindergartener that would need to be in the traditional program as well.

  • 775. Dr. Pepper  |  April 8, 2016 at 4:17 pm

    I went to Keller today for a tour, and I was very disappointed. The principal talked ad nauseum about test scores and extensive homework schedules. She said they shoot for 1.5 hours of homework per day in first grade and then bump that up each year until they get to 3 hours PER DAY of homework in 8th grade. She said that their after-school programs are targeted towards students in 3rd, 5th, and 8th grades to boost test scores. It made me think Keller is ranked well only because they focus so heavily on test scores. I don’t know if I want my son at that school any longer.

  • 776. 60643Mom  |  April 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Dr. Pepper – I am sorry that was your takeaway. There is so much more to Keller school and our community there. My son is in 6th grade at Keller and does not have anywhere near that much homework. He has been there since 1st grade. Please feel free to email me kmbenson75@yahoo.com, if you want to chat more.

  • 777. famc  |  April 8, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    i’m going to try again…has anyone moved their child from a comprehensive gifted program to a regional gifted school? Say from Disney to Edison (or something similar)?? I wonder how different they are. I hear the RGC kids are two years above grade level, while my child in comprehensive gifted is only one year above for core subjects.

  • 778. Flowingcity  |  April 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    Can any current Keller parent advise how the school handle bully issue if there is any? And how’s the security? I’m concerned because my DD is so much smaller than her age peers.
    Thank you so much in advance for your input!

  • 779. augustmama  |  April 9, 2016 at 12:08 am

    Can anyone provide feedback on what it was like for your child to enter one of the RGC programs for K with a late summer birthday? Any feedback on the social and/or academic adjustment would be really helpful.

  • 780. sunshine  |  April 9, 2016 at 8:56 am

    @Dr. Pepper: As it says: Practice makes perfect. I think the kids would get hold of concepts and skills through a lot of homeworks. Don’t be afraid of the practice.The kids are doing well at schools and at home.Majority of kids get straight As although the workload is much heavier that other ordinary schools.( I heard SW classic has the same workload too from other parents.) Keller has plenty of learning resources to challenge their potentials. So if you kids are selected without rigorous preparation for the entrance exam, everything will be fine.

  • 781. CurlyMom  |  April 9, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Great feedback Sunshine. I have the same concern with my August child. He did not take prep courses and he tested into a Classical school. Now we have to decide between a Magnet close to home with his older sibling or the Classical school in the opposite direction.

  • 782. sunshine  |  April 9, 2016 at 11:37 am

    @flowingcity: Keller has a very good atmosphere with learning and respecting each other. Bully will not be an issue because your kid is smaller . My 1st grader son takes school bus everyday and have good friends with high level graders. Also they have lunch together with high level graders (up to 8 grade). Never heard about bullies. My big son entered Decatur at 6 grade and did experience school bully and had a very bad memory about 6 grade. So parents should be aware of this when their kids transfer into high grade while most of the peer students have been there for years. It should not be an issue for entry level students in every school , i think.

  • 783. Flowingcity  |  April 9, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you so much @sunshine! No more doubts, we accept the offer. We don’t really worry about the homework load, and we absolutely agree with you on practicing makes perfect. No one, including gifted children or genius, could succeed without any effort. My daughter also took the test without any preparation. She is in our neighborhood school for kindergarten.
    Thanks again and love to connect with other Keller parents. You all sound awesome!
    Here is my email: lydia_art@yahoo.com

  • 784. Pritzker curious  |  April 10, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I have read quite a few posts from prospective families of Pritzker RGC (and lots of great answers from current/former families). Any new insight from prospective families after yesterday’s open house and tour?

  • 785. SNMommy  |  April 10, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    @773 “do you know if there is testing required for the upper grade entry (4th, 5th, grade) or is admissions based on the previous year PARCC and/or NWEA scores?”

    I believe it is the same entrance exam process for non-entry grades, BUT tiers do not count. Top score gets the seat. I suggest you call OAE for accurate info.

  • 786. Jen  |  April 10, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    For those of you that have had your child tested in previous years as well, did you see any difference in test scores this year if they tested early or later in the year? My daughter tested early for K this year so we could know scores. She got an RGC score of 127, classical was R 83, M 97. Her reading ability exploded a month after testing. Not sure how differently she would have done later. But just wondering for next year if it would be beneficial score-wise to wait, or if it won’t really matter.

  • 787. CPS parent  |  April 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    My daughter tested earlier on for K (I think it was end of November) and got a 90math and 95reading. She was in a completely play-based preschool and I have never done any test prep/flash cards/direct instruction of any kind. The same thing happened with her reading exploding in March of that year before kindergarten and entered kindergarten reading at a 3rd grade level. She went to a great magnet school for kindergarten where she obviously received direct math instruction. When she tested for 1st grade she got 99math and 99reading and entered a classical school. So, I don’t know if it matters so much about what time of year she will test during next year, but just having a year of instruction under her belt might help her do better on the test.

    Interestingly her RGC score stayed pretty comparable – for K she got a 140 (and it’s out of 160) and for 1st she got a 125 (and it’s out of 150).

  • 788. Sinclair  |  April 10, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    @JRB What score @ Carnegie for your kid!

  • 789. Maria  |  April 10, 2016 at 8:45 pm


    I had my son tested for K last year in mid December and he scored RGC 126 for classical R 96 M 87…and this year had him tested for 1st and he scored RGC 127 R 99 and M 97 but this year he was tested mid January.

  • 790. Dr. Pepper  |  April 11, 2016 at 8:47 am

    I’m really surprised to read that other Keller parents are standing by the homework requirements. It looks like we’ll be rejecting the offer. Not my cup of tea.

  • 791. JRB  |  April 11, 2016 at 9:15 am

    @Sinclair tier 4 score of 134

  • 792. Mom5  |  April 11, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I am a former Keller parent and a current Kellogg parent. I would say the homework load at Keller was always very manageable for my son. There were very few times that he seemed overwhelmed by the amount of work. He had fantastic teachers throughout his entire time there. I do not love the administration’s focus on test scores, but I think that comes from CPS. As far as Kellogg, it is a really nice, quiet, small neighborhood school. I have had kids attending Kellogg for the past 9 year and have been nothing but pleased.

  • 793. Agassiz mom  |  April 11, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    @Momof3:I agree with you Agassiz is a gem!my twins are in first grade there and I’m transfer ring my older child there from Edison!
    So it’s about the right fit. Beware prospective Edison parents there is a lot of laziness and grade inflation I already called network 1 to file a complaint

  • 794. Agassiz mom  |  April 11, 2016 at 1:22 pm


  • 795. HateEdisonmom  |  April 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    Anyone ever go from RGC to a magnet?my son is leaving Edison thank god!

  • 796. HateEdisonmom  |  April 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm


  • 797. PsyMom  |  April 11, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    @Pritzker curious: I, too, was at the open house on Saturday and wondered what people thought. There’s a good chance my child will get a 2nd round offer for K in the RGC (we’re turning down an offer at Coonley). Has anyone had a child in Ms. Wilson’s RGC K class, or with her at the gifted program coordinator? She seems very organized but I didn’t get any sense of warmth from her, which I consider an important quality in teachers working with 5-6-year-olds.

    Also, the principal and assistant principal didn’t have time to say much. Can anyone comment on what it’s like to communicate with them?

  • 798. Ktj705  |  April 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Can anyone give me advice on Edison RGC? My daughter was accepted for Kindergarten.

    Pros / Cons etc. . .

  • 799. @hateedisonmom  |  April 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    @ hateedisonmom – we left Edison for a magnet after 3rd grade.. Edison was NOT right for our family, but it sounds like a lot of the staffing has changed since then. He still ‘hates’ school, but likes his friends. He is a kid with a strong personality (oppositional) and doesn’t want to be told what to do. This has been a constant…regardless of which school. I hope you find the right place for your son!

  • 800. 2ndtimesAcharm  |  April 11, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Psymom: We were at the open house for Pritzker just to show our daughter, who will be starting 1st grade there, around the school and make it special for her. Her brother already attends in the 5th grade gifted class. I have not had much contact with Mrs. Wilson, but the principal and assistant principal are very responsive and involved I have found during the course of this year. This is a hard time for open houses to be held, since teachers are wiped from PARCC and staff at many of the schools can’t even show you around in the school day because of PARCC.

  • 801. Kenwood Parent  |  April 11, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Anyone else attend the Skinner West tour today? I was really impressed by the principal, science instructor, and current parents. However, I was surprised that the Kindergarten classes are located off-site, a few blocks away. It appears that if your Kindergartener arrives early to eat breakfast, they will be bused to the off-site building (?) I had no idea about this.

  • 802. PsyMom  |  April 11, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    @2ndtimesAcharm: thank you for the input and for putting this into perspective! you’re right – it’s a very busy time. my husband is planning to attend the tour this Friday so we’ll get more info.

  • 803. Newcomer  |  April 11, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Do any Skinner North parents know if a 1st grade spot will open up between now and September?

  • 804. AnotherSNparent  |  April 11, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I can’t guarantee it but my daughter got into skinner north for 1st grade in June so there is still plenty of time. Many families who are leaving (moving out of town, burbs…) don’t officially tell the school until much closer to the end of the year so spots do open. It’s hard, but you have to be patient 😉

  • 805. ThumbsUpThumbsDown  |  April 11, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Following…went to Decatur tour today. Reminds me of the 80’s…oh wait, or was that the average staff age?

  • 806. NW side parent  |  April 11, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    @805, I also went to the Decatur tour today. The most impressive thing that I took away from the tour were the incredible students and how bright they were. It genuinely made me proud that my son was going to be a student amongst them. If all you took away from the tour was the staff’s age, then you must of been drinking the same thing in the morning that you were drinking at night when you wrote that post

  • 807. ThumbsUpThumbsDown  |  April 11, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    I’ll take that with a grain of salt. I’m entitled to have a sense of humor. There were many takeaways, thank you for taking the opportunity to make assumptions, which are incorrect by the way, about me. If you only knew how much I actually know about what we stepped into, and the level of knowledge I have about it. Thanks for your insight though. The students are always the gem in any situation, that we agree on. Please refrain from taking that comment so personally. That was an observation and I stand by it.

  • 808. Yet another Decatur Parent  |  April 12, 2016 at 8:34 am

    @ 805. I’m actually confused about your comment regarding Decatur staff. I would guess most of them are in their 30’s, 40’s or early 50’s with a few exceptions. And even if they weren’t, not sure how that would have anything to do with the quality of the school.

  • 809. Momof3  |  April 12, 2016 at 8:41 am

    turned down Beaubien today. RGC score of 124 tier 4.

  • 810. SN non entry years  |  April 12, 2016 at 10:43 am

    For those of you, who’s children got into Skinner North at a non entry years, what were your kid’s scores?

  • 811. CBZMOM  |  April 12, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Any other thoughts on Decatur? Although I enjoyed seeing it in person yesterday on the tour and think their curriculum is good and the students were fantastic…is anyone else put off by the location/ commute?

  • 812. NWside  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Re. Decatur. Personally I am only considering it because we live north of Fullerton and are in the bus boundary. It would be too much of a hassle if we had to drive there every day as it is the opposite direction from where we work.

  • 813. SNparent  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:06 am

    My daughter got in for first grade with a 99 Math and 98 Reading. For the 99 scores after the entry year they don’t specifiy like they do in kindergarten (for example 99.6) so not sure if her math score was higher than just a straight up 99 – they wouldn’t tell me at OAE.

  • 814. CBZMOM  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:09 am

    @812 We are on the NW side as well (Jefferson Park). Kindergarten feels so young to be busing, but perhaps I am overly paranoid! Ugh. Don’t know what to do!

  • 815. Decatur Reflection  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:15 am


    They’re obviously good at the one thing they do well, which is keep the top at the top, as evidenced by test scores. We cannot say for sure how many place into SEES HS as there are over 40% of students who are unable to gain admittance into an Academic Center.
    This can be a positive and negative. Overall CPS teachers experience initiative burnout, and don’t know if they’re coming or going. Some schools have completely abandoned spelling. From what I recall, spelling is a necessity, and it is also tied to fluency and comprehension. This is to piggy back off of the comment left by “ThumbsUpThumbsDown” in that there is an 80’s feel. The curriculum is reminiscent of what I “did” in school. The rudimentary, spelling, learning the “basics” of reading and math.

    The music program is seriously lacking, as is the art program….I went to school for the arts, I was an art teacher, and I have been an artist in residence…they can do much more with that group of minds. I did not appreciate the cookie cutter projects in the hallway. Sure slap a few artist names on them and it sounds like they’re doing an awesome job, but how about teach them the process, and allow for some creativity in the product. Not very innovative or inspiring at all.

    I was very disappointed in the fact that they use GoMath! Workbooks….basically, since the teacher was inept at answering the question about “differentiation” and lacked development in that arena, she left us with an inadequate response as to how she would address individual needs. My child completed the GoMath! 1st grade curriculum two years ago in preschool. Let’s say you have someone who is already showing an interest and understanding of multiplication, then what? Review the same curriculum again and again?

    Great to see tenured staff, and on the other hand, there are folks there who have never left that building. It’s nice to have staff who has had a variety of experiences, and can bring many perspectives to the table. From 1979 to 2016 we have a completely different world in education. How are they using the Gradual Release Model in their school? Aside from using a generic program called Second Step, how are the Social and Emotional Learning Standards being met in a more organic way? We have evolved, and I seriously question the school culture of the staff and their willingness to engage in professional development, even as a veteran staff member. All the more so if you ask me, in that veteran teachers can tend to be “stuck” in their ways. The world of education is constantly changing and we need innovative educators who are moving with the shifting landscape. The school overall had a take it or leave it attitude that came across.

    Any parents who work full time, and are unable to volunteer all of the time, or very little at all? Yes, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Where does that leave us?

    Unfortunately, we have to drink the water, as it is the best available in a few small streams and pools. There are not many choices, and so ultimately it is an individual choice. I’m really on the fence.

  • 816. CBZMOM  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:23 am

    @815 Thanks for your feedback! I also studied art and was hoping for more arts integration into my son’s education. Yes, he is bright, but he is also creative as are all kids and we should foster it – not have it as an afterthought. I’m considering either keep him at our neighborhood school until next year or hoping for something to open up on the magnet/n’hood list. Oh, parenthood!

  • 817. take Decatur  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:38 am

    I would take the Decatur spots, unless your neighborhood schools are good at differentiating. Having your child around other bright and some genius kids, will switch on even more of their potential and can ignite passions in your kid, you have not seen yet. Kids want to be like their peers. If their peers are curious, motivated and inquisitive, your child will be in a good company.

  • 818. SNMommy  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:41 am

    @814 my kid took the bus from Jeff Park down to Skinner North from kindergarten on up. The bus ride quickly became his favorite part of the day, talking with friends, playing video games, etc. If we have something major scheduled after school, he has done homework.

    I do NOT recommend your little one take the bus the first week of each school year, though. Until they figure out the routes, it takes VERY long and it’s tough on the little ones, particularly their bladders! My child got off the bus on the first day of kindergarten at 6:30 p.m.!

  • 819. SN parent  |  April 12, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    @Decatur Reflection
    I could have written this myself. I especially agree with the take it or leave it attitude, particularly of the principal. When I toured Decatur last year I felt very similar to you and I am also an educator and have been for the past 15 years. We didn’t end up putting it on our list after I toured because I was no longer interested. To each his own though – many people love it there!

  • 820. Arts at Decatur  |  April 12, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    RE: Arts at Decatur. If that is your deciding factor on a school, and you have access to a CPS school that is has a strong arts program…by all means take it. My background is in the arts and arts-in-education and I feel very strongly about it being part of my child’s education so I completely understand. I also know that arts instruction in schools has been severely cut over the years, often delegated to outside organizations coming in to provide them since school budgets don’t always have enough money for a full-time teacher in the various art forms so I am thrilled that Decatur has kept arts as part of the school experience for Decatur students. Many CPS schools don’t even have what Decatur does.

    Is it limited compared to what I had as a kid or what some schools might have, sure. That said, I have not been unsatisfied with the arts programs at Decatur. My child has learned drawing perspective, facial structure, using and applying different art mediums and is confident and proud of her art projects. Seeing the pride on the kids faces as parents viewed their art at the school’s art’s night last week was a joy.

    I had art and music every day in grade school, and I don’t think my child is way behind in understanding either compared to where I was at her age. Plus their is dance, which I didn’t get at school at all.

    Decatur doesn’t get much budget for the arts from CPS. The PTA covers most of it and it has been the primary focus of the annual fundraising campaign for the last 2 years, just to make sure we don’t lose what we have.

    Just wanted to share a perspective from someone who has a child doing these programs at Decatur now, not just based on a tour observsation…

  • 821. CBZMOM  |  April 12, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    @820 Thanks for taking the time to write your perspective. It is quite helpful to hear from an insider!

  • 822. dfds  |  April 12, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Does anybody know there’s 1 or 2 first grade class in Skinner north?

  • 823. SN MOM  |  April 12, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Two classes at each grade level at skinner north.

  • 824. fingers crossed  |  April 12, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    So there must be a lot of us hoping our child will get a seat in 1st grade!

  • 825. Decatur or not Decatur?  |  April 12, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    @ Decatur Reflection…I couldn’t have put it better myself… To take or not to take…? I wish I could convince my husband….

  • 826. cpsimpressed  |  April 12, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Turning down a Beaubien offer. Entering first grade, RGC 135.
    As a side note, I spoke with someone in the SEES office who was so polite, knowledgeable and friendly. They listened to my questions, took some time to research and returned my call promptly. Good job SEES office!

  • 827. @DecaturReflection  |  April 12, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    Thank you for all of the comments. From my experience, I’m going to take the offer no matter what I think today, because you can always change your mind later. Only thing is, you lose the chance to go into later rounds. I declined Edison RGC last year, and guess what, we were back at the bottom of the list, which means waitlisted at 600 something? Felt awful to go from top to bottom. Turns out we received numerous calls from the magnet programs throughout the summer. This was K though, and I think 1st and subsequent years will be far more competitive. If we were in a great neighborhood school, I’d opt for that. Not to mention we have another one to worry about who received zero offers thus far. By the way, after we declined ERGC we were offered NTA which was our last choice due to distance.

  • 828. @823  |  April 12, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Is it then same scenario with SN then as with Decatur? Is there an entire class to fill for 1st?

  • 829. @820 Arts@Decatur  |  April 12, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you, that was helpful.

  • 830. SN parent  |  April 12, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    @823 No. Skinner North starts in kindergarten so that is the only year that two entire classes need to be filled. For 1st grade it will just depend on if kids leave – usually just a handful of spots available.

  • 831. Maria  |  April 12, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Just wanted to mention, we will be declining the offer from Beaubien for first grade. Good luck if u r on the waiting list.

  • 832. Beaubien  |  April 12, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    If you have taken a pass on Beaubien offer, can you share, what your deciding factors were? In case we get a call in some later rounds. I doubt there will be any more school tours for later round offers. Thank you very much.

  • 833. dfds  |  April 12, 2016 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks to @SN MOM @SN parent, so I finally figure out why there’s no parents talk about their kids get offer for entering 1st grade. I guess really very few spots avaible.

  • 834. Maria  |  April 12, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Declining the offer for Beaubien 1st grade was based on a few different factors. He is at a good performing neighborhood school where I am deciding to keep him. I would move him if I thought it would benefit him, but at this time, it just isn’t worth it. Went to their informational session which only finalized my decision.

  • 835. cpsobsessed  |  April 12, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I know it’s not a lot of comfort now, but schools expand the classes in 3rd grade (for better or worse) so more spots tend to open at that point in options/classical classes.

  • 836. Skinner West Newbie  |  April 13, 2016 at 7:59 am

    @Kenwood Parent

    I attended the Open House at SW this past Monday…I too was impressed and pleased with the welcoming presentation and tour. Absolutely loved the energy of the principal.

    Although I was aware of the separate building for the K students, I initially was a tad skeptical and was anxious to check it out. After touring and actually analyzing the situation, it’s only 1 yr out of a possibe 9 yrs plus SW’s main building is quite big. So Ive come to the conclusion it may be a beneficial transition for my little kiddo. The transportation alone could provide early developmental lessons such learning safety awareness, listening and taking taking directions to transition from one place to another which would be helpful for future field trips. Also, I appreciate and I’m thrilled about the other positive factors the school provides: the staff/teacher and student diversity, security, curriculum, location, heavy parent involvement, dedicated principal, experienced K classical teacher, and the various activities. The pros held a heavier weight for us…so we will accept. Good luck with your decision.

  • 837. confused parent  |  April 13, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    curious- probably not the forum to ask this given this thread is for SEES, but anyone decline a RGC/classical spot for a solid neighborhood option? Any regrets? I’m torn between a community we know/enjoy with good, not great academics, have seen decentdifferentiation, a kid who is happy with his friends and school in general vs. a RGC environment that accelerates learning in a way my kid will like, but will have different type of peer group, seemingly less differentation. better to be at the top of the class or better to be pushed/accelerated? stick w/ neighborhood or not? I am not sure if eventually my kid will get bored in future grades or not. Other considerations are siblings, but location btw 2 schools is not TOO far. I realize these are good problems to have, but curious of people’s views on here. how much does the school environment make a diference in the long run vs. parents/community/etc? will classical/rgc really give a leg up for high school or not? our neighborhood has decent hs placement.

  • 838. cpsimpressed  |  April 13, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    @Beaubien. We’re declining because of the school culture, not the curriculum. I attended the Open House and thought the presentation was excellent. The staff seems enthusiastic and competent. But it feels like a very large school and after observing a few minutes of outdoor recess on my way out I decided it was not a good fit for our child. Our kids currently attend a small private school together and the social-emotional safety they have there is golden. At Beaubien recess I observed a chaotic scene of hundreds of kids and a handful of adults. There were multiple “packs” of kids running around and throwing each other to the ground. It was not something I’d want my kid to witness or participate in. I’m going to work with our current school on challenging work and possibly pull-out instruction on math, etc. To me, academic acceleration is not worth spoiled innocence. We would thoughtfully consider any second round offers.

  • 839. NewToCPSEdison  |  April 13, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    To those parents who declined their Edison offers – do you mind sharing why? Our daughter got selected for K and we think it’s a great school. So would like to know why you declined your spot.

  • 840. AnotherCPSparent  |  April 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm


  • 841. CBZ Mom  |  April 13, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    If I accept our spot at Decatur and change my mind, can I still get into my neighborhood school?

  • 842. Momma  |  April 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Yes! Your zoned neighborhood school is ALWAYS available to you – at any point.

    For example, I know someone who sent their child to an options program and it didn’t work out – so halfway through the year she pulled her son and transferred him to their neighborhood zoned school.

  • 843. WesLooMom  |  April 13, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    You can always go to your neighborhood school.

  • 844. Wondering  |  April 13, 2016 at 6:05 pm

    I’m thinking about declining our slot at Bell and hoping for a late offer to SN (1st grade). But, (despite his scores) my son doesn’t read! Will he be overwhelmed starting with the oh so advanced first graders at SN?

  • 845. CBZ Mom  |  April 13, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    @842 @843 Thank you 🙂

  • 846. skinner north parent  |  April 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm


    Pretty crazy that he scored high enough for skinner without reading – what did he get on reading portion of the test? Just curious because we will be testing my son for K next year and he’s not reading yet.

    My daughter entered 1st grade at SN reading at about a 5th grade level and I don’t think she was the only one. She is one of the higher readers (math is weaker for her) in the class but I think all of the kids were relatively strong readers at beginning of first. That being said, I bet he will pick it up fast and catch up quickly. If you’re really concerned you could def ask the principal, assistant principal or 1st grade teachers what they think – they’re very responsive and would be helpful. We got accepted in the 2nd round of a non-entry year and the principal gave me a private tour since I had missed the general tour. He even called me on his cell so I could ask some questions and responded to multiple emails I sent him with questions. So kind and attentive of him for a family that wasn’t even currently enrolled. Good luck!

  • 847. Wondering  |  April 13, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    @Skinner North Parent: Yes, I was also surprised to see his high Reading score despite his level. He’s not illiterate, just only knows “sight words” and doesn’t seem very interested in reading. He is more into math. (Sorry I won’t say exactly what grade level math he is currently doing or what his classical scores were just in case he does get admitted— I want to preserve his privacy. But yes his scores are on par with admitted students otherwise I wouldn’t be asking the question.) Thanks for responding! I’m sure he’ll be fine at Bell but geographically, SN is SOOO much better for us.

  • 848. NWside  |  April 13, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    One more Decatur question. I was talking to my spouse about the lack of 7 and 8th grade, etc, and he said: why don’t they stop doing the double 1st grade class every other year? Then they would have room for 7th and 8th grade.
    Has anyone suggested doing that? It seems like an easy solution.

  • 849. Rvparents  |  April 13, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    How do you know what number your child is on the waitlist at a school? I called the oae today and the lady there said each school has a waitlist, and their office had no idea who was on the waitlist. So I called a school and they referred me back to the oae office.

  • 850. Decatur  |  April 13, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    @ 848

    That is not the first time someone has brought that up. I’ve heard a few different arguments against that. One, the school is small in size. Even the 6th graders look huge in their room so I can only imagine how tight it would feel with 7/8th graders.. The building was built for K-3 size kids. The other is that they would need to hire additional teachers b/c the certification for 7th and 8th is somewhat different then 1-6. Right now they can move teachers around to meet the needs of the double grades. For example my child’s 1st grade teacher last year is one of the 3rd grade teachers this year. I may not have that exactly correct, but it there is something about certification as a barrier to that approach that has been brought up.

    Honestly, I like that we are able to have most of the grades doubled up after K…the classes with just one group from K-6 have often noted that is a long time for one group of kids, with a few leaving/coming each year, to be together. With two grades they can mix them up a little each year and it really does help with the social side of school so as a parent of one of the two classroom years, I wouldn’t be a fan of sacrificing that to add 7/8.

  • 851. LostInTranslation  |  April 14, 2016 at 7:50 am

    @849 Rvparents: the SEES schools don’t have an exact waitlist at any given point in time. It is a moveable feast because once all the acceptances and rejections come in from Round 1, they will recalculate based on all the children who rejected their first offer and have now come back into the pool. So although your child might be the last child NOT to get a seat in round 1, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will get a seat that comes available in round 2, as it may be taken by a higher scoring child that rejected a seat at a different school in round 1. And so on, all the way down and through all the rounds. I’m pretty sure the schools themselves have no visibility of either scores or the (fluid) waitlist.

  • 852. CS  |  April 14, 2016 at 8:12 am

    We are accepting a spot in Beaubien’s 1st-grade options program. I attended last week’s open house and found it to be informative and the Options coordinator (Kim Sineni) very approachable. I also went to the PTO meeting where the officers were welcoming and I was honestly impressed with how much they accomplish given their small numbers. Some had kids in the n’hood program while other in the options.

    We toured the school yesterday during report card pick-up and were quite impressed. The 1 and second graders (neighborhood and options) are in the newer annex which makes it feel like a very cozy elementary school. I liked it.

    From what I understand, the options classes are kept on the same floor as their neighborhood counterparts (i.e., 4th grade options is located close to 4th grade n’hood). For some reason that wasn’t clear to me until yesterday and it’s something I appreciate in terms socialization.

    We talked with current options parents in 1 and second grade who were pleased so far. With regard to the first-grade teacher (Mr. Durst), the first thing multiple parents said was that their kids had fun. The homework is minimal (25 minutes/night or less) and the kids are engaged in projects. We saw biographical displays made by the options class — students chose a historic figure, conducted research and then presented it on a tri-fold board. Some were typed, some were hand-written; they obviously had creative freedom.

    We also walked around the school and met a lot of teachers including the librarian, spanish teacher and upper grades science teacher – all were very warm and honestly more patient with my kid than I was at that moment.

    My husband and I also really liked that the walls were covered in students’ art, posters, projects – everything. We met the art teacher and she really integrates lessons learned in the kids academic classes into her own. The large gym played host to the school art fair where dozens of pieces were on display (and available for purchase!)

    Overall, I think the kids get access to a lot of great resources and academically will be fine. I generally go with my gut and, although I know it’s a big school, I think it will be a good experience.

    Just my two cents and I look forward to meeting other Beaubien parents. Feel free to email at annieswingen@gmail.com

  • 853. JRB  |  April 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Turning down a spot at Carnegie RGC and hoping we get a call from NTA RGC…….fingers crossed!!

  • 854. cpsobsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 10:31 am

    “I’m pretty sure the schools themselves have no visibility of either scores or the (fluid) waitlist.”

    This is correct. I’ve had my son’s principal as me what the cutoffs look like for our school because the admin does not have access to the information!

  • 855. km  |  April 14, 2016 at 11:58 am

    My daughter got an offer from NTA in early September two years ago, Her score was 126. Good luck.

  • 856. Beaubien parent  |  April 14, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    @852 Your child will have a great experience at Beaubien. There are always people every year put off by such a large school. No, Beaubien will never raise as much money as Coonley and Bell, but the parents and kids we’ve met in both the neighborhood and options program are really down to earth and wonderful. We left a much smaller school in K and were worried about the size of Beaubien, but it has never been an issue. I’ve never witnessed kids being too rough on the playground, though I’m sure it happens sometimes? It is not an issue we are ever concerned about. The kids have access to lots of great resources and while I do wish sometimes that the 2 programs interacted a bit more than just in a few specials and lunch, logistically that is just hard. Overall, we feel pretty fortunate and hope to get our younger child in either the neighborhood or options program eventually.

  • 857. NoGiftYet  |  April 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    @JRB Why turned down and what score and tier?
    What looking for Pritz.?

  • 858. NoGiftYet  |  April 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Sinclair 134 ok

  • 859. Non Entry Level  |  April 14, 2016 at 2:35 pm


    There are two different processes happening. It is my understanding that the magnet schools keep their own waitlists, whereas spots in the SEES are administrated by OAE. So perhaps the person in the OAE office thought you were referring to a magnet school, rather than a SEES.

  • 860. JRB  |  April 14, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    @853 Thank you!! I’m hoping we are as lucky as you were!

    @857 It just came down to more cons than pros. NTA was always our #1 choice. If we weren’t able to get in there, we knew there was a possibility that we would decline another school with the hopes of getting called in rounds 2, 3 or 4. RGC score of 134 in tier 4. If we don’t get a call we will just retest next year and hope for the best again

  • 861. cpsobsessed  |  April 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    @848 – that’s a good question about Decatur. I think (especially now with per-pupil funding) if Decatur shifted away from the double 1st grade class to add 7th and 8th, they’d end up with half-empty classrooms in those final 2 years which is inefficient.

    In the past at least, Decatur sort of had an elite reputation for placing kids in ACs. So from their POV, they believe most of the 7/8th graders would leave anyhow. Which is probably true for at least half the students there. Those seats would likely be difficult to fill.

  • 862. NTA Qs  |  April 14, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    Hello NTA families!

    I have some last minute questions, and I am hoping someone can fill me in on a few aspects of the school, as the website does not have any information about the RGC – except for the fact that one exists.

    – What second language, if any, is offered? How often do the kids get classes in that language?

    – What is the current bell schedule? (I know, this could change.) This seems like a petty thing, but could drastically change our commute.

    – What do you love about the school?

    – What do you find challenging?

    – What is the overall culture of the school?

    – What do you think of the 1st grade RGC teacher?

    – What is the “discipline office”?

    Even if you can only answer a couple of my questions, I’d love to hear from you. Thanks!

  • 863. NoGiftYet  |  April 14, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    2nd Round letters out in first week of May per SEE

  • 864. 2FingersCrossed  |  April 14, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    @853:JRB, if you don’t mind, can you please share your little one’s RGC score? I’m just trying to figure out if my little one has a chance for the second round.

    Also, did you tour Carnegie? What made you decide against it? Did you tour the school?

  • 865. Near South Sider  |  April 14, 2016 at 8:15 pm


    My kid is not in the Options program, but I can try to answer some of your questions:

    – What second language, if any, is offered? How often do the kids get classes in that language?

    The students take Spanish, and it is offered on a rotating basis with five other specials–swimming, gym, art, music, and technology. With six specials, a week can go by without the kids taking Spanish.

    – What is the current bell schedule? (I know, this could change.)
    This seems like a petty thing, but could drastically change our commute.

    The kids can be dropped off as early as 8:00. You can pay for JCC before care as early at 7:00. JCC aftercare is available until 6:00.

    – What do you love about the school?

    Everything. The variety of robust specials is fantastic. The art room (which includes a kiln!) and the music room are breathtaking. My kid is well on the way to becoming a proficient swimmer due to swim class. There are Promethian Boards in the classrooms, and the teachers are very well trained on how to integrate the tech into the learning environment. All of the instructional staff is big on differentiation, so I really feel like my kid is getting tailored instruction. From what I can tell, there is a strong sports program including football, basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, and swim team. There is great parent involvement, and the principal is open to listening to parents and trying new things. NTA has a lot to offer.

    – What do you find challenging?

    I really don’t think I have any challenges, and certainly, my kid has never complained about anything. We’ve really been happy with the school.

    – What is the overall culture of the school?

    The school promotes what we call the NTA Way, which are the values of Courage, Commitment, Awareness, and Integrity. These core values are referenced both in the curriculum and in the social-emotional work that they do. If you have a Twitter account you can search for #NTAlearns and read some of the kids’ answers to Twitter Tuesday’s question of the day. You can see how the kids can be really introspective about themselves and the world around them.

    There’s also a strong social justice push; for example, the 8th graders did a water drive for the people of Flint.

    – What do you think of the 1st grade RGC teacher?

    I can’t speak to this as my kid is not in the RGC program.

    – What is the “discipline office”?

    I haven’t heard of this before. I’ve never actually seen a kid have to be disciplined (outside of having to tell some squirrely kindergartners to settle down). I do know that the school follows a restorative justice model in the upper grades, and I believe the school has a full-time social worker (although, I’m not 100% sure).

    I hope I was able to answer your questions!

  • 866. cpsmom  |  April 15, 2016 at 8:05 am

    @862 I agree with everything posted by 865. We are in the RGC and are happy with that program. The teacher is excellent. The work is challenging but not boring or tedious. My child gets excited about projects at school, especially science and social studies projects. I feel that the teacher has helped my child grow academically and emotionally (gets less frustrated over work). I don’t have anything negative to say about any of the teachers or the school. I also do not know what the discipline office is. The social worker is part-time (3 days a week). My encounters with older children at NTA have all been very positive. It’s a wonderful school top to bottom.

  • 867. Non Entry Level  |  April 15, 2016 at 8:15 am

    @865 Near South Sider:

    Thanks so much for your input! I really appreciate it. NTA sounds like a great school!

    Anyone else out there able to talk about the RGC 1st grade teacher? I’d also love to hear about the differentiation (or lack of) specifically in the options program, if anyone can speak to that.

    (The “discipline office” is an option in the phone tree when you call the school….I had never heard that phrase before, so was wondering about it.)

  • 868. ig  |  April 15, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Just trying to be helpful:
    -not going to accept our 2nd grade Skinner North spot, so good luck to one lucky person that will get the offer.
    -In case you are wondering, there were 3 slots offered for 2nd grade, and 2-3 for the third grade. I don’t know about the other spots for other grades, wasn’t paying attention enough.
    -I went to the open house. There were parents taking the kids around for kinder and 1st grade, and one teacher took us on a tour of 2-8. There were about 10 families or so that went on that part of the tour. There was a huge K turn out and some 1 as well.
    -There were no 2nd grade teachers there to answer any questions, but I was able to get a question answered partially through email. The reason I went is to talk to a teacher, you’ve seen one computer lab, you’ve seen them all. (Not all open houses are like that there, I’ve been to one in the fall that did have teachers, don’t get the wrong idea, just sharing how this one went in case you would have liked to go and are upset about missing it). I was really hoping to see what the highest tier kids are doing in 2nd grade in each subject to see if it would be a fit based on where my 1st grader is. They are very insistent that they teach 1 year above CPS and won’t commit to more, but I know from talking to countless parents that they do a lot more than that, when a child needs it and also do a lot to support kids that are not keeping up in one of the subjects or have special needs.
    -I have heard nothing but amazing things about ALL the teachers in all the grades, and that the school overall is very flexible, works with families closely and adores and cares for the kids, not at the open house but from many a friend with kids at the school. The kids all love the school.
    -I just can’t handle the 30:1 ratio of students:teacher and we only really applied to see if our kid could get in/to get her some test practice since she’s never taken one before, and to see how she is tracking compared to CPS because our school doesn’t test anything. Staying with the private system. Would consider NTA maybe, because close and doesn’t have horrible ratios or more homework then what I am willing for my kid to have to do every day.
    – now a small rant: The school system in Chicago is in a deplorable state and I would, if I had no choice but to be a part of it, or if I had more free time, protest/demand reform, with smaller teacher/student ratios, more paid planning time for the teachers, and an addition of two SEES schools at least. The demand is clearly much greater than the supply. The way that CPS handled waiting lists (LaSalle, for example), lack of notification on one of the times they extended the sending of the results, and not being able to make the deadline, and countless other disasters i’ve heard of, not to mention the strikes, etc – just horrible. And the cut backs in after school and non-core art/music/etc programs. It’s just all not OK. I think if everyone pitched in in a constructive way, maybe there would be a solution.
    -if the next private school we try in the city doesn’t work out, we will have to make the great suburban or out of state migration. If we couldn’t pull off private school I don’t know what we would do.

  • 869. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 15, 2016 at 11:01 am

    We have turned down a 1st grade spot for Decatur and accepted a 1st grade spot at Bell. Really really hoping another 1st grade spot at Bell comes through for us in round two or later.

  • 870. Kpasa  |  April 15, 2016 at 11:25 am

    We toured NTA. Everyone seemed nice enough. The RGC teachers leading the tour definitely ran a tight ship and didn’t want parents speaking out of turn. We asked about why when you call there is a discipline office number-the vice principal was caught off guard, didn’t know what to answer and stated she didn’t know that was an option when you call in. The teachers and vice principal made it a point to highly stress throughout the tour that the school works hard not to draw distinctions between RGC and non RGC students. It definitely was conveyed that the focus was on integration and making sure the students interacted with one another outside of the RGC classroom.

  • 871. NTA Qs  |  April 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

    @866 cpsmom:

    Thanks so much for chiming in! I’m delighted to hear you’ve had such a good experience. Would you be willing to chat off-list? I would love to ask some more specific questions about the RGC, if you’re willing. I can be reached at NTAquestions at gmail etc.

  • 872. @FirstGradeTwins  |  April 15, 2016 at 11:43 am

    FirstGrade Twins – Navigating SEES with twins is really tough. If you don’t get a Bell offer for the other twin, would you split them? Do you have any magnet, neighborhood or private options that allow you to keep the twins together?

  • 873. Helpful Parent  |  April 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    If I were you I would call the OAE and ask how many uncommitted kids have higher scores than your other child (they will answer this), explain the situation and make it clear that you will accept a Bell spot for him/her even if very late in the summer. Just keep calling and being extremely polite and make sure they know how motivated you are. No guarantees, but that is what I would do. Good luck!!

  • 874. JRB  |  April 15, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    @864 2FingersCrossed – Tier 4 with a score of 134. We did tour both Carnegie and NTA. For Carnegie distance is a big issue. The Administrator who gave us the tour was not prepare, didn’t like that the RGC was segregated from the neighborhood school (told there is no interaction between the two). Principal nor Vice Principal were present for questions. And the front office staff were not warm or welcoming

  • 875. CBZ MOM  |  April 15, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Decided to accept our spot at Decatur, even though the distance is a bit of an issue. Any others out there? Feel like I need to sit with it a little longer, but didn’t want to completely miss out. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks…

  • 876. DecisionsDecisions  |  April 15, 2016 at 3:06 pm

    Entering Kindergarten
    Tier 4
    RGC 135
    Reading 99.9, Math 95
    Offered Skinner North (2nd choice)

    Rejected seat. Hope this helps one of you! Going to our neighborhood school.

  • 877. anon  |  April 15, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Declined Beaubien 1st grade seat today. Hopefully that is good news for someone!

  • 878. Dadstoo  |  April 15, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    @FirstGradeTwins will you please tell me what the other twin (that did not get an offer for gifted) score? Thanks. Trying to figure out if my child has a chance.

  • 879. conflicted mom  |  April 15, 2016 at 7:05 pm

    Entering K
    Tier 3
    RCG 148
    (reading and math 82/90)

    Applied to NTA as first choice due to location, got offer. Accepted but still trying to decide between a private school close by where she goes to preschool and is very happy.

    Reviewed the NTA info (U of Chicago reviews of schools), data on test scores. Wondering why test scores dropped so much in 2012. Anyone know about this? Also wondering why is a 1 out of 10 in Great Schools.
    I’ve appreciated the above posts which seem all positive about the school. Went on tour and also impressed.

    Also, not sure my 5 year old will like 45 min homework a day (or I will enjoy doing it with her!).
    General question for parents of kids already in RCG programs- Do the kids in RGC programs still have fun and enjoy learning? Nervous to push my child to get 2-3 grades ahead. Is that good for children?


  • 880. Jaysmom  |  April 15, 2016 at 7:22 pm


  • 881. @879 conflicted mom  |  April 15, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    My child is at Lenart RGC and yes, the kids do have fun. Lots of age appropriate, regular old kid fun. I was worried about the same things as you…pushing them too much, depriving them of fun, too much homework etc, etc. My child also scored 148 but was a reluctant reader, better in math. The transition was seamless. You quickly realize that your child is already functioning at a very high level of attainment and that a grade level above is sort of their “normal” going in. The homework is not overwhelming and the teachers meet them where they are at, at least that’s what I’ve seen so far. There’s a wide array of levels in reading and math and they are grouped for differentiation just like any non-gifted classroom. Also, the other kids are great… I feel they stimulate and challenge one another in a very positive way.

  • 882. @879  |  April 15, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I don’t think the NTA greatschools page hasn’t bee updated for years- the score is from before they got new management and added the RCG. If ranked today, it would probably get a 7-9. Also, as the program grows, the test scores bounce around, I wouldn’t worry about it. The reviews have been nothing but glowing as far as I can tell.

  • 883. John Chandler  |  April 15, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    We are Bell neighborhood and waitlisted at Blaine. If we get the offer for Blaine, how should we compare Bell (not options) vs Blaine? Does anyone have thoughts that can help us decide?

  • 884. RP Mom  |  April 16, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Tier 3
    Entering 1st grade
    RGC score 122
    Offered Bell (2nd choice after Edison where brother attends)
    Very happily accepting spot

  • 885. MP  |  April 16, 2016 at 10:10 am

    Good morning I was wondering if you or any other current SN parents with kids in Kindergarten could comment on what textbooks are kids required to purchase for K and if they take the textbooks to school daily or leave them at school? Also are iPads used? Any insights would be helpful it looks like every school has a different approach to this. Thank you sincerely!

  • 886. SN MOM  |  April 16, 2016 at 10:33 am

    You are not required to buy any textbooks – the school provides Everyday Math workbooks but that’s it. You will receive a school supply list in August to complete with personal and group supplies (like scissors, pencils, folders…), but that’s it. The kids do use iPads periodically, but they are provided by the school and only used at school.

  • 887. New to South Side  |  April 16, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    @Jaysmom we went with Lenart. I hope that is the spot you need at Sheridan!

  • 888. keenglund  |  April 17, 2016 at 9:01 am

    We have been at Edison since kindergarten, and are now completing 2nd grade. I want to express my thoughts that anyone offered a SEES spot should be pleased and take everyone’s opinion on this site as merely the opinion of ONE person, please keep that in mind. Do not let one person scare you or goad you into accepting a spot.

    Since I can only speak to Edison, I would definitely recommend it. The facilities are just wonderful. The opportunities are great. Yes it is true that some grade levels have “famous teachers” that are simply amazing, and some grade levels have only average teachers. Which I believe you will encounter at any school, SEES or magnet or neighborhood, in any city in the US. I would consider those average teachers to be what you would get at 90% of the neighborhood or magnet schools.

    What you cannot get at a neighborhood or magnet school is the school environment your child will grow up in at Edison. Peers who support your sometimes unique/weird interests, time for chess, time for coding, time for tinkering in the STEM lab, time for drumming. Edison is very good at academics, but it is also very good at balancing the workload with more relaxing school opportunities that stimulate in a different way.

    I was very sad and upset about the non-renewal of our principal. I especially like our vice principal and will be possibly more upset if she has to leave as well. However, the school is working hard, and the LSC and parents have tried to unite with the principal selection committee, and I think things are moving along nicely towards a new principal. Of course there are some great principals who would love to move to Edison, so I don’t think that should factor in.

  • 889. FirstGradeTwins  |  April 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    @872 – we gave splitting them a lot of thought because we had an offer at Bell for one son and an offer at Decatur for the other. We ultimately decided that we don’t want to do this. We also didn’t want to feel like we were dealing with a temporary situation for the entire school year. We ultimately decided to go with the school we liked more based on our visits. If we don’t get another spot at Bell, we will give up our one seat and return both to the private Montessori school where they have been.

    @873 – I appreciate your advice. I did call OAE with questions once since receiving our offers and explained our situation, but they made it seem like no lists existed for the specific schools. The person on the phone was very nice (I don’t know why but I didn’t expect that) so maybe I didn’t ask in the right way. Or maybe I shouldn’t ask specifically about a school but about higher scores in general.

    @878 – Dadstoo. Our son that got offered Decatur had 99 reading and 97 math but only a 115 RGC. I realize this is really low to get a spot at Bell, but we are Tier 2 and hope that helps. Our son that got offered Bell had 90 reading and 94 math and 120 RGC. I’m a little surprised that his classical scores were this low especially in reading as he is an excellent reader. He has been reading chapter books since last summer, but my kids had no test prep, have never taken any kind of test, as they have been in a Montessori school until now. I think the test itself was so new to them that he may have taken too much time with it or was unsure about what he was doing.

  • 890. seriously?  |  April 17, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how vast the spread is between the scores need to gain entry at a SEES. If you want your child to gain a spot, move to a Tier 1 and Tier 2 neighborhood!!

  • 891. harry potter  |  April 17, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    What are some examples of tier 1 neighborhoods? Are there any tier 1 areas on the northside at all? There used to be some very small sections of tier 2 in Rogers Park and I think Uptown, but I don’t remember seeing any tier 1 areas.

  • 892. seriously?  |  April 17, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Here’s the map; http://cpstiers.opencityapps.org/

  • 893. cpsobsessed  |  April 17, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    That map is so hard to read!

    I have a friend who lives near North and Kimball. It’s the Humboldt Park area right by the 606 Trail. Tier 1. Nice neighborhood, lots of families, no blatant issues or crime, development going on.

    Further north I see a tiny Tier 1 area in Albany Park, very close to North Side college prep. It’s Tier 1 surrounded by Tier 4 neighborhoods. I know there was a shooting there recently fyi. (although that basically applies to the whole city at this point)

  • 894. AnotherCPSParent  |  April 17, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    In my humble opinion, if you’re tier 4, and are considering a move to a lower tier neighborhood to game the system for a selective enrollment slot, you should just pay for private school or move to the suburbs.

  • 895. ChiMom  |  April 18, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Can anyone give their thoughts? Entering 3rd grade.
    RGC 112
    No offers

    Reading 97 Math 94
    No offers

    No tier
    Any chance for a second round offer? Is the RGC score too low? Reading/Math too low?

  • 896. NTA Qs  |  April 18, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Hi all,

    I have been really excited to read all the positive comments about NTA’s RGC in this thread. I’d love to have a chance to ask a couple more specific questions of any family who has a child in the program. If you’d be willing to talk to me, please email me at NTAquestions at gmail etc.


  • 897. ProudMom  |  April 18, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    How do I contact SEES to see where child is on wait list and what should I ask? Had 99 reading and 92 math and applied SN and SW for Kindergarten. Thank you for your responses.

  • 898. Maria  |  April 18, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    I am also wondering where my son is in the waiting for Skinner West. My son scored a 99 in reading and 97 in math…..entering 1st grade. Am I delusional he might get an offer?

  • 899. Clarity  |  April 18, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    People, there is no “waitlist.” Call the OAE (the phone number is on the paper you received in the mail with the scores), and simply ask how many kids who are still uncommitted have higher scores than your kid. They will be able to tell you that.

  • 900. ugh  |  April 18, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I’ve tried getting that information this year with no luck. I think OAE is understandably swamped and unable to take such requests.

  • 901. WP MOM  |  April 18, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Tier 4, 99 Reading, 96 Math entering K at Skinner West (2nd choice behind SN).

    We will be commuting from Bucktown/Wicker Park

    Anyone else coming from our neighborhood?

  • 902. CPS Parent  |  April 19, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Does anyone know when the next round of calls/offers will go out?

  • 903. Non Entry Level  |  April 19, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Someone at OAE told me the next round is likely to happen the week of May 2.

  • 904. Non Entry Level  |  April 20, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    From the horse’s mouth:


    This makes me think that anyone who gets a second round letter will have longer than 48 hours to respond, since there could be (at least) 48 hours worth of variability in USPS delivery times.

    Anyone who got a 2nd round in previous years available to chime in on how much time one gets to decide about a 2nd round offer?

  • 905. Changers  |  April 20, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Entering K, RGC 131. Any chance in the second round? Thanks!

  • 906. ChiMom  |  April 21, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Are Second round offers made through letters or phone calls?

  • 907. HelpMeUnderstandIt  |  April 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Anybody accept Beasley Gifted Kinder?
    What scores

  • 908. stayingprivate  |  April 22, 2016 at 8:56 am

    We initially accepted our SN spot for K this fall, but just changed our mind and told OAE we will not attend.

    It was a hard decision, as we really loved the kindergarten class when we did a tour last week. The reasons we are staying in our private school are
    -during our tour at SN, while the K students seemed way, way farther developmentally (i.e. reading) than students in our current private school, this delta was not apparent in the higher grade classrooms we saw. Ethan confirmed that the performance gap definitely closes as kids get older
    -the 30-1 ratio seems easier to manage in K and 1st grade, but by 5th and 6th it really seems to be a detriment to the teacher’s ability to control the class
    -we could not take the risk of our 2nd child not getting into SN and then dealing with 2 schools for 2 kids
    -General CPS fear in terms of what may happen in the future, also I would be quite nervous if Ethan left the school
    -As much as people say there is no pressure on the kids in the school, when I saw the kid projects hung in the hallways it seemed pretty clear that parents are pretty involved and helping students with many aspects. While this doesn’t bother me, it seems a bit much at K-1st grade…

    Hope we didn’t make the wrong choice, we LOVE the diversity of the school and that’s a big plus over the current private school. Love to hear any comments from SN parents one way or the other.

    Overall if we had to do CPS without question SN would be our choice but educating kids in the city is a hard thing to do.

  • 909. Seeking a private school  |  April 22, 2016 at 11:43 am

    @908: I totally understand your concern. May I ask what private school does your child currently go to? We are thinking about that option too. Thanks.

  • 910. feeder schools  |  April 22, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    SN’s current upper grades were admitted when the school’s selectivity wasn’t as competitive as in the past 2 or 3 years, so the students may have a lower potential for academic growth than the current lower graders. Also, classical school selection, based on knowledge and skills acquired, is not hugely indicative of children’s intellectual growth in the middle years and beyond. But the criteria are by no means meaningless, especially for cultivating strength in the broad liberal arts, as compared to emphasizing math and the physical sciences. What will make SN truly great, or – for a mundane reason – check the outflow to Academic Centers, might be setting more challenging math and science goals for its upper grades: for example, keeping capable students two years accelerated instead of one by offering the likes of Algebra II and Geometry.

  • 911. stayingprivate  |  April 24, 2016 at 8:23 am

    @909 we are at francis parker. One other concern we felt about SN, is that the admission criteria is 100% just testing. They never see the kids, or meet them in advance to gauge social or emotional intelligence. We know a number of autistic children at SN who are amazing academically, but lacking in those other areas. Of course, as a classical school I don’t blame them for focusing on a test for reading and writing. For us, though, we are confident that our DD is smart and we are concerned about ensuring she is well rounded with sports, drama, and not just academics.

  • 912. GenBreen  |  April 24, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Stayingprivate……Of course you have to do what you think is best. However, I can tell you as a parent of two children at SN, the school is definitely NOT just about test scores! In fact, the principal has said multiple times that SN does not care about test scores. The kids do well on tests because they are very bright and are taught by excellent teachers. Kids of all academic levels are in each class in the different grades, and all are taught at the level that is appropriate to the individual. There are also a bunch of after school activities, clubs and sports (although I do wish they had more sports!). One thing that SN stresses is the social and emotional development of all of its students. I have seen that with my own children. Those lessons are incorporated on their own, and into the academic lessons all the time. And yes, SN does have a quite a few autistic students. The teachers and staff do as well as they can to meet their emotional needs as well as the other students, but we have to keep in mind that in many cases, children with autism can have difficulty developing on an emotional and social level that is on pace with children without autism. In a perfect system, all of the CPS schools would be able to meet with perspective students to see if there is a good fit. However, no school in CPS does this, so we have to work with what we have. I hate the admissions testing system, as most parents do, but for now it is what it is. Again, I certainly don’t think you made a bad choice turning down SN. You know your child better than anyone, so if it didn’t feel right, than it probably isn’t the right choice for you. It’s ridiculous that we all have to make these decisions for our kids. If all the schools had what they need, we could just send our kids to the school closest to home. Maybe someday!

  • 913. parent  |  April 24, 2016 at 11:26 am

    private school is definitely a better choice for a family that thinks kids with any kind of special needs should be weeded out during the admission process. gross.

  • 914. Yikes  |  April 24, 2016 at 11:49 am

    I was hoping I misunderstood that comment by stayingprivate about the presence of autistic kids negatively affecting his/her kids school environment. If not, then (1) the welcoming, diverse school that is SN is definitely the wrong place for his/her family and (2) I’m bummed to have my worst stereotypes about some private school parents confirmed.

  • 915. llmm  |  April 24, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    My spectrum kid is not at Skinner North, but she is at an RGC. And I am confident that her issues are helping everyone in her class learn kindness and acceptance of people who are different than they are. I am also confident that the children in her class create an atmosphere that challenges her intellectual gifts. She is 2E. She didn’t choose autism any more than she choose reading at a 12th grade level in 2nd grade. But this RGC is the perfect fit for her. And she is raising the whole classes social and emotional intelligence while they do the same for her.

  • 916. a SN parent  |  April 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    @908/@911 stayingprivate:

    As you requested, a comment from a SN parent.

    I think you would find (as we have) that most of the kids at SN are neurotypical, with social and emotional skills ranging roughly from age-appropriate to beyond their years. They are, on the whole, a remarkably kind and inclusive bunch of kids (and families). There are also a handful of kids at SN on the autism spectrum, including mine.

    I’m not sure of your definition of well-rounded or diversity, but I can’t help but think that my kid and her classmates are getting more of a well-rounded and diverse experience in social/emotional learning than your child (apparently) will at Parker.

    P.S. Your timing is impeccable: http://www.autism-society.org/get-involved/national-autism-awareness-month/

    @915 llmm: Glad to hear you’re having such a great experience at one of the RGCs. Are you familiar with DYS?

  • 917. Parent  |  April 25, 2016 at 5:06 am

    My son is on the spectrum and we are staring an RGC in the fall. I’m nervous. Very nervous! @925, Could you speak more about your experience at an RGC, please?

    Also, what is DYS?


  • 918. Parent  |  April 25, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Ugh! My question about RGC and autism should say @915… Sorry! Typo.

  • 919. SN Mom  |  April 25, 2016 at 7:58 am

    Thank you, SN parents for politely showing stayingprivate just how amazing the SN community is! Since reading her/his comment about not sending their kid to SN because of kids there on the spectrum and the lack of child interviews in the admissions process, I struggled with providing a response that did not contain expletives! You guys rock! I will try to use your example below to add something to the conversation without swearing.

    First, public elementary schools in Chicago do not have interviews as part of their admissions process, so SN is no different than any other school in that regard. If you feel as you do, public school would probably not be a good place for your child (and BTW, private schools, including FP, claim to want diversity–you might just end up with someone in your kid’s class who would make being on the spectrum a virtual cakewalk! Food for thought, if they have $25,000 to spend on schooling, then they can sit next to your child in class, even if they were kicked out of their public school for some reason). If you think your comment about autism was fine and we are all over-sensitive, just substitute “black” or “Jewish” or “disabled” into your weeding out interview suggestion and see how well that sits in your brain for a minute…

    I will go so far as to concede that kids on the spectrum might be better able to gain SEES seats, particularly in classical schools, because that test measures “what you know” at the time of the test. And kids with say, Aspergers, may have eagerly collected and curated a LOT of info in their heads about the world by the time they were four years old.

    I will also say that SN parents, including me, are hyper-vigilant (arguably too hyper) about things involving our kids. Our kid sneezes and we take him to a specialist on sneezing. Some of our autism, ADHD, allergy or disability diagnoses might never have been made in the first place in other schools, who might just chalk it up to “boys being boys” or stuff like that. Instead, we aggressive helicopters seek feedback and diagnoses, IEP accommodations, 504s and other tools to help understand and support our kids. And SN works with us to get what’s needed.

    That all said, I cannot stand by and let an ill-informed comment about SN’s ability to provide social-emotional learning stand. Social-emotional learning is a cornerstone of SN’s philosophy (and should be in every school, in my opinion). The school knows the kids will do just fine academically so they challenge them that way and let the test scores fall where they may. They focus a lot of energy, rightly, on the whole child. It is a part of the culture there, so much so that it is like breathing.

    I would like to point out that EVERY kid, even “neurotypical,” has something, some uniqueness, some idiosyncrasy, some quirk out there. Don’t believe me? Think of your kid as a toddler, when only a certain sippy cup would do, or they wanted to carry the same scuzzy stuffed animal everywhere, or they simply would not eat a certain food, or they insisted on reading the same story every night. Instead of forcing kids to be a certain way, most of us parents worked with who our child was on that given day and made reasonable accommodations when possible. That’s what the SN community does, every day! Your “square” peg will not be forced into a “round” hole. Instead, the students and families learn all about the different kind of pegs that are out there and ways to deal with those pegs. They are given tools to help them calm themselves and work better with others. Especially those who are different than themselves. They are NOT coddled, or given special dispensation to act out, but they are understood and accepted. Just that acceptance and understanding can reduce a lot of the inappropriate behaviors.

    My child goes to SN and is not “on the spectrum” (arguably, since it is a spectrum, all of us can be considered on it somewhere). But because the school is so diverse, inclusive, and focused on the children’s social-emotional development (NOT standardized test scores), he has had the opportunity to learn about Aspergers, food allergies, different cultures and more. As a matter of a fact, the school has a diversity committee and a monthly bulletin board to share info on diversity issues and the school is throwing itself into Autism Awareness month with bulletin boards, classroom education (some peer to peer, which had been incredible!) and fundraising for Austim Speaks. They have exposed our kids to social issues such as homelessness and poverty through great, hands-on community service projects.

    Thanks to SN (and I like to think our own family’s values) our kid sees differences in people and thinks they’re cool. His own differences, including a relatively minor physical disability, are not mocked at school, and the kids all take them in stride. It’s a safe place to be yourself, which is priceless!

    Stayingprivate, I wish you well, I really do. You have to do what you think is best for your child–that’s all we can do. I do shake my head at your reasoning, though. Life, especially city life, can be difficult for people who are not exposed to different people and diverse circumstances. Admissions interviews for four year olds to judge their worthiness for a school does not sit well with me. Good luck!

  • 920. a SN parent  |  April 25, 2016 at 10:02 am

    @917 Parent:

    Sorry, wasn’t trying to be opaque, just got lazy. =) I was referring to the Davidson Young Scholar program: http://www.davidsongifted.org/youngscholars/ , which I thought might be relevant, as llmm’s kid is/was reading at a 12th grade level in 2nd grade.

    As far as your kid starting at an RGC in the fall: congrats! I understand how nervous you must be. Have you started the IEP process yet? If not, I would recommend you start as soon as you can.

    It’s been awhile (and also, the staff and teachers at SN were extremely accommodating and essentially walked me through the process), but I vaguely remember that the first step is writing the school to request a meeting to determine eligibility (for the IEP). There’s plenty of information online about the timeline, including the school’s responsibilities.

    Good luck! I hope it goes swimmingly!

  • 921. SN Mom  |  April 25, 2016 at 10:25 am


    I would also like to add that for incoming kindergartners, SN does a summer “Kindergarten Round-Up,” which is a fun day for the kids to see what a day at school will look like. They play, have a morning meeting, have fun and take a simple, no-pressure math and reading assessment with a teacher to help determine their starting levels. The teachers also observe them at play and see where their social skills currently are. The kids are then divided among the classes, so no one class has all girls/boys, all high-level readers, all kids who are struggling in math, all kids who have IEPs, all kids who are shy or gregarious. It makes each class more or less equal in academic and social opportunities. I wish all schools were able to do this–it really is wonderful for the students and the teachers.

  • 922. MP  |  April 25, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @SN Mom and SN parent all I can say is thank you for your support because of families like yours we choose SN for our son.
    @Parent thank you for voicing your concerns about your child with ASD starting in K this fall… My family is in exactly same situation and if our son was not accepted to such a supportive school like SN this transition would be whole lot harder.
    @llmm would you mind sharing which school your child goes to? It is wonderful to know that there are other great programs in the city.
    @staying private just remember that the testing process is same for all children regardless if they are neurotypical or have unique needs hence even more kudos to special needs children who despite the challenges they face daily are so brilliant that they were able to test in such competitive schools.

  • 923. karet  |  April 25, 2016 at 11:26 am

    So Parker doesn’t admit kids on the spectrum? Good grief!

    A few years ago, a student of mine wrote a heart breaking essay about how she was relentlessly teased the entire time she went to Parker because the other kids knew she was on scholarship. I cried when I read it. (I teach at UIC). Not sure there’s a lot of “emotional intelligence” going on over there.

    I’m glad the SN spot will go to someone who really appreciates it.

  • 924. GenBreen  |  April 25, 2016 at 11:30 am

    Just to add something else, it’s been proven that many children on the autism spectrum are advanced learners. Some of these children do have delays in social/emotional development, but that does not mean that they aren’t perfectly capable of high academic achievement. While I think there are many problems with the whole testing system, I think it’s pretty outstanding that children with autism are given the same opportunity to gain entry to sees schools as anyone else. It also teaches kids to be accepting of differences, which is so valuable. Just sayin’! I can just say that SN (and so many other schools) is great at teaching acceptance and providing a great education to ALL students.

  • 925. Xochitl Bada  |  April 25, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    @862 NTA questions 1st grade RGC teacher:
    The RGC 1st grade teacher is Mrs. Caroline Both. She is fabulous. She is a board certified master teacher and is super talented. My daughter had her for K-RGC at NTA in the inaugural RGC cohort and we loved her. She is an award winning teacher with multiple accomplishments in her teacher career. Your kid will be very lucky to be in Mrs. Both classroom. However, it is difficult to know if Mrs. Both will remain at 1st grade or will be looping with her class to 2nd grade. NTA-RGC has been adding one grade per year so the principal sometimes decides to loop RGC teachers and they move with their class. My daughter is in 2nd grade RGC now and she has the same teacher she had when she was in 1st grade.
    We have been at NTA-RGC for three years now and we believe this is a great school.

  • 926. NTA Qs  |  April 26, 2016 at 7:24 am

    @925 Xochitl Bada:

    Thanks so much for the input! Here’s hoping she stays at 1st grade. Your post raises another question for me: what is the highest RGC grade at NTA now?

  • 927. ChiMom  |  April 26, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Just wondering if anyone knows anything about this. Coming from another state, my child has an EP (Education Plan) to receive services for being in the Exceptional Student Education Gifted Program. Does this mean anything in CPS? Is this paperwork that I needed to attach to her application under Special Education Services?

  • 928. parent  |  April 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    @927 We transferred here from Iowa where my son received gifted services. The school where he went at first didn’t have a “gifted program,” so he was in the regular class with enrichment. Next year we transferred/moved and ended up in a gifted program. Usually it’s up to the school’s discretion if they have a “comprehensive gifted program” at the school. The RGCs and the SEES have to be tested into, though. This can’t happen until next year, I believe.

  • 929. NTA Qs  |  April 26, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    @925 Xochitl Bada:

    Ha! I just re-read your response and realized you already answered my question. Luckily for my son, sometimes the apple falls quite far from the tree…

  • 930. SouthSideMamasRock  |  April 27, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Actually, the NTA first grade teacher for next year with be this year’s kindergarten teacher (Ms. Kreindler) if they hold to the looping plan they shared with the parents. She’s been mostly good, but she’s new, so there have been hiccups. She spent the prior year as Mrs. Both’s student teacher, so she learned within the program. There is a lot of homework in my opinion, but when it gets to be excessive, we just stop doing it and write a note. My child is certainly very happy there.

  • 931. SN Parent Too  |  April 27, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    A couple of additional SN comments. Someone had mentioned lack of sports – starting in 5th grade (just like all other CPS schools), there are several school sports teams students can join including soccer, basketball, cross country & track and field. I believe sports teams are relatively new at Skinner (maybe only 3 years old) but are quite popular among the students. Regarding more advanced math & science in the upper grades, options are currently being explored by Skinner’s administration as well as a group of parents dedicated toward middle school curricula.

  • 932. CBZ Mom  |  April 28, 2016 at 11:48 am

    Anyone else accept a Kindergarten spot at Decatur?

  • 933. CPS mom too  |  April 28, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    @926 Another happy NTA mom here.
    The program started with a K and 1st grade program in 2013-14 and grows with a new kindergarten class each year. This year the highest grade is 3rd grade, next year it will be 4th grade, etc.

  • 934. Evelyn  |  April 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    On the other end, can’t help but notice an inordinate amount of sehs students being geared toward and only accepted to regional state schools. By itself maybe not a big deal but concurrently Noble Charter students, who are not posting better stats, are being lavished with multiple acceptances. Some to smaller or not as prominent schools, but some to big name schools. Mind you sehs students have tested their mettle and succeded. Complaints of Noble inflating Act scores have surfaced. This seems orchestrated to a privatized system. Hey, Rauner and his cohorts definately get paid either way. Are they hedging against non-charters?

  • 935. NTA Qs  |  April 30, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Hello again NTA RGC families!

    Thanks again for all your input so far! I have yet another question for you, but it’s brief: how much time does your child spend doing homework each night, on average? I’d love to hear from multiple families, so I can get a sense of the typical amount of homework.


  • 936. harry potter  |  April 30, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    @934, what is your source for the acceptances at each type of school?

  • 937. CPS mom too  |  May 1, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    @935 My kindergartner spends 15-20 m/ night plus reading (another 10-15 minutes). It’s more than I’d like, but not impossible and on rough nights we cut it short. It also has gotten easier as the year has gone on.

    My 2nd grader has a similar amount of homework and is expected to read 20m/night.

  • 938. NTA Qs  |  May 2, 2016 at 10:30 am

    @937 CPS mom too:

    Thanks so much for the input on homework! That’s really helpful. Can I ask – are there any direct consequences to your child for not getting homework done (for example, not getting to go out for recess, or being lectured at by the teacher)? Do you write a note when it is not completed? And is that what your kindergartner and 2nd grader do every day including weekends, or just weekdays?

    I have to admit, it kills me that these young kids are getting homework at all. It strikes me as especially ridiculous for kids who are already academically advanced. What is the point? I don’t get it.

  • 939. cpsmom  |  May 2, 2016 at 11:07 am

    I agree with the NTA homework load…about 20 minutes a night, plus reading. It has not been a problem. While I do sometimes wish that there was more “free time” after school, I think that my child does benefit from getting used to the routine of homework without it being too much or too stressful. He is used the routine and he usually finishes it quickly and without my help.

  • 940. ProudMom  |  May 3, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Any idea when 2nd round letters are going out?

  • 941. ProudMom  |  May 3, 2016 at 7:23 am

    Anyone when if the 2nd round letters were sent out yet?

  • 942. LSmom  |  May 3, 2016 at 8:11 am

    CPS says on or before May 5 (but would be surprised if it was before).

  • 943. CPS mom too  |  May 5, 2016 at 10:18 am

    @938 In K there are no consequences for not doing homework that I know of, at least if it’s occasional. On several occasions, my kiddo has been exhausted and I’ve just written “we couldn’t finish tonight” and it hasn’t been a problem. They don’t really get grades, so… Not sure what would happen if we just skipped it entirely.

    We haven’t done that in 2nd grade but for the most part homework is pretty manageable.

    I agree that it’s silly to have homework in K-2, but I like the school a lot in other ways, so we’ve lived with it. Helping with homework has also allowed me to see when the kids are having trouble and to help them out as necessary, so that’s been a positive.

    Homework on weekends is usually pretty light. In K they write and draw about what they did over the weekend and occasionally get a math worksheet. It’s similar in 2nd grade. K has reading logs over the weekend. 2nd grade doesn’t.

  • 944. NTA Qs  |  May 5, 2016 at 11:29 am

    @937, 939, 943 CPS mom too & cpsmom

    Thanks so much for the input on homework, I really appreciate it. I think you’ve talked me down off the ledge. =)

  • 945. km  |  May 6, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    has anyone received the second round SEES letter yet?

  • 946. Jaysmom  |  May 6, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    @newtosouthside, did you officially decline your seat at Mark Sheridan? I have a question for you if you don’t mind me shooting an email to you.

  • 947. dadhood  |  May 6, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I’ve got a kindergartener entering Pritzker Options next year. Two quick inquiries for Pritzker parents.

    1) What’s bussing like? We’re coming from Lawndale and I’m wondering how long he’d likely be on the bus.

    2) How much do the before-school twice-weekly music classes cost? I scoured the website but couldn’t find a number. Anyone had any good or bad experiences with the extra-cirricular “Music House” programs?

  • 948. Kindergarten newbie  |  May 6, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    I have a son entering the kindergarten options program at Coonley in the fall. We live in Rogers Park and it would take me about 20-30 minutes each way to drive him. I’m considering busing, but am hesitant because he’s so young! Is anyone here familiar with how the busing works? Would he be with k-8 kids? Are they from all different schools? Is it a really long trip? Should I wait until 1st grade? Thanks for any input.

  • 949. anothercpsmom  |  May 6, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    @dadhood I’m a Pritzker parent whose kids take the Music House classes. They cost $114 a month (meets twice a week) plus instrument rental. We ended up buying our instruments when we were certain the kids were in it for the long haul. The good part about buying is that you can trade in the instruments once your child has outgrown it for a larger size, and pay only the difference in price. The kids have been taking their classes for four years now, and we’ve been happy with their progress. They are especially good with beginning musicians. I don’t believe they are as rigorous as other music educators out there, however. But as non-musician parents, our primary goal was to get them to be interested and love playing, and they have certainly surpassed that. And it was extremely convenient that they were in-school, before school which works well for our schedule. Now that they are older (5th and 6th) and determined to stick with their instruments, we might try a different approach.

    As for bussing, I’m not much help. They only take the bus home and it takes about 30 mins. (we live in Cragin).

    Welcome to Pritzker. We love our school, and hope you learn to love it, too.

  • 950. cpsobsessed  |  May 6, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    @948 – I believe that Coonley and Bell share a bus. If not now, they did last year and this is like something that will continue to evolve if budgets are cut. The bus has K-8 (but keep in mind each school probably only has a few middle schoolers on each bus.)
    The ride is usually pretty long, I’d guess a good 45 min+, particularly if they drop off at Bell first, which I think has been true in the past.
    You could sign up for the bus and then see how the schedule works out. Kid could take the bus home, but get driven in the morning. Or if you hate it, delay bus until 1st greade. As I understand most kids end up enjoying the bus ride, but I can see where it may be a bit much for a new kindergartner (although I am a softie… I’m sure many kids do it and are just fine!)

  • 951. 1st year in CPS  |  May 6, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I just received a robo-phone call offering a spot at Beaubien for my daughter who will be going into 7th grade. I have until Thurs to accept. They said a letter is being emailed. I don’t know what to do now, we had accepted that she didn’t get in anywhere and moved on. We only applied to Edison, Beaubien, and Taft AC.

  • 952. cpsobsessed  |  May 6, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    @951: Do you have reason to think Beaubien would be a better fit than the current school? Does she need more challenge?

  • 953. cpsobsessed  |  May 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    @948 – I asked a friend who sent a kid from Rogers Park to Coonley last year and the bus was 1 – 1.5 hours. It depends in part how close you live to the pick-up school (and CPS has been playing around with this due to budgets.) I think the ride home was a bit shorter – but it will never be the 20-30 min you could drive in.

  • 954. dadhood  |  May 6, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    Anyone else care to comment on bussing experiences with kindergarteners?

    Thanks! 114 is quite a bargain for bi-weekly lessons. Can I inquire which instruments you kids took? I’ll also likely buy instruments. If you buy used instruments you can almost always resell them for what you paid.

  • 955. SN parent  |  May 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Not not necessarily – my daughter takes the bus home from skinner north and she gets home faster than I do when I drive to pick her up. School is out at 3:30 and she’s home by 4:00 at the latest. Just depends on drop off order. She doesn’t mind the bus because she has friends on it. She started in kindergarten.

  • 956. NEWSkinnerNorh  |  May 6, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    hi SN Parent, you mentioned your daughter reaches home via bus in about 30 mins. Do you mind sharing where is your location? I am in downtown and looking for bus option from SN, just not sure how would that work

  • 957. 2nd Round  |  May 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Hi all,

    Got a robocall and email from CPS OAE this afternoon around 3:30pm, offering a 2nd round 1st grade spot at NTA for our kid (we had previously declined another SEES offer). No USPS letter yet. We have until next Thursday at 5pm to make a decision. Thankfully NTA is having a tour next Wednesday.

    May 6, 2nd Round
    1st grade
    RGC 124
    (Tier 4, but irrelevant for this placement, of course; NTA’s entry year is K.)

  • 958. SNparent  |  May 6, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    We live in Roscoe village near Addison and western. Hope that helps.

  • 959. jenchicago  |  May 6, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Received today a second round offer at Decatur 1st grade. Very concerned about distance and not sure whether to decline and hope for a SN offer later this summer. Anybody know the second round scores for SN?

  • 960. Ape  |  May 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    We also received an offer at Decatur today for 1st grade. Blaine is our neighborhood school and we love it there. I’m excited at the academic opportunities that Decatur could offer my son but I’m extremely nervous about leaving my close knit Blaine community,

    I am wondering if anyone can shed some light on the parent community at Decatur? Do the kids see each other outside of school? Do the parents mingle and when does that happen?

    I’m worried about the commute too. Does anyone know how long the bus ride might be if I choose to go that route? Thank you

  • 961. ugh  |  May 6, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    @959 and @960 It depends on the score.

  • 962. cpsobsessed  |  May 6, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    @Ape, one big difference about Decatur and Blaine is the bussing. While Blaine (I am guessing) has a lot of kids and parents who hang around on the school grounds after school, this likely isn’t the case at Decatur as most kids are getting on busses. You won’t see kids from school around the neighborhood all the time or at parks/stores. If those things are important to you (and they are really nice things to have) you may end up missing the community feel.

    But SE schools also have strong communities.. it just takes more effort and driving to make it happen. Kids will definitely socialize with parties and getting together to hang out. Parents will socialize to the extent that people plan stuff. One nice about SE is that you are with the same kids/families for years so you really get to know them. Unlike the neighborhood schools where kids switch classmates every year. (I’m not sure if Decatur has 2 1st grade classes this year, if so, you’ll have 2 classes to switch around in.) I’m sure there’s more socializing if you have free time for volunteer activities.

    I think having a neighborhood school is very awesome. I think it comes down to how “brainy” your child is and their need for accelerated content versus how much they’ll benefit from a strong neighborhood community.

    I do suspect the bus ride would be a good 40 min at least. Try driving it then probably add at least 20 minutes to that time.

  • 963. kmm  |  May 6, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    @959 and @960 do you mind to share your scores and tier no. my son is tier 2, 92 reading and 96 math. I am hoping to get a call from Decauter for 1st grade. Thanks!!

  • 964. Momandboy  |  May 6, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    Can people please share their scores so that the rest of us have a point of reference, Thanks so much,

  • 965. 2down 1togo  |  May 7, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Second round offer from Lenart. We will be accepting! Second choice on our list.
    Entering K
    Tier 4
    RGC 137

    Our end game is Keller which is where her older sister is, but perfectly happy with our offer.

  • 966. otdad  |  May 7, 2016 at 6:19 am

    @956. NEWSkinnerNorh

    “hi SN Parent, you mentioned your daughter reaches home via bus in about 30 mins. Do you mind sharing where is your location? I am in downtown and looking for bus option from SN, just not sure how would that work”

    AFAIK, bus pickup/dropoff at your neighborhood school. Depending on you location, “downtown”=either Ogden or maybe Southloop. If Ogden, you may need to check how far away you are from SN. Bus only serves students who live 1.5 miles away. If you need to drive to Ogden, you might as well just drive to SN, which is only minutes more.

  • 967. Skinner West 7-8th Grade Questions  |  May 7, 2016 at 7:31 am

    Does anyone have any information about the 7th and 8th grade program at Skinner West for the Classical classes? Are the teachers great? How heavy is the homework? Are there bullying issues? Is it very hard to get A’s. How good is the principal? I have children in SEES and some of their teachers have been rock stars and some have been the worst I’ve ever seen. I don’t want to send my child to Skinner if the teaching in those grades is weak. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  • 968. Decatur  |  May 7, 2016 at 7:49 am

    @960, The Decatur Parent Community is fantastic and there are always a handful of parents who hang out after school while their kids play on the playground. You have to arrange play dates and drive all over. Quite frankly the parents make the school. They are very involved.

    That being said, if you’re child is thriving at Blaine, i’d leave he/she there. It’s rare for a child at Decatur to thrive between grades 2-4. In fact, many regress because of very poor teaching.They also offer next to nothing by way of differentiation. It’s very much a one size fits all mentality. If you don’t like it you can leave. This is a direct reflection of the school’s leadership. The other grades are great. Especially grades 5-6.

    Also, the facilities are awful (too small) and the children are rarely allowed outside for recess in the winter because the principal is afraid someone may slip on some ice or walk on snow. This is a huge issue because there is no gym, The kids spend the whole day in their classroom at their desks. Lunch is provided on carts in the hallway and the child takes it back to their desk where they eat. There are very few after school programs and the administration is very rigid and resistant to change. The principal doesn’t like to stay late and she needs to be there if the school is open. When she does stay late, her attitude is that she’s doing you a big favor.

    What little they have after school is the result of programs put together by parent volunteers.

    This is not a place that will go above and beyond for your child.

  • 969. Ape  |  May 7, 2016 at 9:01 am

    @962, thank you, I appreciate all that feedback, so helpful

    @968, This doesn’t sound good! Why is it rare for a child to thrive in grades 2-4? Was this your personal experience? If there is no gym, does this mean they have no gym class? Is there also no cafeteria? Thank you for your feedback, this is exactly the kind of info I need.

    If I decline my spot at Decatur, does that mean my son’s name goes back into the pool? Our first choice was Skinner North.

    For those asking about scores, here is what my son got:
    Tier 4
    Reading 98
    Math 97

  • 970. WRP Mom  |  May 7, 2016 at 10:19 am

    @ Ape, my child’s experience at Decatur was not like what 962 described for grades 2-4. Granted some of the teachers my child had in those grades were weak, but my child graduated several years ago and I think at least one of them was since retired. (you will find every school has at least one teacher who is less than stellar) I will agree grades 5-6 rock.

    Kids get PE. They have a multi purpose room and during the winter months, they walk over to the gym next door at the JCC.

    The school does not have all the bells and whistles that some other schools do, but I found my child received a solid educational foundation at Decatur.

    You will find varying opinions regarding the school on this site. Some love it, others hate it. I would not make a decision on what one poster says. Visit the school and form our own opinion.

  • 971. cara r  |  May 7, 2016 at 11:27 pm

    Surprised and happy to get an offer today on second round for first choice school
    6th grade Coonley
    RGC =149
    Total points for AC =889.4

    Can someone explain how we have an Academic Center score when applied only to Coonley and Bell and entering 6th grade?

  • 972. cpsmadness  |  May 7, 2016 at 11:47 pm

    we got a robo call and email that my son got a spot at decatur for KG. we are tier 3, m98 r88. we are declining because we are moving out east. good luck to the next kiddo on the list!!

  • 973. NewCoonley  |  May 8, 2016 at 6:30 am

    @cara r Congratulations on being offered a spot at Coonley! We also got an offer into the 6th grade class at Coonley. We accepted, so if you’re at all worried about your child being the only new 6th grader, there will be at least one more.
    I’m not sure why we received a composite score. I do know that older children need to have certain NWEA scores to qualify to apply to selective enrollment. That could be part of the reason. There is one 6th grade program that uses the score, so they may generate it for all of the SEES applications in the upper grades just in case you put that program on the list. That’s the best I can do to explain it. Hope that helps a little.

  • 974. Mom of 2  |  May 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Got an offer from Decatur on Friday (5-6), for 1st grade.
    Tier 4
    Reading 96 and Math 97

    We are leaning to decline and stay at Ravenswood. So far differentiation has been pretty good (better with reading than math). We love the arts and the wall-to-wall positive discipline model. The time spent on social-emotional learning has been great for our little one.

    We worry about the long term and possible academic boredom and/or complacency (being unwilling to work hard when necessary because the work generally does not require struggle) though…

    Another concern about Decatur is homework. How much in terms of hours is required for the primary grades? We struggle getting our little one to do the minimal amount assigned at Ravenswood.

  • 975. Chicago School GPS  |  May 8, 2016 at 10:58 am

    The AC, Regional Gifted Center and International Gifted programs all use the same aptitude based test from CPS. If your child is a public school student then CPS automatically has your child’s grades and thus can generate the 900 point rubric for the middle school programs which is based on your child’s NWEA and final grades from 2 years prior, and the entrance test this past fall/winter. Although RGC programs don’t use the 900 point rubric, they can still generate it from the info they have.

  • 976. Wondering  |  May 8, 2016 at 11:17 am

    I thought it was the Classical School that used the aptitude test. Just curious.

  • 977. Chicago School GPS  |  May 8, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    The Classical schools use an achievement test which contains more typical reading and math questions.

  • 978. MathPro  |  May 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    Got an offer from a Decatur,
    99.9 math,
    85 reading,
    Tier 4.
    Was completely unexpected (with our reding score). The problem – we live in the Lincoln park (just a little bit North from Fullerton and South to Halsted). School bus does not go that far according to CPS 6 mile rule. I wander if anyone here from Decatur figured out the best way to commute from Lincoln park (I have to drive to my work in the morning and my wife does not drive).

  • 979. WRP Mom  |  May 8, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    @ Mathpro, Decatur busing boundaries don’t follow the 6 mile rule (that’s for magnet schools) As long as you are north of Fullerton, you are eligible for the bus.

  • 980. Kinder2016  |  May 8, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    Hey all-I’m guessing CPS RGC 2nd round made robo calls/sent emails in lieu of or in addition to usps letters? We are tier 4 score 134, hoping for kinder spot. We didn’t receive any letters in mail, email nor robo call. Thank you!

  • 981. Momandboy  |  May 8, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Did anyone accept 2nd round offers for 1st grade? Can you please share the scores.

  • 982. cpsobsessed  |  May 8, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    @Mathpro, that was a Kindergarten offer?

  • 983. cara  |  May 8, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    NewCoonley, Congratulations on your acceptance! I am happy to hear my son would not be the only new student. Was your child able to shadow there? I am going to call to inquire tomorrow. I have heard great things about the program. Any feedback would be appreciated. We have been very happy with his current Catholic school ,so even though this should not be a hard decision, it is. Our family has been at the school for 13 years total between all our kids. We feel very fortunate to have the Coonley option however. Still very surprised by the news. It was his first choice. We are within walking distance just outside the neighborhood boundary so it would be very convenient too. My older ones attended Lane for this reason.

  • 984. 1st year in CPS  |  May 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm

    @952 To answer your question: Do you have reason to think Beaubien would be a better fit than the current school? Does she need more challenge?

    Yes, she needs more of a challenge. We moved from NJ last summer and she was in all the Enrichment classes from grades 1-5 so this year (6th) she is repeating a lot of the same work she did 2-3 years ago. She said she feels her learning is stagnant, she wants more of a challenge,she wants to learn new things, and she wants to be with her peers. Will transferring to Beaubien RGC give her what she is looking for?

    I’m going to call the school tomorrow to see if we can get a tour and get some info. I didn’t find out about SEES applying/testing until the week the applications were due so I chose schools based on location to where we live and didn’t get to any open houses or info sessions. When she didn’t get an initial offer and there was no wait list mentioned, we just put this behind us not expecting a 2nd round offer.

  • 985. SN  |  May 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Has anyone got an offer from SN second round? If yes, can you please share your scores? Thank you.

  • 986. NewCoonley  |  May 8, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    @983 We weren’t able to make the school tour because of our work schedules. When my husband called to set up our registration appointment, they told him that there would be another event for the families to come by and visit. I’m not sure what the event is and they didn’t give him a date. It sounds like an open house for new families. Maybe we will see each other there!

    We’re excited about Coonley, but we know only a little bit about it. We also only applied to a few programs. Our main motivation for Coonley was that it seemed a reasonable distance from our home and they have a partnership with Bit Space, and my son loves that place. We didn’t think he would get in any where, and then we got the letter.! I’m excited that he won’t be the only “newbie” in 6th grade. A very helpful Coonley parent also emailed me reassured me about the culture there, and that is helpful too. My email is lella27@yahoo.com if you want to email about it!

  • 987. Kay  |  May 8, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Would any existing Skinner North parents be willing to be contacted? My daughter plans to test this year and I would love to reach out with questions about personality match and diversity as SN is our current top choice for a number of reasons. We’re international and my daughter is very sensitive and emotional so I worry about overall fit. Thanks!

  • 988. MathPro  |  May 9, 2016 at 6:28 am

    @cpsobsessed Yes, it is kindergarten offer.

  • 989. Ape  |  May 9, 2016 at 9:22 am

    @970 and to all Decatur parents…agreed, I need to visit and form my own opinion. However, I called today and spoke with the assistant principal and she told me there was no way I could come see the school since I already missed the tour and they have very limited resources. She basically said I can drive there and look at it from the outside. How frustrating.

    Another question I have is about 6th graders testing into ACs. Does anyone know what % test in? And what does everyone else do who doesn’t get in? When I asked today, the asst principal told me “most students” get into Taft, Whitney or Lane and the others go back to their neighborhood school or move to a private school etc. She couldn’t provide me any statistics of how many students get accepted. She told me she doesn’t have that info and that it also would be confidential anyways. This doesn’t make any sense to me given that this process is completely based on testing and statistics.

    Is this a typical interaction with the staff at this school? She wasn’t overly helpful and my first impression wasn’t the greatest.

  • 990. MP  |  May 9, 2016 at 9:23 am

    @987 Kay
    Hi Kay my son was offered a spot for K in SN starting this fall and while he is technically not attending the school yet I can talk to you about our experience so far and give you updates as time goes on. We are also an international family with child who has unique emotional needs. Please feel free to reach out at cipelino@yahoo.com

  • 991. Ape  |  May 9, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Two more questions for Decatur. I was told that parents are not allowed to volunteer in the classroom. So how do parents get involved?

    I was also told that there are no individualized learning plans. Math and reading are taught one grade ahead and no more. What if there is a student who is beyond that? Tough luck? My son excels at math and I think eventually he’d need something more so that worries me.

  • 992. hopeful  |  May 9, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Anyone else waiting for a 1st grad Skinner North or Skinner West offer? My daughter scored R: 99 M: 97.

  • 993. Call!  |  May 9, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Call the OAE and ask how many kids are still uncommitted and have scores higher than yours. I called and they were able to tell me exactly. Good luck.

  • 994. hopeful  |  May 9, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Really, I asked and they wouldn’t provide it. Do you remember who you spoke to?

  • 995. Searching  |  May 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Does anyone here live in E Lakeview and drive to both Bell and Skinner North/ (or) British School? I would love to carpool with you! Please respond here and we can figure out how to talk offline.

  • 996. Call  |  May 9, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I am sorry, I didn’t get his name. It was a male. I would try again, it’s weird that they give that info to some people and not others. But from the looks of your daughter’s scores, I would say you have a chance.

  • 997. Yeah, right, Decatur.  |  May 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    @989 Ape. I call BS on the following:

    Another question I have is about 6th graders testing into ACs. Does anyone know what % test in? And what does everyone else do who doesn’t get in? When I asked today, the asst principal told me “most students” get into Taft, Whitney or Lane and the others go back to their neighborhood school or move to a private school etc. She couldn’t provide me any statistics of how many students get accepted. She told me she doesn’t have that info and that it also would be confidential anyways.

    My kids have gone to three different SEEs and that info–in aggregate, not with student names or anything–has been made available when asked or even freely discussed/shown in pie chart form at LSC and PTO meetings.

    I think Decatur has always been hesitant to reveal those numbers, mainly because their kids are not just getting into their first or second choice ACs like they used to, now that there is more competition from throughout the city..

    The uncertainty of the “next school” is a scary part of enrolling your child at Decatur. “What happens after 6th grade?” is a very reasonable question to ask. Knowing your child’s odds of requiring a $20,000 annual private school bill or popping them into the neighborhood proram at your local school for grades 7 and 8 is something you deserve to know (and plan for) now.

    Remember: As coveted as some of these school are, you are not some beggar at a banquet. You are a taxpayer and a concerned parent. You have the right to ask questions. Especially if they are going to ask you to give your hard-earned money there to support the PTO once you arrive.

  • 998. Decatur  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Ape@ 991

    1. There is no differentiation at Decatur. It’s very much a one size fits all mentality and if it fits your child-great! If not, your in your own.

    K-1 and 5-6 are great. 2-4 not so much.

    2. That is the typical interaction with the staff, They could have scheduled tours after each round if they chose to or wanted to. It is their choice. Many other schools do this. It would require the staff to go “above and beyond”. That’s not their thing. They do say, “we can’t” more than any other school I’ve ever seen. I will say that the AP is very nice once you get to know her but she is a bit off putting in the beginning. She takes a bit to warm up to you. She’s also the hardest working person in the administration and she’s probably fielding a ton of phone calls in addition to everything else she does.

    You must understand that they have an elitist attitude there, so you’re lucky your kid got in. You shouldn’t be bothering them with this nonsense. It’s Decatur.

    I think the principal’s contract is going to expire next year. Maybe she’ll retire or maybe it won’t get renewed. There could be a whole new administration in there very soon, so that’s something to keep in mind. I wasn’t there at the time but a parent told me that the LSC asked the principal to resign after she made national news for publically shaming some girls over the length of their shorts. Google it. She refused and the community was pissed. She’s probably living on borrowed time. A lot of people still remember that.

    Kids get into AC’s and also get into SN,SW, Edison, Baeubien because those schools have spots when their kids leave for the AC. 7th grade is critical so there usually aren’t many kids vying to get into those schools in that grade. It’s very frustrating but usually works out. They never release statistics.

    You can volunteer in the classroom up until 2nd grade but only for holiday parties like Valentine’s Day. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer through the PTA which does a TON of stuff. It’s very easy to get involved there if you want to. The PTA welcomes all the help they can get. They also have parent volunteers in the library but those spots fill up quick. You can also volunteer to chaperone the few field trips they take. Most of the field trips are consistently lame. The Principal lets the teachers pick what field trips the kids go on so if you have a lame teacher, you go on lame field trips or none at all. They don’t do MSI, FIELD, ADLER.. It’s sad. I think admission is free for CPS students. They go to mythology plays every year at Northeastern. Lots of plays, occasional zoo. I think they did Chicago History museum and the Holocust Museum (6th grade) this year.

    They should have a system in place where each grade goes to a different museum every year. Again, that might be considered above and beyond.

    They don’t come up with much on their own. It has to be suggested, formulated, and planned by the parents. Which the parents do because they’re awesome.

    There are great things about Decatur, especially the parent community, and some not so great but that could all change in a very short time. A different principal could raise the school to it’s full potential and get rid of all the shortcomings that are in place. You might want to give it a chance. If Blaine is your neighborhood school you’ve got nothing to lose. You can always leave.

    Also, keep in mind that it’s possible that people who post and are highly positive about the current state of the school may work at the school.

    Good luck with your choice!

  • 999. MP  |  May 9, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I have a bit off the topic question and was hoping to get some feedback.
    For those parents whose kids consistently score in 99.9th percentile for either math, reading or both: What do you do to challenge your little ones outside of the school? Does anyone have experience with enrichment opportunities or programs for very gifted children? Thank you for any feedback!

  • 1000. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Do you know of this place for taking classes for gifted kids?


  • 1001. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    I will reiterate that the opinions about Decatur are highly varied. I believe it’s commonly agreed on that for certain types of kids the education is very good and serves the population well. And there seems to be agreement that the building presents limitations that are less than ideal.

    Parents have differing opinions about the admin and some teachers. Some of this depends on how much you care about those things and what you want out of the school experience. Back in “the day” when security was more lax everywhere, Decatur was considered restrictive about families entering the school. Now that is much more normal for schools to ask families not to be hanging out in the school all the time.

    People’s preference and tolerance about admin and other details about a school can vary by interpretation. I highly encourage a visit to any school to form your own personal opinion. I have known someone who wasn’t happy with virtually every “top” school in the city while others are thrilled with those same schools.

    I do think that if you have a child entering Kindergarten, the admin at Decatur is likely to change by the time your child finishes there.

    Just some food for thought.

  • 1002. NewCoonley  |  May 9, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    @1000 Both of my sons are doing the CTD program this summer. They need scores in reading or math above the 25th percentile. I will no more this summer, but my impression is that it is a rigorous and well organized program.

  • 1003. NewCoonley  |  May 9, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    @1000 oops@ That should say above the 95th percentile!

  • 1004. MP  |  May 9, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    @1000 cpsobsessed:
    Thank you! My child is currently enrolled in CTD although I have to say that I am very not happy with the program (I am trying to be polite here). The program prides itself on educating gifted kids and has weekly seminars discussing unique needs of gifted children yet in their program they do not implement any of these things and have even denied entry to my child who scored at 99.9 percentile for both math and reading even though his age group was not even available (tested day after his 4th bday) because he was a bit overexcited to be there on the first class. I could go on and on about my dissatisfaction with this program however that is not the point of this blog post I am really curious at hearing what other options exist for profoundly gifted kids. I did hear about Davidson institute at this blog and will be definitely checking them out once my child turns 5 (minimal age requirement).

  • 1005. waiting for 1st grade SN  |  May 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Also waiting for a 1st grade sn opening, with 99/97 score. What tie breakers does OAE use?

  • 1006. CTD  |  May 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    I second the Thoughts about CTD program. I wasn’t particularly impressed and I think it’s way overpriced.

  • 1007. cpsobsessed  |  May 9, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    ^ sounds like a business opportunity for someone! I’m not sure if parents would require the cache of association with a major university to sell it. I suspect in the case of CTD they are using the name for cache that might not be earned.
    I’d heard good things about the classes a few years back.

  • 1008. CTD comment  |  May 9, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Both of my kids routinely score 99% on all of their NWEA-type standardized tests, get all As in their SEES schools, win or place high in spelling bees/science fairs/math competitions/etc. YET I would not consider them “profoundly gifted,” nor would their teachers. That term is bizarro and probably mis- and over-used, particularly by places like CTD. Also, both kids have not really enjoyed their very pricey CTD programs. I have not enjoyed the prices and inconvenient times and locations! 🙂

  • 1009. anon  |  May 9, 2016 at 9:58 pm


    A few things: first, I was told that OAE uses the actual scores, not the percentiles, to rank kids. However, I don’t know the specifics of how they use those scores (do they use the highest score, do they use the sum, etc.); on that, I am ignorant.

    That said, my kid also has R99 M97, for first grade. Now, our kids may actually have very different scores. As I understand it, percentiles above 99 are not reported for kids above Kindergarten, so my kid’s score may correspond to a percentile of a true 99, whereas your kid’s score may be in the 99.9th percentile – undoubtedly a much higher score.

    However, for what it’s worth, I was told after the 2nd round that my kid is now ranked #35 for a 1st grade spot at SN. Given the popularity of SN, I don’t expect this to turn into an offer by September.

    I hope that is useful, if not optimistic, information.

  • 1010. chicagochicago  |  May 9, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Does any one get an offer from bell in the second round?

  • 1011. NewCoonley  |  May 10, 2016 at 3:49 am

    As far as the CTD is concerned, as stated above, we haven’t started the program yet. The other parents that we have spoken to in person have had great things to say about the program. These are the first negative comments that I have heard. However, we have only considered the summer program, and we have only talked to parents who have done that program.

    I don’t recall the term “profoundly gifted,” and that would have been a turnoff for me as well. We found out about the CTD through a partnership that our neighborhood school formed with them. They held a few informational sessions at our school, and this is where we met the parents whose children attended last summer. They attended the meeting as well because they were considering another year.

    All of the parents were encouraged to apply for financial aid, even if they didn’t think they would qualify. I’m glad we did apply because we did get some aid which has made the cost much more affordable.

    Both of my sons are taking a summer program. The older one is doing a two week all day program (physics) and our younger son is taking a half day one week program (biology). After reading these comments, I hope that it is worth it!

  • 1012. Mom of 2  |  May 10, 2016 at 6:32 am

    I have had very positive experiences with CTD. My son has taken one summer program and several Saturday classes (in the PreK-1 range, all science based). The classes and teachers have varied a bit, but overall I feel he has gotten a lot out of it. He always wants to talk about what he learned/did afterwards and he wants to do any experiments/extensions suggested to be done at home. I plan to continue with the program as long as time and $ permit.

  • 1013. Near South Sider  |  May 10, 2016 at 10:38 am

    We’ve also had a positive experience with CTD. We did the summer program last year, which my kid loved, and we’re doing it again this year. I see the real benefit as being the programs for teens. The leadership and civic opportunities look amazing, and if my kiddo has some serious math and science ability, I’d like for her to do the intensive math and science courses.

  • 1014. parent  |  May 10, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @MP, There are also classes and camps at several CPS elementary schools through Center for Gifted (Alcott, Audubon, Lenart and Thorp):


  • 1015. New CPSmom  |  May 10, 2016 at 11:59 am

    @Jaysmom I did. Sorry for the late response. We went on a family vacation. You can email me at mag_asmith@outlook.com

  • 1016. MP  |  May 10, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    @1014 parent:
    Great resource, thank you!

  • 1017. hopeful  |  May 10, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    @1014 Thanks! I just signed my child up for the week long camp.

  • 1018. uncertain  |  May 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Our child has an offer from Decatur (and we have to decide by Friday if we are going to take it). But, we live close to Skinner North (which was, naturally, our first choice). Right now we are 6-th on the waiting list for SN. Should we gamble and wait for SN? Any suggestions?

  • 1019. SNmom  |  May 10, 2016 at 5:12 pm


    I would say it depends on the grade. Kinder may open up, 1st may be more challenging. Do you mind sharing your score?

  • 1020. ncwmolden  |  May 10, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    I would call or email Ethan (SN principal). Maybe he can give you sense of the chances. That’s a tough choice to face!

  • 1021. cpsobsessed  |  May 10, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    @Uncertain, if you turn down Decatur and SN doesn’t work out this year, do you have a good backup choice?

  • 1022. uncertain  |  May 10, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    @SNmom – it is for kindergarten. For score, I was told that the total raw score is used for ranking, not the percentile. So, same average percentile can correspond to very different raw score.

    @ cpsobsessed We have Alcott as a back up.

  • 1023. MP  |  May 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    With Alcot as a backup I would wait for possibility of SN in the later rounds.. if you do not mind uniforms that is 🙂

  • 1024. cpsimpressed  |  May 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Entering 1st grade, RGC 135. Turned down first choice Beaubien after Open House. Got a second round offer at Bell and will be accepting and also looking at private options this summer.

  • 1025. cpsobsessed  |  May 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    @cpsimpressed – can you share which Tier?

  • 1026. Jessie  |  May 11, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    My daughter is in 7th grade, in a suburban catholic school. She was offered a spot at Keller RGC for 8th grade. She wants to take it, even though she would be changing schools in 8th grade! She isn’t challenged at her current school and loves Whitney Young, so she thinks this is her best route to get into WY next year. Does anyone have experience with transferring this late (8th)? Do we dare turn down the spot? I know the RGCs lose kids to the ACs, so spots do open up in 7th and 8th, so it’s not surprising. We live in the suburbs and had been considering moving back to the city. I’m tempted to rent and see how the school year goes and where she gets accepted to HS before we finalize a move. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  • 1027. Hmmm....  |  May 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm


    Interesting question. Here is my thinking out loud…

    There is no “extra” benefit to being a CPS elementary student (as far as getting into a CPS high school), so that is not an issue or a reason to move to the RGC for 8th grade. No priority is given to CPS kids or even Chicago residents in the application period. Plenty of people move in from the suburbs once they know their kid is in a SEHS. You just need a Chicago address by a certain date.

    On the other hand, if you DO move into Chicago and find a home in a lower tier of the city (1,2, or 3), that could grant your child a little extra room for error in the points in the selective enrollment high school game. For example, the Tier 3 cutoff for WY was 848/900 this year.

    I believe they will use an approximation of your current address to determine your child’s tier when the time for testing comes, so if you live in a nice suburb, you are probably tier 4 and your daughter will require a pretty high score, this year it was 870+ to get into WY (that GENERALLY means no Bs on the final report card). Here is a link to last year’s cutoff scores: http://www.cpsoae.org/SEHS%20Cutoff%20Scores_2016-2017.pdf

    Not sure if you know this stuff already, but the admissions scores are based on 900 points:

    –7th grade grades (300 points)
    –7th grade NWEA test (if your current school does not offer that, your daughter will have to take it in the fall) (300 points)
    –8th grade entrance exam (300 points)

    So, her 7th grades are already determined. She might have taken the NWEA test already, so that could be over with for her,too.

    I doubt being in an RGC for a couple of months will inherently boost her score on the NWEA or the entrance exam. In fact, adjusting to all of the new social stuff at a new school could make some kids anxiety-ridden and the test scores could tank.

    It’s a tough one. For me, if my kid had a lot of friends at her current school and the school was not in the sub-basement of achievement, I might keep here there to enjoy graduating with her class. There is real value in social connectedness at this age. It can be tough to be one of the “new kids” in an 8th grade class of kids who have been together since they were 5 years old.

    I wish you the best of luck and hope this info and opinion were helpful.

  • 1028. Jessie  |  May 11, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Yes! You are saying all of the things I am thinking! But my D wants to make the change. She is worried that she will spend 8th grade “celebrating” with her classmates and not doing much academically. This all comes from her, we don’t push her at all. She’s our third, we tell her to kick back and enjoy being a kid! But there’s something to be said for a child that is really motivated. Our current school is pretty average, academically. So the move would be more to help her be challenged and work a year ahead. It could get her into advanced math in HS, and she thinks it could help her perform better on the HS entrance exam. I guess I’m just not sure that the RGCs are going to give her what she wants. Are they advanced? Do they challenge the kids? She does have straight As for 7th grade and we took the MAP, but I think she would take that again in the fall. we would definitely be tier 4, so not much room for error on the entrance exam. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • 1029. mom  |  May 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    @1022 can anyone comment on difference between raw scores and percentiles used for schools placement? This is the first time I heard about it so just curious.

  • 1030. Hmmm....  |  May 11, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    @1028. Glad to help.

    For high school, they use the 7th grade Spring NWEA test results. So she is set there if she took it this spring. They do not use fall scores unless the student is coming from a school that does not offer NWEA. They want to keep the apples-to-apples comparison as much as possible.

    I am not sure about Keller, but our RGC allegedly was 1-2 years “ahead.” It was challenging, but because our kid was there the whole time, it felt like sequential stepping stones, not one huge leap, like your daughter might experience if her current school is not all that challenging. You probably should ask Keller for specifics about the 8th grade curriculum to see if they sync up with where she is now and if it would offer a smooth transition.

    In CPS, to get to take “higher” math in freshman year, you have to have algebra and pass its exit exam in 7/8th grade. Not all CPS schools offer that opportunity, but I believe Keller does. My kid is in a the grade and in an AC and is in Algebra. We are anxious about the exit exam.

    Decisions, decisions. And you have two other kids and you may have to move? Aaargh! Good luck!

  • 1031. Jessie  |  May 11, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you! This is very helpful! I am a little worried the jump would be big, but better to make it in 8th grade, I suppose. You’re right, our MAP may be done. She took it in Dec so if that’s considered spring, then that’s the one. She scored fine, over 95% in both, but may not be enough. She was offered algebra for next year at a local HS, so she can already have that if we stay put. It’s probably better to stay where we are but she really wants the challenge. But you are also right about “how much can a few months help for the entrance exam”. Probably not much.
    Decisions, decisions is right! And what we do for our kids! My other two kids go to a private high school in the city so it doesn’t affect them too much about where we live, if we were to move. It would probably shorten their commute so that’s a plus. I’m glad your experience with the RGC has been good! Our other concern is if we should even get involved with CPS. There is way too much turmoil these days. Good luck to you and your family! Thanks for your input.

  • 1032. cpsobsessed  |  May 11, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    @Jessie: I agree with what Hmmm has said – the difference in instruction probably won’t affect the entrance exam that much, especially if you opt for an early test date (which sounds like your daughter might be interested in, given her level of interest in the school system.)

    I wouldn’t let the scary aspects of CPS keep you away. Keller will be in fine shape through next year at least.

    I would typically agree that a change in 8th grade is difficult, but I think for some kids, “spreading their wings” starts to feel vital around that age. (My kid is the opposite and likes his comfortable cocoon of classmates.) But I think it can be nice for the CPS RGC kids to get new classmates and sounds like your kid is ready to meet some new people as well. At the very least, it would be character-building. 🙂

    and if you you’re renting, heck yeah, go into Tier 1 or 2. There some nice stuff over by the 606 trail that is still Tier 1.

  • 1033. Jennifer Roock  |  May 11, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Received offer for Skinner West in second round:

    Grade 2
    Tier 4
    Reading 99
    Math 97

    On the fence if we will accept. Currently in private school and live far from the West Loop. We are happy with the current school but feel she isn’t challenged enough.

  • 1034. Jessie  |  May 11, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Thanks for your response! I think you are spot on when you say some kids really want to spread their wings. I think we are trying to keep her at her school because we are comfortable there. She wants to get out there and explore!
    My husband is not a fan of moving or renting “just for her to go to a school that she thinks she wants”. But I think it may make all of us reevaluate what we want to do in the next phase of our life, which is the baby going to high school! It should free us up a lot if she goes to a SEHS. If we have her start HS in the suburbs, we are stuck here for four more years. Thanks for all of the great tips and advice from this blog! It has helped so much!

  • 1035. 60655Mom  |  May 11, 2016 at 8:50 pm


    Check out Keller’s school website. An open house for new parents is scheduled for next week. Not sure when you need to decide by but maybe come to open house.

  • 1036. cpsimpressed  |  May 11, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    @1025 Tier 4, sorry!

  • 1037. NTA Qs  |  May 12, 2016 at 10:57 am


    How would your private school react if you told them you were considering leaving for Skinner West because you feel she is not sufficiently challenged? This is not rhetorical: some schools would freak out and retaliate against the child or family, and some would step up their game. If you have reason to think you are in the latter type of school, maybe you can use the offer as leverage?

  • 1038. otdad  |  May 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    @1037 NTA Qs:
    how can they retaliate? It’s just a school choice.

  • 1039. harry potter  |  May 12, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    I hear this a lot about teachers and schools. The whole retaliation thing. Its rarely true. I’ve seen many parents do and say really horrific things to teachers and administrators and never once have I seen that taken out on a child. I have seen teachers avoid certain parents because, well, they are a PIA or quite simply unsafe to be around. I’ve had parents I was instructed never to be alone in a classroom with by principals because of concern for my safety.

    I’ve seen a few teachers treat a kid like crap, but never because of something their parent did, that was just because the teacher was a jerk.

  • 1040. DecisionsDecisions  |  May 12, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Entering Kindergarten
    Tier 4
    RGC 135
    Reading 99.9, Math 95
    Offered Skinner North (2nd choice overall, 1st classical) in first round. Rejected seat.

    Offered Decatur (4th choice overall, 2nd classical) in second round. Rejected seat.

    Hope this helps one of you! Going to our neighborhood school.

  • 1041. NTA Qs  |  May 12, 2016 at 10:07 pm


    In theory, they could treat you and/or your child poorly for the rest of the time s/he was at the school.

    I have absolutely no idea how common this is, and I certainly am not trying to cast aspersions on private schools or teachers in general. I simply know of at least one school like this.

  • 1042. rgcVSclassical  |  May 13, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I am wondering if someone can share their insights to the real difference between a RGC like Bell and a classical program like SN. Maybe I am wrong here but I do not feel that one year or two year acceleration matters in the long run. I am curious how the two programs are different in the curriculum design, and their teaching style and their expectations from the students etc. How do they fit kids differently? Thanks!

  • 1043. CBZ Mom  |  May 13, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    Any other new Decatur families out there?! Accepted a K spot. Nervous, excited, hoping I’m making the right choice!!

  • 1044. otdad  |  May 13, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    1042. rgcVSclassical:
    SEES has accelerated curricula, that’s about it. Reading CPS’s descriptions about RGC and classical, there seem some differences, but there is no real difference, . Why I think so?

    You can visit http://www.illinoisreportcard.com, find Skinner North (pure classical), Edison (pure RGC), and look at their PARCC scores. Overall, SN has 53% students exceed standards in math, Edison 50%, which means nearly half of the students in both schools are just working at their grade levels. It’s rather pointless in focusing on how many grades ahead they are taught.

    SN’s newer crop performs better: 3rd grade has 79% exceed in math. Edison’s 3rd grade has 29% exceed.

    CPS’s logic seems:
    RGC: admits students who ‘likely’ can handle accelerated curricula.
    Classical: admits students who are ‘already’ academically advanced.

    I expect classical schools like SN are most likely to rank at the very top in terms of scores, because of the admission criteria.

  • 1045. Edmom  |  May 14, 2016 at 7:49 am

    @otdad, That’s interesting. My child does extremely well on the Classical tests (98%+) but not as well on the RGC tests.

  • 1046. Seeker  |  May 14, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Does anyone have any suggestion as to how to prepare for this classical test.
    For the last couple years, My son has been in high 99% in maps NWEA reading as well as math (253 math and 245 reading NWEA raw score for 3rd grade in spring 2016!!!) and when he takes the classical test he gets 98% in math and 85% in reading??? And last year he got 98% in reading and 89% in math.
    I just can’t make any sense of these scores. What do you do to prepare for his test. The only difference with NWEA test would be its paper pen test. So I am perplexed.

  • 1047. NWside  |  May 14, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    @1043, we decided to decline our Decatur spot. Going with Thorp (proximity) which will be a lot easier, especially as we have a younger kid.

  • 1048. CBZ Mom  |  May 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    @1047 Wow, you are so lucky to have scored a spot at Thorp! My son’s BFF also got a spot for K. Our # is waaay up there! Best of luck…

  • 1049. NWside  |  May 14, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    @CBZ, thanks. It was a really hard decision! I’m sure Decatur will be great for you.

  • 1050. rgcVSclassical  |  May 14, 2016 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks a lot for your comment!

  • 1051. CPScraziness  |  May 15, 2016 at 11:20 am

    @1040: DecisionsDecisions,

    What’s your neighborhood school?

  • 1052. Decatur Parent  |  May 15, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    @CBZ Don’t be nervous. The K teacher at Decatur is wonderful. Everyone loves her! The PTA will assign you to a mentor family before school starts and they will answer all of your questions. It’s a very tight knit parent community and everyone is really there for each other.

    The administration is not great but I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s likely that next year will be their last as that is the Principal’s last year of her contract. She made national news 3 years ago (right after her contract was renewed) by body shaming some young girls at the school and she was asked to resign by the LSC because that’s what the parents wanted and she refused. Also, if you compare what the other classical schools offer in terms of extracurricular activities to what Decatur offers you can see Decatur falls short. I’m sure that will change with a new administration because that has been a chief complaint of the parent community which I’m sure will be sorted out before a new principal is selected. Congratulations and welcome!

  • 1053. KIndergarten Newbie  |  May 15, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Can someone tell me when the first day of school is? I think I had the wrong start date in my calendar. Thank you!

  • 1054. harry potter  |  May 15, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    I just realized that NTA actually IS an AUSL school. My mouth dropped.

  • 1055. CBZ Mom  |  May 15, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    @1052 Decatur Parent Thank you kindly! I really appreciate your feedback and warm welcome! I look forward to getting to know the Decatur community 🙂

  • 1056. G boys parent  |  May 16, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Will there be the third round selection?

  • 1057. w-parent  |  May 16, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Yes, starting Friday.

  • 1058. Kenwood Parent  |  May 16, 2016 at 11:14 am

    I’ve seen a few Skinner North scores that were lower than 98 this year (but of course with a 99 or 99.9). Does anyone else feel that the first and second round scores were lower than usual?

  • 1059. cpsobsessed  |  May 16, 2016 at 11:30 am

    First day of school next Fall is Tuesday Sept 6th.


  • 1060. w-parent  |  May 16, 2016 at 11:32 am

    With one score at 99.9 it becomes tricky to say what second score will be the cut off. They look on the total combined raw score and because of that it is possible that 99.9/89 can be placed better that 99/97.

  • 1061. Hello, is it me you're looking for....  |  May 16, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Next monday is robocall/e-mail for 3rd round offers…Hoping to hear from Pritzker or NTA RGC 134; tier 4 (scored too low for classical)


  • 1062. Hello, is it me you're looking for....  |  May 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Next monday is robocall/e-mail for 3rd round offers…Hoping to hear Kindergarten Pritzker or NTA RGC 134; tier 4 (scored too low for classical)

  • 1063. ChiMom  |  May 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Any chance of getting into Pritzker options with a 116 RGC? Tier 4. Thinking probably not.

  • 1064. ChiMom  |  May 16, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Forgot to add, for 4th grade.

  • 1065. ERGCLuv  |  May 17, 2016 at 8:45 am

    @Prouddad I am a current parent of a 1st grader at Edison RGC and I love it. The kids, parents, teachers and general community are great. The ERGC Class of 2023 has a Facebook page if you want to join to get to know everyone before next year. The parents sometimes get together for social gatherings and it would be great for you to join us.

  • 1066. G boys parent  |  May 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Thanks @1057 and @1061

  • 1067. RGCCurious  |  May 17, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Curious if anyone received a second round offer to a RGC for Kindergarten…if so, what was your score/tier? Trying to get a sense of how far below the bar my daughter was…

  • 1068. NTA Qs  |  May 17, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    @1067 RGCCurious

    The acceptance scores for the RGCs vary, so you may want to ask about a particular school or schools.

    There is some data in the previous two years threads that might give you an idea of what scores have been needed to get into the RGCs at various time points in the summer for the past two years. (I was able to get a reasonable picture for the RGCs across the summer for first grade by combing through the threads.) Of course, this only tells you what happened in the past, so it’s no guarantee of this year. The relevant threads:

    2014: https://cpsobsessed.com/2014/03/21/2014-sees-gifted-and-classical-letter-thread/

    2015: https://cpsobsessed.com/2015/03/19/2015-sees-gifted-and-classical-elem-thread/

  • 1069. 2down 1togo  |  May 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    @1067 RGCCurious

    I posted above, my daughter received a second round call for Lenart. Teir 4, 137.

  • 1070. ACCEPTANCE atLAST  |  May 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Got rob call at 9:15am this morning from CPS SEES; daughter accepted into Carnegie Gifted program, K, 131score tier 4.

    I hear excellent program with segregated gifted wing in the school located at University of Chicago Dorchester @60th Street

  • 1071. Maria  |  May 21, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Good morning,

    Just received an email from the OAE office, offering my son a Coonley RGC spot for 11st grade. We will be declining as I feel the school he is in now is a good fit for him. Hope this helps if anyone is waiting for a Coonley spot for 1st grade.

  • 1072. waiting  |  May 21, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Did any Skinner offers go out for 1st grade?

  • 1073. Wondering  |  May 21, 2016 at 10:06 am

    @Maria can you please share your son’s scores for 1st grade RG? Thanks so much.

  • 1074. Maria  |  May 21, 2016 at 11:32 am

    @wondering, it is 144

  • 1075. ZJ  |  May 21, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    Got a call from CPS about Lenart offering. Coming 2nd grade and 137 score

  • 1076. SingleDad  |  May 21, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Daugther entering 5th grade, currently in Lincoln Elementary, applied at Edison and Keller. Got a letter today offering Edison. Score 148. Have read through a lot of the threads and most seem to have a positive take on Edison. Would love to actually talk a parent if possible. Have to decide by Thursday.


  • 1077. Skinner North Questions  |  May 21, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Does anyone have any information about 7th and 8th grade at Skinner North? Are the teachers strong? How heavy is the homework? Is there a bullying problem there (current 6th grade)? If there is do they have systems in place to deal with it? Do all of their kids make it into a SEHS? I hear the principal is amazing. My child was offered a spot for 7th grade and we have to decide by Tuesday!

  • 1078. Meghan  |  May 21, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    Well I thought we were out of the running, but today we got the call and my son got a seat at Beaubien for 2nd grade for next year. We are moving into Chicago and don’t know anything about the school or neighborhood. Is there anyone who might be able to give me some info on the school, the neighborhood, 2nd grade and before and after school options? If you are willing to chat, message here and I can give you my email address. Thank you in advance!

  • 1079. 2nd grader  |  May 21, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    hi Megan – would you mind sharing your child’s score?
    curious as I also have a rising 2nd grader

  • 1080. Wondering  |  May 21, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    @Maria… wow! A
    144 seems very high for a 1st grade spot. Shocked you didn’t get an earlier spot.

  • 1081. Maria  |  May 21, 2016 at 11:55 pm


    I kept the rest scores from kindergarten. Sorry the 144 was his kindergarten score. This year he scored a 127 for first and was offered the Coonley spot.

  • 1082. DL  |  May 22, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Curious to know if anyone received offers yesterday for SN or Decatur for 2nd grade? If so, would you pls post scores. Thanks!

  • 1083. Rdk  |  May 22, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Apologies if someone has asked/answered this question, but my kid was just offered a spot at a classical school to which we didn’t apply. He did not get offers to either of the two to which we did apply. Is that normal? Should I be concerned that there’s something wrong with the application?

  • 1084. Meghan  |  May 22, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    @1097 (Wondering) My son scored a 145 on the test. It appears 2nd grade spots are at a premium everywhere this year so I am grateful he has been offered one, but Beaubien was not our first choice and I am unfamiliar with it so we have a big decision to make.

  • 1085. cpsobsessed  |  May 22, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    @Rdk – that is odd to get a spot for a school where you didn’t apply. I would inquire with OAE (unless of course it’s working in your favor.. then perhaps take it.) But I’d want to confirm that your application was processed correctly.

  • 1086. DecisionsDecisions  |  May 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    @1051 CPScraziness – Our neighborhood school is Coonley.

  • 1087. Entering 4th  |  May 23, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Offer for Coonley on Saturday with score of 150

  • 1088. Beaubien info  |  May 23, 2016 at 5:59 am

    For the recent poster asking about Beaubien, much was already written about it above. That could be why no one is jumping in now. Good luck!

  • 1089. Kay77  |  May 23, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Hi all, I have a question after entry into a classical program. How often does it happen that the kids can’t keep up? I understand some kids prepare to clear the test. Has anyone heard of know of a situation where the kid is unable to stay at par with others and either has to leave the classical program or needs a lot of help from parents outside to keep at the pace of the classroom? Thanks for any insights.

  • 1090. left out?  |  May 23, 2016 at 10:08 am

    We have not heard anything re 3rd round offers. I’m taking it as a No (again). Boo. 134 RGC. tier 4. Only RGC’s on our list were NTA or Pritzker.

  • 1091. JRB  |  May 23, 2016 at 10:38 am

    for the 3rd round offers, when you do you have to respond by?

  • 1092. Maria  |  May 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Good morning,
    Offered Coonley in the 3rd round and the email states that we have until tomorrow 5pm. Got a robocall too.

  • 1093. Current Skinner Parent  |  May 23, 2016 at 11:11 am

    @Skinner North Questions – my SN kid isn’t in middle school yet but I have a few parent friends in the middle school program. Based on the conversations I’ve had with them regarding the upper-grades, I think the teachers are solid and collaborate well with the parents (e.g. open communication). The homework load is not too heavy – if you take a look at the Skinner website, you might be able to see some of the work they do.

    I have not heard of any bullying issues in the upper grades but do know the school/administration as a whole does an great job of nipping issues like this in the bud and when there is an issue will bring in both kids together to “talk things out” in a constructive manner. Skinner seems to take bullying (all forms of it) very seriously and just recently had a whole week of school focused on this issue. I will say that since the is a lot of diversity at the school (ethnically, economically, socio-emotionally), there seems to be a lot of tolerance among kids at the school from what I’ve seen.

    The is the first year the school has had a graduating 8th grade class – from what I hear, all but 2 kids are going to SEHS. The 2 who are not are going to private schools and were given generous scholarships to attend.

    One caveat is coming in at 7th may be a bit challenging for any kid as they will be coming into a class where many kids have been together since K. Our kid came in non-entry level but was able to adapt easily but I know others have struggled a bit.

    Finally, you may want to email Ethan (the principal) to see if someone can give you a quick tour of the school or if you can speak to one of the upper-grade teachers (either via face to face/phone/email). I think this could give you some good perspective on the school. It did for us when we were deciding whether or not to stay at our previous school and make the jump to Skinner. For us, it was a good choice and we were happy to have made the switch.

  • 1094. fingers crossed  |  May 23, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Round 4 late next week

  • 1095. Wish we could stay...  |  May 23, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Anyone know what the cutoff score for K at Edison and Coonley are so far?

  • 1096. DL  |  May 23, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    Curious to know if anyone knows cutoff score for Skinner North, Skinner West, and Decatur classical schools for 2nd grade myself. I called OAE and they said they cannot release this information — only high school (and I believe they said Academic Centers).

  • 1097. waiting  |  May 23, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    I know of a child who got into Skinner North with a 99/98 for 2nd grade in the 2nd round.

  • 1098. cpsobsessed  |  May 23, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    @1096 – it’s hard to discern the cutoffs for higher grades as it really just depends on how many seats open up and when and how many kids apply for upper grade spots. So it’s not really a cutoff per se. They just slowly work their way down the list of kids based on test scores (but often it’s just 1-2 kids who get an offer per school.)

    I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t know….

  • 1099. DecisionsDecisions  |  May 24, 2016 at 9:35 am

    Entering Kindergarten
    Tier 4
    RGC 135
    Reading 99.9, Math 95

    Offered Skinner North (2nd choice overall, 1st classical) in first round. Rejected seat.

    Offered Decatur (4th choice overall, 2nd classical) in second round. Rejected seat.

    Offered Skinner West (5th choice overall, 3rd classical) in third round. Rejected seat.

    Hope this helps one of you! Going to our neighborhood school.

  • 1100. rvparents  |  May 24, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    I just called the office and they said they do not have the staffing to tell anyone what # they are on a wait list or how many kids are in front of them or anything like that. I am surprised, though, because it seems like some of you know where your child is. How do you know this information? I keep seeing kids getting offers within a point of our scores, so maybe we are getting closer…

  • 1101. kk  |  May 24, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    @1100, not only you. I called the office and they did not tell me any information.

  • 1102. hopeful  |  May 24, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    @1101 I was told that you can only find your wait-list number if you have an existing offer to another SEES and want to weigh your options.

  • 1103. fingers crossed  |  May 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    They told me that they went up to 19 rounds last yr for some schools. yay?!

  • 1104. Parents  |  May 26, 2016 at 9:47 am

    I learned the kid get 3rd round from SN for 1st grade with 99/99.

  • 1105. NTA Qs  |  May 26, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Just a reminder to all: the classical “scores” that we are given are percentiles. OAE has the actual scores, and that’s what they use to rank the kids for the classical schools. So a 99 for one child may differ greatly from a 99 for another child.

  • 1106. otdad  |  May 26, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    @1096. DL:
    Curious to know if anyone knows cutoff score for Skinner North, Skinner West, and Decatur classical schools for 2nd grade myself.”
    2nd grade is not an entry year for those schools. Very few (if any)spots open. No need for a “cutoff score”.

  • 1107. person  |  May 27, 2016 at 7:50 am

    @1099 what is your n neighborhood school. Why even bother with the process if you rejected skinner north and decatur?

  • 1108. parent  |  May 27, 2016 at 8:07 am

    @1096. What exactly do you mean there is no need for a cutoff score? Can you explain? Thank you!

    “Curious to know if anyone knows cutoff score for Skinner North, Skinner West, and Decatur classical schools for 2nd grade myself.”
    2nd grade is not an entry year for those schools. Very few (if any)spots open. No need for a “cutoff score”.

  • 1109. DecisionsDecisions  |  May 27, 2016 at 10:57 am

    @1107 person – Our neighborhood school is Coonley. Our situation changed after we submitted our selections and logistically those schools now don’t work for us.

  • 1110. cpsobsessed  |  May 27, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Regarding “cutoff” scores for SEES – unlike the ACs or SEHS there isn’t a cut-off where you either get in or don’t. The number is constantly in flux as OAE works its way down the list. I *think* hypothetically if a family turns down a spot and then moves to the list for another school, the score they get in with could be higher than the current lowest score offered a spot — because of the ways the Options and Classical applications overlap.

    So it’s much more fluid and ever-changing than the high schools cut-offs are.

  • 1111. Kay W.  |  May 27, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Our daughter got into Skinner North for 1st grade! We accepted the spot, however, with some hesitation. Our main concern is that we live pretty far south (Beverly), are there any families from the south-side who carpool? I work close to NTA and my husband works at The University of Chicago if anyone lives by there? We love everything else about the school and we know it would be a good fit for her.

  • 1112. Edmom  |  May 27, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Kay, do you mind sharing your child’s score?

  • 1113. SN commute  |  May 28, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    @1111 Kay W:

    Usually SN disseminates a student/parent directory to families at some point during the year, in part to help facilitate carpooling. When you register (or once you have), you may want to check with Ethan to see if you could have a copy of the most recent directory to see if there is anyone who would be interested in carpooling. Good luck!

  • 1114. Meghan  |  May 29, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    We have accepted a seat at Beaubien for 2nd grade next year. We do not currently live in Chicago (moving this summer) and I am wondering if anyone knows of any before school care options in the area? Beaubien allows drop off at 7:30 but I am a teacher and that is too late for my morning schedule. Also, does anyone know how busing works for the options programs? The CPS website is really hard to navigate for a newbie! I realize these questions are slightly off topic so in order to avoid hijacking the thread, if you can help with answers, please email me IrishATC327@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!

  • 1115. WRP Mom  |  May 29, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    Meghan- Here is info on busing for options programs. http://cpsoae.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=72695&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=383524. Basically, you need to live over 1.5 miles from the school in order to qualify. Since you are moving to the city, you should contact the school as soon as possible once you know your Chicago address to get signed up for the bus, because it can take a little time to get your child in the system. The bus stop will be at another CPS school but CPS does not provide the time your child needs to be at the stop until shortly before school starts, which really makes it hard to plan.

  • 1116. Beaubien mom  |  May 31, 2016 at 11:51 am

    Meghan, it is likely that the bus will pick up at 7 or earlier. My child takes the bus to Beabien, and the last AM stop on his route is 7:05 am (even though the school is a mere 10-minute drive away). .

  • 1117. Edmom  |  June 3, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Any 4th round offers?

  • 1118. fingers crossed  |  June 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    none here–notifications via e-mail robo call went out yesterday.
    Tier 4 134 RGC

  • 1119. JRB  |  June 3, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Nothing here either…..Tier 4 RGC 134 hoping for NTA

  • 1120. fingers crossed  |  June 3, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    @JRB–for kinder? You are our competition. 😉 only RGC on our list were NTA and pritzker

  • 1121. JRB  |  June 3, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    @fingers crossed…oh no!! Yes, it’s for kindergarten. We were accepted to Carnegie but declined the seat with the hope that NTA contacted us. Good luck!!

  • 1122. curious  |  June 3, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I was kind of hoping that people would be posting their acceptances/scores for these later wait list rounds!! I believe that they don’t use tiers in these later rounds, so any info would be useful!

  • 1123. Wondering  |  June 3, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Has anyone gotten any offers today? Is this the day that they start round 4? Thanks everyone!

  • 1124. 2inarow  |  June 3, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    We were called after 5 pm yesterday for NTA for K, RGC 137. Tier 4. Have until Monday 5 pm to decide and not quite sure what to do as we accepted an offer to LaSalle. All I’ve seen are positive comments on NTA but they are from K and 1st – anyone with experience with the teachers above that level? Thank you!

  • 1125. CPS mom too  |  June 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    @1124 We’re in second grade RGC at NTA, so I don’t know about the middle/upper grades, but I can share that the second and third grade teacher this year are very strong. The gifted program is still young (it started with just K and 1st and expands a grade each year), but it’s our experience that the principal has made good hiring decisions. I haven’t had a ton of exposure to teachers beyond the primary grades, but the few I’ve met have been impressive. I find that it’s a very collaborative teaching environment, at least what you can see from the outside, and teachers are very supportive of each other. That’s a big positive for us.

  • 1126. 2inarow  |  June 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    CPS mom too, thank you very much for chiming in. We met the principal last year and I was impressed with his energy. We did not tour the school during classes though. We will be visiting during classes this Monday but then have only a few hours to decide.

    I have a few more questions for any NTA parents:
    I’ve heard the RGC classes are diverse and the principal makes a point of integrating neighborhood and RGC children which I think is a plus as I am under the impression that is not the case at all programs. Do you have the feeling that the classrooms all get along and that the children make friends both in the RGC and neighborhood programs?
    Have any of the specials programs been sacrificed due to recent budget cuts, and has the administration been very open with parents about the budget and planned future cuts? I sort of remember a piano program being in place but also remember being told it may not continue due to finances, and there being some issue with Spanish initially.

    I really appreciate your comments!

  • 1127. LotharOfTheHillPeople  |  June 4, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Entering 4th
    RGC 145
    Offered Coonley

    Anyone got feedback on Coonley?

  • 1128. CPSfirsttimer  |  June 4, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    We got a call from NTA last week for a K spot in the RGC. Score 139, tier 4. Going to decline and opting for the magnet school he was lucky enough to get a spot in.

  • 1129. cpsobsessed  |  June 5, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    @1127: Coonley has a very strong community, lots of family participation options, lots of fundraising for extra stuff, nice school grounds with lots of families who hang out after school. Homework has varied year by year depending on the teacher. Middle schoolers have their own part of the school and lockers, so it’s more like a middle school experience. School is very no-tolerance on bullying. Teachers are very involved in school activities.

    Anything in particular you’d like to know? I think overall it’s probably one of the best elem options in the city (among a lot of other very very good options.) *understanding that even among the best CPS elems, class sizes are big and budgets are being cut. :/

  • 1130. oydecisions  |  June 5, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    We are accepting a spot for one child at Coonley Options for 2nd grade, and are hoping that another child can get in for 1st grade. Anyone know what the cutoff has been for Coonley Options incoming 1st grade? Thanks!

  • 1131. Wondering  |  June 5, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    @oydecisions What score did your 1st grader get? At this point, I wonder how many, if any, 1st grade spots are left.

  • 1132. oydecisions  |  June 5, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    @Wondering, a 121 (got into a classical with much better classical scores, but logistics with transportation are key…)

  • 1133. Waiting...  |  June 5, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Does anyone know when the next (5th, I guess) round notifications will go out?

  • 1134. LotharOfTheHillPeople  |  June 6, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Thank you, cpsobsessed, for the info about Coonley. I have heard good things so far, so I was curious to know about any downsides/negatives. Also, how often do they have art and/or music? The CPS website also mentioned kids having drama on a regular basis, so I wondered about that as well.

  • 1135. Edmom  |  June 6, 2016 at 8:02 am

    @oyedecisions Would you mind sharing the score and school for your future 1st grader?

  • 1136. parent  |  June 6, 2016 at 8:49 am

    @1132, if you live near Coonley, your second kid is in the bus boundary for both Decatur and Skinner North (Decatur buses down to Fullerton; SN is Foster to Cermak). Not sure where he/she got in, but that might make doing 2 schools possible for you.

    121 sounds low for Coonley but you never know!

  • 1137. oydecisions  |  June 6, 2016 at 9:09 am

    @Edmom score 121. I don’t know where that falls because I remember that there is usually a drop between the K and 1st grade scores.

  • 1138. Edmom  |  June 6, 2016 at 9:21 am

    @oydecisions, I meant for your classical offer.

  • 1139. oydecisions  |  June 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

    @Edmom score 99/99

  • 1140. Always Waiting  |  June 6, 2016 at 9:47 am

    @oyedecisions Would you mind sharing your child’s score for Coonley second grade as well? Coonley options 1st grade is usually mid/high-120s, but can go low to low 120s by end of summer – if you check last years thread there is likely something in there about cut offs. And yes – huge drop off from K to 1st and then it tends to go back up.

  • 1141. Always Waiting  |  June 6, 2016 at 9:59 am

    Sorry, meant @oydecisions, not “oye”

  • 1142. Edmom  |  June 6, 2016 at 10:47 am

    @oydecisions Thanks! Do you mind sharing which round you received the offer? Sorry to be so annoying! With OAE not sharing how many unconfirmed kids are in front of my child, it is hard to know how likely an offer will be.

  • 1143. CPS mom too  |  June 6, 2016 at 10:54 am


    Glad you’re getting a chance to see the school. Yes, the RGC classes are diverse. There’s definitely an effort to integrate the neighborhood and RGC kids. They have lunch and recess together and maybe gym? I wouldn’t say the integration is perfect but there’s a real commitment to making it work. My kid does have a couple of friends outside of the RGC classrooms, although not as many as I would like.

    On budget cuts – we haven’t had any significant cuts to date. We did lose Music in 2014-15 and that year they added a extracurricular piano class; for ’15-16 Music was back and we don’t have piano, so that is a wash. As for next year, if the cuts that are on the table go through they’re going to be bad just about anywhere you go, so that’s just really hard to handicap. I have found the administration to be open to these discussions.

    Hope this is helpful!

  • 1144. oydecisions  |  June 6, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I don’t remember offhand what the score was, mid 130s maybe. I can get back to you this evening

  • 1145. Always Waiting  |  June 6, 2016 at 11:51 am

    @oydecisions – Thank you, that would be great!

  • 1146. cpsobsessed  |  June 6, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    @1134 – downsides for Coonley – #1 is lack of diversity. However, there is a good special needs program at the school and while classes are not integrated (that I know of) kids have a lot of interaction with a range of kids (which I think is good for everyone.)

    I don’t actually know how often drama/music/art happens. I know this is hard to believe but by the time your kid is in middle school you stop paying attention. lol. The drama program is GREAT and they put on shows that allow for a lot of kids to participate. That is a great plus and the kids really love it. I think drama and music maybe rotate through the year.

    Other downside, I personally think there is too much work-sheety learning (yes, interesting projects are thrown in, and perhaps this is a CPS-wide thing) but there is the same d*mn grammer workbooks every single year, same with some other subjects.

    Overall, the pros far outweigh any cons. I’d say you can’t go wrong (again unless diversity is highly important in your choice.) *The school is certainly inclusive and welcoming to anyone who attends, but demos and location have limited this.

  • 1147. carson  |  June 6, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Collective thoughts on accepting for first grade at Norwood Park elem. vs. a ‘comprehensive gifted’ spot at our neighborhood school? Pros for Norwood are that it is smaller overall and has pretty good PARCC test scores. Pro for the neighborhood school is that it is a ‘known’ but no testing data is available specifically for the comprehensive gifted students. How would I go about finding that? (xposting to gifted thread)

  • 1148. cpsobsessed  |  June 6, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    @117 – I have never seen data ever broken out for neighborhood schools by sub-programs (such as options or comprehensive gifted, unfortunately.) I think the only ones who could tell you that are the school and they are unlikely to do so.
    If the school as a whole has good scores, statistically, a comprehensive program will have higher scores than the school average by nature of them selecting certain kids for the program.

  • 1149. oydecisions  |  June 6, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    @alwayswaiting 2nd grade acceptance 136.

  • 1150. 2inarow  |  June 6, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    Declined NTA offer for K tonight. We were lucky to even have two great options but will be sticking with the magnet we had accepted.

  • 1151. 2inarow  |  June 6, 2016 at 8:27 pm

    CPS mom too, somehow I missed your response to my earlier questions until just now. I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond. Learned a lot from these boards about CPS and how it works. Thank you.

  • 1152. oydecisions  |  June 6, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    @ Edmom,
    I thought I replied earlier but it doesn’t look like it. I don’t know which round it was- just a call and email on thursday evening, with response required by today 5pm.

  • 1153. Always Waiting  |  June 7, 2016 at 9:35 am

    @oydecisions – thanks for your reply!

  • 1154. wondering  |  June 7, 2016 at 11:14 am

    @oyedecisions – thanks for sharing! What school was your child accepted to? What was the classical score for 1st grade? Thanks!

  • 1155. oydecisions  |  June 7, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    1st grade scores 99/99 into Decatur
    2nd grade 136 into Coonley
    Hoping the 1st grader’s 121 helps with Coonley to keep the 2 at the same school but not expecting much…

  • 1156. Kinder  |  June 7, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Has anyone heard regarding offers from Pritzker’s RGC in these later rounds? I’m wondering about what score numbers they are calling at. thx

  • 1157. irving  |  June 7, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Anyone have any idea when the next round will begin? Does this usually last through the summer? Any spots for 1st at Bell or Coonley?

  • 1158. JRB  |  June 8, 2016 at 11:07 am

    SEES website says 5th round will be done no later than June 17th

  • 1159. The Bus  |  June 8, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    We were just told that the bus (to take my 1st grader to the classical school) will come to a “local” school 1.2 miles away from us. Isn’t that a long way away? The bus isn’t going to come to our neighborhood school which is what I expected. Why? Anyone else experience this?

  • 1160. SN parent  |  June 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    @The Bus
    Last year CPS consolidated the bus stops and thus many stops were moved to schools that were father away for some people. For K my daughter was picked up at our neighborhood school 1 block away, but last year for 1st grade they moved her stop to a school a bit further away. We have been lucky because we happen to have a bunch of schools within walking distance but many families were stuck with stops that they have to drive to. It’s a major bummer but still prob better than driving to the actual school depending on your situation.

  • 1161. LSmom  |  June 8, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    @1159, last year they consolidated bus stops, so many schools are no longer available as dropoff/pickup sites. They said it was to save money, I’m just hoping they continue to offer bus service in some form.

  • 1162. oydecisions  |  June 8, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    did you get in anywhere? my child got a 121 rgc, and was accepted to a classical school with their scores for 1st grade, but would prefer Coonley. Not sure if we should have turned down classical to be put back into the pool for Coonley…

  • 1163. oydecisions  |  June 8, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    can someone please explain this to me- can you be accepted to more than one testing school (ie classical and SEES)? and if you accept a classical spot, does that mean that you are no longer on the wait list for a SEES school? I don’t recall putting everything in one comprehensive list, but rather a classical rank list and a SEES rank list. Which takes priority? Thanks!

  • 1164. cpsobsessed  |  June 9, 2016 at 8:38 am

    @oydecisions: Correct, you can only accept on testing school and they you are off all the lists. They are combined in the system. Priority is given to whichever one is higher on your list and your child scores into. So even if you have 3 classical schools ranked higher than the RGC schools, if you child scored well on RGC but not classical, the system will flag you when you child scores into the highest school on your list. If you accept, they don’t contact you again. If you turn it down, the system will keep matching until the next spot opens.

  • 1165. parent  |  June 9, 2016 at 9:05 am

    1163, Did you accept your spot at Decatur? If so, you will not get a call from Coonley. You have to decline your spot at Decatur to get an other offers, from Classical or RGC.

  • 1166. RGClist  |  June 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    @parent I am waiting for a spot for Coonley 1st grade. Son’s scores for classical were low but RG was 123. No call yet but I’m still hoping for something in late summer. Can anyone give me any heads up on latest acceptance numbers? Thanks.

  • 1167. Miss Anthrope  |  June 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Just received a phone call and email from CPS OAE allowing us to apply for SEES that were not on our initial application.


    Good afternoon:

    This is an important message from the Chicago Public Schools Office of Access and Enrollment. According to our records, your child XXXXXXXXXX received a score on the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools exam(s) that is eligible for consideration for at least one of our Selective Enrollment schools. Specific grades at designated schools still have seats available, and we are inviting you to submit a supplemental application for these schools if you are interested in having your child considered for the 2016-2017 school year.

    Attached please find the supplemental application. Please review the application carefully and only choose schools that list the grade level to which your child is applying, and programs for which your child is eligible. Please do not apply to schools that you already have entered on your original application, as that will not have an impact on selections.”

    The letter then goes into more detail about exactly what you have to do if you’d like to submit an application. The regular minimums apply – your child must have scored 115 or higher to apply for an RGC and 80R 80M to apply for a Classical.

    The schools that still have openings are:

    Beasley RGC – grades 1-4
    Beaubien RGC – grade 1
    Carnegie RGC – grades K-4
    Keller RGC – grade 1
    Lenart RGC – grade 1
    NTA RGC – grades 3&4
    McDade Classical – grades K&4
    Poe Classical – grades K&4

  • 1168. Maria  |  June 10, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I was just about to post the exact same thing. I got the call and email too.

  • 1169. Maria  |  June 10, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    Good evening,

    I have a kindergartener (for one more week) at Chappell. We love it! We took the classical and RGC test along with applying to magnets. Offered Beaubien and Coonley RGC (regional gifted centers) but declined. Very happy with what he is learning at Chappell. Love the fact that the class size stayed at 26 the whole year. If you have been offered Chappell, I would seriously consider. They also have before and after care. Can’t say enough positive things about Chappell. It’s not a huge school 560 students, but they have a big campus which can easily fit a few more classes. Level 1+ rating.

  • 1170. gamutgal68  |  June 10, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    I also received the phone call/email about the SEES supplemental application. It states that even if you apply to some of the schools offered, those schools won’t supersede your first preferences on the original application.

    Does the opportunity for a supplemental application arise because these schools still have spots to fill or are they offering the supplemental application, because the foresee spots still being available when the school year starts?

    Does this happen every year?

  • 1171. LSmom  |  June 11, 2016 at 8:22 am

    @1170, it’s happened at least for the last few years. There are more potential K spots available this year though, this was the list from last year:
    Beasley 1-4
    Beaubien 1
    Carnegie k-4
    Keller 1
    Lennart 1
    Nta 1-3
    Mcdade 4
    Poe 3-4

  • 1172. waiting  |  June 11, 2016 at 9:05 am

    Maria, what made you decline Beaubien RGC? We’re thinking of applying for our child.

    Also, if I remember correctly, our child do well on the Classical test. If so, were you able to find out their ranking at either of the Skinners?

  • 1173. Maria  |  June 11, 2016 at 9:38 am


    Gave Beaubien a chance, went to the open house for accepted students. When I researched online it looked okay. But they have over 1000 kids, 2 buildings and from what I understand, 1 security guard. Excellent scores, nice neighborhood, they have no “friends of” group, when the principal was speaking she was talking about how ” kids will be kids”, that rubbed me the wrong way.

  • 1174. Waiting  |  June 11, 2016 at 9:44 am

    Thanks Maria! I meant to say “your”
    Child, not “our”.

  • 1175. Beaubien Parent  |  June 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    @waiting. Just to clarify and by no means to be disrespectful to anyone who makes other choices for their kid. We all know what works best for our family and our children. But, Beaubien actually only has one building. It does have an attached annex where the 1st and 2nd grade kids classrooms are located. We don’t have a “Friends of”. We do have a PTO that works hard raising money and supporting teachers. I never hear about security issues. Not sure why we would need more security guards. Yes, it is a big school. That is not a great fit for everyone. We started at a much smaller K. The larger school was a huge advantage because of all the added resources that came with it. If you are interested in Beaubien, come see all the great things going on there!

  • 1176. momof2nwside  |  June 12, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Just adding another shout out for Beaubien. We have had 2 kids in the options program at Beaubien (one completeing junior year at Northside, one entering Northside as a freshman). In particular- the math teacher/ program was transformational for my kids. We had a great experience there. The principal (Ms. Ludford) has done great things, and there is an active parent community. It is a big school- but it always felt like that brought more opportunities. A hidden gem on the NW side.

  • 1177. unsure  |  June 13, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    We also got the robo call/e-mail. Not sure if we will turn in the application. The only option for K is Carnegie. It wouldn’t be overly burdensome yet not convenient location wise. I have seen limited feedback here about the school. The part about the RGC kids being separated doesn’t personally bother me. Anyone have any other feedback about the RGC teachers, the program? I know our luck in that we would probably get an offer there before our other RGC top choices. I know the letter says that the rankings of your original choices remains but I don’t trust that.

  • 1178. abcmom  |  June 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Got a call from NTA for K RGC Tier 4 score 137, we are declining

  • 1179. JRB  |  June 14, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    Just got a call for Lenart Tier 4 RGC 134. Was really hoping it was NTA. I think we’ll be declining the offer and hope that we get a call for NTA.

  • 1180. JRB  |  June 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Sorry forgot to mention the offer was for K

  • 1181. Suzanne  |  June 14, 2016 at 8:26 pm

    Lenart is a great school , you should reconsider. KG teacher is awesome.

  • 1182. cpsmom32  |  June 14, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Hi everyone. My daughter was just offered a K spot at Decatur today…however, she was offered a spot at Inter-American and I registered her there already. I would like to switch to Decatur, but I have no clue what I should do. I emailed OAE, and still waiting for a reply. Thank you!

  • 1183. JRB  |  June 15, 2016 at 9:07 am

    @1181 Suzanne, The problem is that Lenart is not near our home. If we lived closer out decision would probably be different.

  • 1184. parent  |  June 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

    1182, Call Decatur and accept your spot. Call Inter-American and decline your spot. Then go over to Decatur and register your child.

  • 1185. cpsmom32  |  June 15, 2016 at 11:09 am

    @1182…It’s not just a simple declining of spot at I-A. I already registered her. So, is it really that simple?

  • 1186. cpsmom32  |  June 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Sorry, @1184.

  • 1187. Albany Parker  |  June 15, 2016 at 11:28 am

    cpsmom82 – Go ahead and register your child at Decatur; bring the same paperwork and anything else Decatur needs for registration. Let Decatur know that you’ve already registered at another school; they will either give you a document to take to Inter-American (or they’ll tell you to take a copy of your acceptance to Decatur) so that IA can “project” your child’s record to Decatur.

    You might also want to check with Decatur in a week or two to verify that IA has done the transfer work on their end.

  • 1188. Albany Parker  |  June 15, 2016 at 11:28 am

    I meant cpsmom32 – sorry about that.

  • 1189. Suzanne  |  June 15, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Ok well I do understand, there is also a school bus option but good luck with NTA, another good school .

  • 1190. Lena  |  June 15, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    What time does Edison start in the morning?

  • 1191. 60638mommy  |  June 16, 2016 at 10:38 am

    I can’t believe I just found this blog!!! I’m a little late to the game, so I apologize. Any parents out there from Clearing/Garfield Ridge who have children at Lenart? We accepted a spot back in April for Kidnergarten and wondering about busing from the neighborhood

  • 1192. deep breathes  |  June 16, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    If you are out there reading this, thank you to the helpful CPS staff member who answered my questions today about the RGC process. We are still in the same boat with no offers, but your encouraging words helped. 🙂 I’m pretty sure offers for this week have ended. Offers again next week.

  • 1193. @1191 from Lenart Parent  |  June 16, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    I know there are families from the Clearing area at Lenart. If you’d like to be connected with a family in your neighborhood, the Lenart Parent Group (LPCG) will put you in touch with someone. You can call the school office and they can help you with that. I know of one child in the current K class and also one in 3rd, although I’m sure there are others in your area.

  • 1194. 60638mommy  |  June 17, 2016 at 9:23 am

    @1193 thank you so much!!! I will call the school and ask for that information

  • 1195. rvparents  |  June 22, 2016 at 8:24 am

    Has anyone figured out how low the Coonley scores are this year? Does a 148 Tier 4 have a chance? For K.

  • 1196. 60660  |  June 22, 2016 at 10:38 am

    Edison’s schoolday was 7:45 to. 2:45 this year. When it has changed in the past it was due to CPS pressure to start earlier.

    I would have thought 148 was good enough for a 1st round K spot at Coonley or any other school?
    Did you decide you didn’t want another offer?
    Tier only counts for the first 3 rounds so that score should be near the head of the line now if / when spots open up.

  • 1197. parent  |  June 22, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    @1195, So far, the lowest score posted for Coonley, tier 4, is 150 (which was in May). I believe they usually get to 148 for Coonley some time in the summer, but every year is a little different. You definitely have a shot!

  • 1198. RGClist  |  June 22, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Does anyone know what the lowest score posted for Bell – 1st grade – was? I have heard no movement so I’m assuming they are full?!?!?!

  • 1199. C. Latrice  |  June 23, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Good news this year for upcoming participants, you can have your child test in November and receive your results guaranteed by December the cutoff date to which you have to select your schools. This is great news for us because now we can see how well our child scored and apply according. YEah!

  • 1200. 60660  |  June 25, 2016 at 7:45 am

    I’m wondering whether something has changed that drove the k tier 4 cutoff up to 150?
    Any theories? Are parents widely using test prep services now?
    I wasn’t aware of test prep services when my rising 6th grader was entering K (and his 148 was a strong score).

  • 1201. LSmom  |  June 25, 2016 at 9:02 am

    @1200, one factor is that Coonley has skyrocketed in popularity — there were first round offers for Edison at 147 in Tier 4.

  • 1202. newtocps  |  June 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    We live less than six miles (according to Google Maps) away from the RGC my child was accepted to but were not offered busing. Has anyone had experience with contesting the boundaries to have bus services offered to their child?

  • 1203. parent  |  June 27, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    Each RGC has different busing boundaries. The 6 miles only applies to magnets. Are you in the busing boundaries for your school? Which school is it?

    The OAE website offers this information:

    Regional Gifted Centers: Students must live more than 1.5 miles from the school in order to receive transportation service to Regional Gifted Centers. In addition, for the following Regional Gifted Centers, student must live at least 1.5 miles from the school and within the identified transportation ranges: Carnegie: 3900 South and 7500 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the city limits; Coonley: 900 North and the North city limits, from Lake Shore Drive to the West city limits; National Teachers Academy: 500 South and 5900 South, from Lake Shore Drive to Cicero; and South Loop: 900 North and 3900 South, from Lake Shore Drive to the city limits.

  • 1204. 2017 Mama  |  July 2, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    If you purchase a home but do not move in until after September due to repairs, do you use your current address or your new home address when you apply? There would be a tier change.

  • 1205. cpsobsessed  |  July 3, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    The application process doesn’t start until ~October 1, so you can use that. You should use the address you’ll be living at next spring when you need to register for a school if it’s not your neighborhood school.

  • 1206. Angela  |  July 14, 2016 at 10:39 am

    I just received a call that Decatur is offering us a spot for 6th grade. On the fence about it. We turned it down for 1st grade as he was at Disney and in the gifted class already. Does anyone know what percentage of Decatur students get placed in Academic Center High Schools for 7th grade?

  • 1207. praiacv  |  July 15, 2016 at 11:48 am

    offer NTA for K
    score 135
    tier 4 (doesn’t matter at this point?)

    now everyone knows around where they are at

  • 1208. westrogersparkmom  |  July 15, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    @Angela- Since Decatur only goes up to 6th grade I would decline. AC admissions are based on 5th grade grades and MAP tests anyway.

  • 1209. Q's  |  July 17, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    @praiacv: When did you hear from NTA and how? I’m just wondering if this was recent. Thx!

  • 1210. praiacv  |  July 18, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    @1209 Q’s

    yes, recent, via phone call.
    offered last week wednesday 7/13 i think, need to respond by tuesday 7/19

  • 1211. hopeful  |  July 26, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    Are there any NTA familes that commute from the northside? Just curious if others are making the commute.

  • 1212. NTA Mom  |  July 27, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    We live in Lakeview and make the commute on the red line. Works great! I work just a few blocks from NTA so it’s very convenient for me, but even if I was working downtown I think it would be quite doable.

  • 1213. momto2  |  July 29, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Does anyone know about private transportation options for Skinner West from Hydepark.

  • 1214. CPS mom too  |  July 29, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    @1211 We’re going into our fourth year at NTA, commuting from Andersonville. My husband and I both work in the loop, so it’s nice to have the kids so close during the day. I can get there in 10-15 minutes from work for parent/teacher conferences, presentations, sick kid pickup, etc. Lake Shore Drive is ok in the mornings; we use the Red Line as backup when it snows or if there’s some other reason we don’t want to drive. It works…

  • 1215. hopeful  |  July 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

    @1214 How has your experience at NTA been? Thanks for sharing!

  • 1216. ccm  |  July 30, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Received offer 5:30 p.m. yesterday for NTA RGC
    Tier 4
    Will be declining

  • 1217. CPS mom too  |  July 31, 2016 at 11:21 am

    @1215 We’ve had a great experience. We’ve got two kids in the RGC, one going into 1st and one going into 3rd and they’re both very happy there. There’s a lot more earlier in this thread (search for NTA) about the curriculum (a nice mix of specials, including art, music and swim 1x week). Let me know if you have any more specific questions. Good luck with your decision!

  • 1218. SS Mom  |  August 10, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    Hi, I heard that the selective enrollment schools increase to 32 students per class at 4th grade. Does anyone know if that’s true? Trying to determine the best time to have an older child take the test.

  • 1219. Coonley Differentiation?  |  August 10, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Hello all,

    I know this is a long shot, but we got an unexpected offer for Coonley yesterday. I’ve been trying to reach them all day, but no one has answered the phone (or returned my call). Can anyone here speak to the level of differentiation for math in the Options program? What do they do with kids who are 4-5 years ahead?

    Thanks for any insight!

  • 1220. Math guy  |  August 11, 2016 at 9:43 am

    Does anyone have a kid who started a RGC in first grade NOT knowing how to read? I’m getting nervous for the start of school and the expectations on first graders. My son has no interest in reading and only knows a few sight words. Thanks!

  • 1221. llmm  |  August 11, 2016 at 10:02 am

    1220. Are you going to a RGC that starts at 1st grade? A few years ago, there were a few kids in my daughter’s class at Bell who were just beginning to read. I think that is expected. The 1st grade teacher there is basically a miracle worker, and I think all the kids were fluent readers by Christmas, definitely by the end of the year. At least at Bell, the teacher was not pushy or shaming, but she does have very high standards and really motivates the kids to go above and beyond and love learning!

  • 1222. IG  |  August 11, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Robot called to offer Nta 2nd t3 138rgc. This was our first choice in sees. We declined skinner north in r1.

  • 1223. NEWTOCPS  |  August 11, 2016 at 11:31 am

    Received a late offer to Keller, 1st Grade. This was completely unexpected and once we received the original letter (Early April) it showed no indication that it would ever be an option. We are new to CPS as a whole and had accepted an offer at Galileo (daughter will be attending as a 1st time CPS 3rd grader). Please provide any insight on Keller, we do not have any references in this school other than what I have internet researched.
    Thank you in advance

  • 1224. math guy  |  August 11, 2016 at 11:43 am

    @llmm: BLESS you for your response. Yes, he’s starting at Bell. You alleviated so much of my anxiety, I can’t thank you enough!!!

  • 1225. anon  |  August 11, 2016 at 11:53 am

    Entering 1st
    RGC 124
    Offered Coonley, have declined.

    (Offer made on August 9th around 5pm; was given deadline of 5pm on August 11th.)

  • 1226. Kev  |  August 11, 2016 at 11:56 am

    What was the RGC score for the late Keller 1st offer?

  • 1227. NEWTOCPS  |  August 11, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    I will have to check my paperwork, I honestly do not remember.

  • 1228. llmm  |  August 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    1224 Welcome to Bell! I hope you love it and much as our family does!

  • 1229. K2016  |  August 11, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Robo called on Tuesday for NTA gifted kinder score 134. A tough decision but declining.

  • 1230. Math guy  |  August 11, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Thanks, llmm!

  • 1231. rvparents  |  August 12, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    @1219 What grade and score was your Coonley offer?

  • 1232. PC  |  August 15, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    @1222, are you accepting the NTA offer?

  • 1233. ZJ  |  August 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    Today (Aug 16) CPS called and emailed about Keller offer. Entering 2nd grade and going to decline

  • 1234. Nervous Mom  |  August 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Just got a call from Beaubien that my son got into 3rd grade selective enrollment. He’s been going to their regular program for 2 years now. Should I be concerned that he won’t be able to keep up with kids that have been in selective enrollment the past 2 years?

  • 1235. 60660  |  August 16, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    I think it’s something to keep an eye on but not to stress about?
    Many kids start in 3rd Grade and while the academic transition is harder for some than others the social transition is often more difficult. Your son will have the advantage of staying in his familiar environment,
    Two of our kids started at RGC in non-entry grades and it went well for both of them, Keep in touch with the teacher and ignore grades / test scores.

  • 1236. cpsobsessed  |  August 16, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    The rgc teachers are used to kids transferring in at that grade. I think it’ll be fine.

  • 1237. Cant Decide  |  August 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Need help do anyone know about Carnegie RGC program or the school itself.

  • 1238. LSmom  |  August 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    @1237, there’s a bit of Carnegie discussion on the south side thread — https://cpsobsessed.com/2014/03/26/south-side-schools-thread-guest-post-by-maureen-kelleher/

  • 1239. albany park dad  |  August 19, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Does anyone commute and/or carpool from Albany park to Skinner West? If so: how horrifying is the commute, and would you consider an additional rider/driver? Got the call from Skinner West for 2nd grade…

  • 1240. NEWSkinnerNorh  |  August 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    My child will b going to Skinner North this year and we are using CPS bus, which will pick and drop her @Ogden. Does anyone who had the same route before have an estimate about the pick up timing in the morning@Ogden and drop off in the afternoon @ Ogden?


  • 1241. HydeParkMom  |  August 23, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Has anyone received an offer for NTA kindergarten in the last few weeks? If so, what is your child’s score and did you accept? Just wondering if my waitlisted child is close to receiving an offer. Thanks!

  • 1242. New at Bell  |  August 23, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Bell Options just reported new teachers for 4th and 6th grades. I know some of the teachers are adored and some have had mixed reviews (not sure which grades). FWIW this is the current status.

  • 1243. SkinnerWinfo  |  August 23, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    We just received an offer for Skinner West classical kindergarten. We went to the open house in the spring and learned they were cutting back the classical program. Does anyone know if the new expansion plans change this plan? Also, does anyone know who the classical kindergarten teacher(s) is/are? Or if anyone would like to share their experiences there, I would appreciate any information.

  • 1244. MP  |  August 23, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    I was very dissapoinnted by the teacher that teaches in charge of classical classroom at Skinner West. The offsite building is also very bad. I was so repulsed by her comments during open house that I did not even consider this school. Previously I thought that it would be my second choice due to proximity to my home. I would advise you against sending your kid there if your kid is advanced academically.

  • 1245. ProudMom  |  August 23, 2016 at 11:24 pm

    Just got email that son got seat at skinner north for K. Any thoughts on the school? We are always scheduled to start at a private school beginning Monday. Thank you!

  • 1246. MurrayMom  |  August 24, 2016 at 9:12 am

    @HydeParkMom what is your child’s score? There is some movement in 2nd grade. I’m guessing they made some calls yesterday.

  • 1247. Waiting  |  August 24, 2016 at 9:23 am

    @1245 ProudMom: Would you mind sharing your child’s scores? My friends are hoping to get a call from SN.

  • 1248. SW curious  |  August 24, 2016 at 9:28 am

    @1244 MP: Give us more details please. What comments did she give you? What are their names? What offsite building? Is it the building for the preschool kids? They were named #1 Chicago Public School. How can it be that bad?

  • 1249. MP  |  August 24, 2016 at 9:57 am

    Hi SW curious:
    I toured couple of classical and gifted schools last fall thinking that Skinner North and Skinner West would be the top and probably only choices due to the proximity to our home, however I was really surprised to see such different attitudes of kindergarten teachers from SN and SW.
    These were some of the questions asked by parents at the open house: How do you handle children who are academically very advanced? SW K Teacher: We are already teaching at the 1 grade above so students get 1 grade above homework. Basically they will not go our of their way to appropriately challenge students that are more advanced. SN K Teacher: Before the school starts we meet the students to assess where they stand with reading, match etc and than we pull them into smaller groups to work together on the level that is appropriate. Same goes for homework assignments. While teachers at SN make sure that there are no gaps in child’s knowledge they will also appropriately challenge them to prevent kids being bored in the classroom.
    On completely opposite spectrum another parent asked: How strict are you with penship and writing? SW K Teacher: Trust me before they are done with kindergarten they better all have perfect handwriting. SN K Teacher: All of my kids are different, some do not quite know how to hold pen others have better handwriting than I do. All I care is that kids are doing their best and results will follow. Such drastic differences in response for two questions on opposite spectrum. While this questions seem simple it tells me that teachers at SN care to challenge kids appropriately academically which is what really matter to me and do not care about technicalities like SW teachers do.
    On the separate note SW principal was very vague describing location for Kindergarten classrooms. Only when me and several other parents started to insist to see the site they gave in. Yes it is same location where pre-K students are. It is not so much that I was repulsed by the look of the building (SN is definitely far from fancy to say the least 🙂 but I was more repulsed by the feel of it when I heard classical K teacher interact with parents who toured and when I observed other 2 or 3 regular classroom K teachers. For example one of the regular K teachers (a man) spend good 20 minutes while we were touring trying just to get kids to form a line and his attitude and demeanor towards the kids were very repulsive.
    However I have to say that every kid and family situation is unique I was particularly disappointment with SW because I do have child who is twice exceptional and while he is very advanced academically did not even hold pen at the time of the open house so these answers struck me very personally. For other families who do not have these concerns SW may be a great choice especially considering that it also has neighborhood program as a back up for other siblings.Please feel free to reach our with more questions.

  • 1250. SWparent  |  August 24, 2016 at 10:02 am

    Sigh, so much misinformation. First off, the Classical kindergarten teacher for Skinner West this year is Ms. Thiel, she is new to SW. Secondly, the Classical kindergarten class is in the main building; the only classes held in the branch this year are neighborhood kindergarten and neighborhood first grade. Finally, not for nothing, but last year’s Classical kindergarten teacher is one of the most popular teachers at SW. Dozens of parents – in a variety of grades – have been advocating and angling all summer to have her teach their children this upcoming year.

    Skinner West is certainly not for every child, but most parents and children find it to be an amazing school.

  • 1251. Skinner North Mom  |  August 24, 2016 at 11:11 am

    @1245. I would say: “grab onto a SN K seat with both hands, you lucky mom!” Get over there and take a tour and talk with the principal or assistant principal right away.

    My child has been at SN for the past six years, starting in K. The K teachers are incredible, by the way! So warm and smart–they have seen it all, yet manage to treat your child like they’re special. The kids have fun and learn a lot!

    We LOVE it. Such a warm community, with great staff and administration who communicate early and often. Children are allowed to be unique individuals yet are still reminded that they are part of a greater community with its own norms and rules (that the students help make). The Responsive Classroom philosophy really works and is a part of the culture there.

    Just walking into this quirky and warm building puts a smile on my face! Happy kids, happy adults. Parents are encouraged to participate in every way imaginable, bringing their time and talents to what suits them best.

    If SN is not a good fit for your child, you can always go back to the private option, right?

  • 1252. HydeParkMom  |  August 24, 2016 at 11:17 am

    @MurrayMom – my child’s score is 130. Not super but made the official CPS “cut off” @1229’s post mentioned a score of 134 which got on offer 8/9. It’s a 4 point difference but no idea how many kids fall between those two scores.

  • 1253. StickingWithPrivateSchool  |  August 24, 2016 at 11:27 am

    We just let go of a spot at Beaubien for 2nd grade. Unfortunately we couldn’t manage the before school situation due to my work schedule and Beuabien not having a before care program. Hopefully this helps one of you looking for a spot!

  • 1254. WesLooMom  |  August 24, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Re SW…just one correction to @1250 post…Ms. Thiel is new, but this is her second year. Last year, she taught neighborhood 2nd grade.

    @1248, SW curious – I’m not sure what “cutting back the classical program” means. Cutting back to what? The program was decreased in size about 2 years ago. That’s why there’s only one classical K classroom.

  • 1255. al  |  August 25, 2016 at 6:23 am

    We thought they might be cutting back the classical program entirely in the same way that CPS phased out the gifted program at South Loop due to overcrowding.

    Thank you to everyone who has been posting info on this topic. It’s really helpful. We began K at private yesterday and have to decide on Skinner West by this afternoon so pressure is on!

  • 1256. anon  |  August 26, 2016 at 11:14 am

    @1231 rvparents: See post 1225 regarding grade and score for Coonley. =)

  • 1257. MurrayMom  |  August 28, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    @HydeParkMom…I would recommend calling OAE. They have been nice in giving your status on the list.

  • 1258. Kenwood Parent  |  August 31, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    @SkinnerWinfo Our son was accepted into the classical Kindergarten at Skinner West, and we were also present at last spring’s tour. My experience was quite different from MP’s. We toured both the main campus and the pre-K/Kindergarten annex, and I thought both locations were suitable for learning. Ms. Growe explained to my husband and I that she does indeed group kids according to knowledge level. The annex building is fine, and may be suitable for parents wishing to have the small ones separated from the older kids (my son is on the smaller side, so I actually saw this as a positive for Kindergarten). I can’t imagined being so spoiled as to call the annex “bad,” as it simply functions as a structure for learning. Of course this is all moot, because we received a letter stating that Ms. Thiel is the K teacher and the classical room will be located at the main building. I believe that the neighborhood kindergarten will still be held at the annex. I’m not sure why the classroom location for the classical K was moved back to the main campus (did parents complain?), but I will admit I was a little disappointed. At any rate, hope to see you kindergarten parents tomorrow at orientation!

  • 1259. NTA 2nd Grade  |  August 31, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    Having a tough decision here for my girl entering 2nd grade. She goes to our neighborhood school, SW, which is a block away and loves it. Somehow we received a call today from NTA for an offer. One of our neighbors does go to NTA and is very positive about the school. Class size is 25-28 while SW is 35 in the neighborhood program. Should we accept? I have never toured NTA but have heard positive reviews. Thanks.

  • 1260. rorakay  |  September 1, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Anyone dealing with super-long bus rides this year? We live in Albany Park and are heading to Pritzker, and we have been told we have to catch his bus 1 hour and 45 to 1 hour and 55 minutes before school starts! Is this normal? Apparently his bus route serves 2 schools, but I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Maybe it’s because I’m starting my Kindergartener in full-time school for the first time, but I can’t imagine him spending 3.5 hours on the bus a day along with a 7 hour school day. Suggestions welcome!

  • 1261. Near South Sider  |  September 1, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    @NTA 2nd Grade

    NTA is having our Familypalooza tomorrow (Friday) from 12:30-3:30. It’s a great opportunity to meet the teachers, walk around the school, see the classrooms, meet the staff and the community partners, and get a feel of the school. Visiting the school would definitely give you a sense of whether or not NTA is a fit for your family. Hope you can make it!

  • 1262. harry potter  |  September 1, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    @1260 There used to be rules in CPS about how long a child could be on a bus. I want to say no longer than 45-60 minutes, but you’d have to look into it to be sure. That may have changed with cuts to bus services. The first 1-2 weeks are always pretty hard, with rides up to 2 hours long in some cases. But then it gets better. Ask for the bus company phone number. Whatever you’d do, I recommend arranging for other transportation the first few weeks until bus service figures it all out.

  • 1263. cpsobsessed  |  September 1, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    @1260 – from what I’ve seen at my son’s school (we haven’t used the bus) it’s ideal to get with the other bus families, work with the bus company to find any efficiencies in the routes, and if the route is still that long try to make a case for excessive travel time.
    They seem to usually start out very very long and as Harry Potter said, shorten up after they are worked out in a few weeks.
    Hopefully the existing bus parents have some experience with this.

    As I said, I never used the bus but I saw all the emails as they worked through it and it was very painful but eventually worked out.

  • 1264. rorakay  |  September 2, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Thanks 1262 and 1263!

  • 1265. Jen K  |  September 2, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Last year my daughter was picked up 90 minutes before the start of school, and there were already several kids on the bus. They were dropped at school 30-45 minutes before school started so the bus could start the second route of the morning.

  • 1266. 1MoreSouthSider  |  September 3, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    @NTA 2nd Grade

    We’d love to have you! I have an incoming 2nd grader and we have a fantastic group of students and equally amazing parents! We had a couple of families move outside of Chicago this summer, so now have a couple of open spots.

  • 1267. PC  |  September 4, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    @NTA 2nd Grade, what was your daughter’s score?

  • 1268. Kimberly  |  September 5, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    @1245 waiting Sorry for delay. We declined our Skinner North seat. I hope your friend’s child was able to get in. Score was 99/96

  • 1269. anon  |  September 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Was made an offer of Bell for 1st grade around 3pm today and was given until 12noon tomorrow to make a decision. Have declined.

    Entering 1st
    RGC 124
    Offered Bell, have declined.
    (Offer made on September 7 around 3pm; was given deadline of 12noon on September 8.)

  • 1270. Hydeparkmom2  |  September 8, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Declined this morning a spot for K at NTA. I can’t remember my kid’s score now, I think it was either 133 or 135.

  • 1271. manor mom  |  September 9, 2016 at 10:59 pm

    Got an offer today from Decatur for our 3rd grader–huge surprise for us! She has been at her neighborhood school (Waters) since kindergarten and done very well there. Not sure if we should accept mostly because we aren’t sure she has the temperament for the Classical curriculum. We are also afraid to stay at Waters because of low AC and SEHS rates. Anybody have thoughts on this? We know we can always go back to Waters but don’t know if we want to experiment with Decatur.

  • 1272. WRP Mom  |  September 10, 2016 at 10:12 am

    @ manor mom- I think it’s difficult to advise you without knowing more about your child as to whether this would be a good fit.

    All I can do is let you know our experience. My daughter was a Decatur grad who started there in Kindergarten and is currently at an SEHS. Looking back on my child’s time @ Decatur, I think the curriculum in general was solid and prepared her well for her classes at AC and later at SEHS. Certainly the Latin instruction really helped her vocabulary/grammar skills.

    With respect to Latin, 3rd grade is a good year to start since that is when the real Latin grammar instruction begins. (What is taught in the earlier grades is mainly mythology and basic vocabulary-totally doable to catch up on that IMO).

    Socially, I remember there were many times a few new kids at the beginning of a new school year and the returning students made the new ones feel welcome. A common reason families would leave was due to it only going through 6th grade, but that may finally change if what I read in the news is any indication.

    Congrats on the Decatur offer!

  • 1273. Crystal  |  September 10, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Manor Mom, we left Waters last year for Decatur and are in 3rd grade. Please feel free to email any questions/concerns, cdlinzemann@gmail.com. For what it’s worth, Kat LOVES Decatur.

  • 1274. AnotherCPSParent  |  September 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Received an offer for Skinner West Classical – kindergarten. Tier 4, Reading 90, Math 82. Totally did not expect this, and we’re very torn. We like the neighborhood school we’ve chosen, but the scores and academic rigor are not nearly as competitive. It would increase the commute from 10-20 minutes to 20-30 minutes.

  • 1275. AnotherCPSParent  |  September 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Decided to decline the seat at SW to stay at our current school. We were very tempted, but the commute would kill us (30 – 45 minutes in traffic). Good luck to people still hoping.

  • 1276. ED  |  September 13, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Good luck with your son. Would you be available to correspond or chat off line?

  • 1277. Pilsen Mom  |  September 13, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Just got a call for a spot at South Loop’s gifted program….can any existing families shed some light on this program, and the school in general? Pros/Cons?

  • 1278. AnotherCPSParent  |  September 13, 2016 at 11:20 am

    @ED sure. email at snelgrave@yahoo.com.

  • 1279. SLS Mama  |  September 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    @1277 – We have a 5th grader at SL gifted. That is the youngest grade for the gifted program. The school has good families and good teachers, but it is overcrowded and the admin can be hard to deal with at times…. They are allegedly building a new facility, which might be ready for my kid in 8th grade. Maybe. It is tough – I’d certainly take it over our neighborhood option right now, but I wouldn’t universally feel that way depending on where your kid is now….

  • 1280. Pilsen Mom  |  September 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Hi at SLS Mama. Thank you for the input. We currently have our kid at LASALLE II language academy, which is just a magnet school. She’s been there since K, the school is a bit of a hike for us I was trying to compare demographics and stats through the school report cards, but ultimately that can only tell you so much about a school.

  • 1281. CPS parent  |  September 14, 2016 at 11:39 am

    @1274: Are you sure about your child’s score? I don’t think 82 in math is a qualified for classical program.

  • 1282. @cps parent  |  September 14, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    CPS parent you are incorrect from OAE website:

    Classical Schools
    In order to be eligible for testing, general education students and students with a 504 Plan applying for grades 5-8 must score at or above the 60th percentile in both reading and math.

  • 1283. AnotherCPSParent  |  September 14, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    @1283 In the letter that accompanies the test scores from OAE, the cutoff for classical is 80% for either math or reading. Perhaps, it was a mistake to reveal our child’s score, but I wanted to give other parents with children who did not score in the high 90s some hope. Clearly, after the initial rounds of offers, the OAE is not simply progressing down the list by score. SW was our last choice based on distance, and after doing a trial run in real traffic, we realized our lives would suffer too much.

    Quick aside, the staff at OAE have been incredibly nice and helpful the last few days.

  • 1284. CPS parent  |  September 14, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    @AnotherCPSParent, thanks for sharing your news. It does gives us some hope though. Thank you!