Fall 2016: Applying to Academic Centers and Intl Gifted Program

October 2, 2016 at 10:15 pm 55 comments


As a quick review, Academic Centers are for 7-8th grade (apply in 6th grade.)  Entry into an AC guarantees you a high school spot in that school (and you can still apply to other schools for high school if you wish.) Students can earn up to 8 HS credits while in an AC.

International Gifted Programs are for grades 6-8 (apply in 5th grade.)  The program includes intensive study of English, French, social studies, laboratory science, mathematics, technology, arts, physical education, library science, and advanced research. The International Gifted Program is designed to allow intellectually able students to be schooled in their least restrictive environment and to mature at an accelerated pace.  Lincoln Elem has the only program right now.

Admission for ACs is based on 5th grade test scores and grades + an admission test taken during 6th grade.

2016 Open House Dates

Brooks Academic Center 250 E. 111th St.
November 12, 2016 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Kenwood Academic Center 5015 S. Blackstone Ave.
November 6, 2016 12:00 noon to 2:00 p.m.

Lane Tech Academic Center 2501 W. Addison St.
October 30, 2016 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Lincoln International Gifted Program 615 W. Kemper Pl.
November 9, 2016 9:00 a.m.

Lindblom Academic Center 6130 S. Wolcott St.
November 5, 2016 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Morgan Park Academic Center 1744 W. Pryor Ave.
November 5, 2016 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.

Taft Academic Center 6530 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
November 5, 2016 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Whitney Young Academic Center 211 S. Laflin St.
October 16, 2016 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Entry filed under: Academic Centers, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , .

High School Applications and Open Houses Fall 2016 Fall 2016: Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School

55 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Pritzker Mom  |  October 2, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    What are people’s thoughts about staying in a SEES through 8th grade versus going to an Academic Center. Do the ACs make it harder to get the grades necessary to get admitted to a different SEHS?

  • 2. WY2  |  October 2, 2016 at 10:43 pm

    @Pritzker Mom,

    It really depends a lot on the school the kid is coming from and on the student himself. All I can say is that it is possible to have all “A”s at the WYAC and no, contrary to popular believe, it does not take studying for 3 hours every day :))

    I would think that if it is possible at WY, it should be doable at other ACs as well, but I don’t have any experience with them.

    Do you know how credit transfer works at your SEES? After WYAC all kids have one year of HS History and HS Biology. Plus one or two years of World Language, if they take it as an elective. Plus performance art credit, if they take Band or Dance. World Language and Art helps because it gives some space for maneuver later on. World History allows former AC students to take their first APs as Freshman. And Biology credit lets them take Chemistry in 9th grade, Physics in 10th and leaves 2 more years for science APs. Talk to HS counselors at the SEHSs that you are thinking about and ask what kids coming from your school usually get credit for. Then ask the same question about kids coming out of ACs.

  • 3. cpsobsessed  |  October 2, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    I think it depends largely on the child. Some kids are ready to move on from their (typically) smallish elementary schools in order to do new things, meet new kids, embrace an even more academic environment. The ACs tend to offer more types of classes and activities than the elems do.

    Also, from everyone I’ve talked to, ACs require a lot more self motivation and organization than some 7th grades may possess.

    I’d think about what feels like the right fit for a kid now (meaning 7-8th grade) more so than how it optimizes their future options. That’s just me though.

  • 4. Jen K  |  October 3, 2016 at 6:25 am

    @1 many students do get straight As in AC 7th…but my experience is that it can be a tougher road. These 12 year olds are literally starting high school and there’s a tremendous amount of change.
    In our experience, my daughter DID have 3 hours of work each night plus much more on the weekends (at WY). Add in an hour commute each way. My daughter isn’t great with time management and organization and it was a really tough first semester. She had no problem handling the academic content, it was the other organizational side that wasn’t developed yet (coming from a school with very little homework). So far, 8th grade has been much smoother.

    Overall it’s been an amazing experience for her and she loves WY. I’m glad she wanted to give it a try.

    My opinion is that if you are considering switching to an AC you need to be comfortable with the possibility of staying through high school.

  • 5. Chicago School GPS  |  October 3, 2016 at 8:40 am

    FYI, Lincoln Elementary’s International Gifted program is considered an unofficial pre-IB program and prepares the students extremely well for entering an IB program in HS. The 30-32 students typically do extremely well in Lincoln Park HS’s IB program but admission is not guaranteed because students will still need to apply to LPHS’s IB program or any other HS program.

    It’s a great program and hopefully with the recent expansion, it will stay at Lincoln Elem. Ogden had no more space to house their program so it was discontinued there. Both schools are neighborhood schools that must accommodate all students within their boundaries.

  • 6. KAB  |  October 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Does anyone know when the academic center test dates are and WHY they just don’t post those! So annoying- I called and they said I have to wait for my PIN and that was that. Are there several dates? held on weekends? All in Feb?

  • 7. WY2  |  October 3, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    They used to have early testing dates (Nov- Dec?) and regular ones in Jan-Feb. All on Saturday mornings. From what I remember, they don’t post these dates beforehand because they don’t know how many times they will offer the test. They post few dates, those get filled, they add few more, and so on until everybody get tested.

  • 8. STEMom  |  October 3, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    @KAB the AC testing dates I was offered take place in February. I selected February 4th. Was hoping for earlier testing dates.

  • 9. KAB  |  October 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    @STEMomThank you for your response! I did not see any dates-she told me I had to wait for a PIN number first? And then I could go in and select a date-please tell me if I am wrong because you have a date

  • 10. STEMom  |  October 3, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    @KAB I have a child entering HS and his school received letters from Access and Enrollment with his pin. With one pin you can register all your eligible kids. That was our case.

  • 11. KAB  |  October 4, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Thanks so much- my daughter is applying to an academic center for 7th so I think that process is different and you have to wait until you get a PIN to select a test date.

  • 12. genxatmidlife  |  October 7, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Is the academic center test the same as the test for a SEES?

  • 13. Chicago School GPS  |  October 7, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    @12- yes, the AC, IG & SEES programs all use the same test for entry, so your child’s score from that one test determines if they will be offered a spot in an IG, SEES and AC program. You can be offered a spot at each type, too, because the programs are “separate application boxes”.

  • 14. genxatmidlife  |  October 7, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    Good to know — thank you. We are private now, and though an AC would be our top choice (for the possibly smoother HS transition), we see some advantages to moving to the public system anyway to prepare for HS.

  • 15. Kim  |  October 14, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    They used to have Nov & Dec. test dates for the Academic Center but the earliest date I was able to schedule today is Feb. 04. Did the Nov & Dec. got filled out so fast?

  • 16. @Chicago School GPS  |  October 14, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I was told that the AC test & Gifted SEES test was the same test and The SEES Classical Test were different. The gifted & AC test is more IQish (aptitude test) and the Classical test is a more like an achievement test—just straight forward what do you know test…

  • 17. Chicago School GPS  |  October 14, 2016 at 9:41 pm

    @16- Ooops, I meant to say the RGC instead of SEES.

    You’re absolutely right….the Classical school test is an achievement based test while the RGC/AC/IG test is aptitude based.

  • 18. Num3  |  October 16, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    CPS kids take the NWEA test at least 2x/year. Which score is used or do they average it like the grades?

  • 19. cpsobsessed  |  October 16, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    they use the NWEA test taken in the spring for SEES entry.

  • 20. JLH  |  October 16, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    My daughter goes to a Catholic school. I submitted in person her paper application for CPS Academic Centers and an application for the NWEA/MAP test. I was told I would be mailed a paper in late December with her test date likely given in January 2017. I’m a bit worried since everyone is saying they chose a February test date already?? Do you get to choose because you are already in CPS?

    Also…what are people’s thoughts on test prep. After today’s Open House I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed that perfection is needed on these tests.

  • 21. LR  |  October 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

    #20 – I think that you have to take NWEA/MAP test before you take the placement test, or that is what my Catholic school friends tell me anyway. I’m not sure if they schedule you for the placement test after your child completes the NWEA? I would definitely call the OAE to clarify at what point you sign up for the placement test.

  • 22. Chicago School GPS  |  October 18, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    @20 & 21- For non-CPS students interested in test-in (selective enrollment) CPS programs for 5th grade on up, the student needs to pre-qualify to take the entrance exam by taking CPS administered NWEA MAP reading & math exams first. If you didn’t register for the October NWEA MAP exams, then you need to submit a paper registration (due 12/9/16) to test for NWEA MAP during their January window. At the same time, you need to APPLY to your desired schools via a paper application by Dec. 9. You will get a January NWEA date but you most likely won’t get an entrance exam test date until you qualify to take the entrance exam through your MAP scores (it’s a super low threshold)

    For those who are MAP testing in October, they are able to schedule their entrance exams online and it looks like the earliest test date is February. That makes sense so that the January NWEA MAP test takers who then qualify most likely will also take their AC entrance exam in February.

    As for test prep, the Academic Centers are academically advanced (7th graders taking 9th grade HS courses for credit) so the thinking is that if a child needs to heavily prep to get into the programs, the AC programs may not be right for that child. The kids who don’t prep at all and get in are typically the kids for whom the accelerated AC programs are a good fit.

    Oftentimes students may not test into AC but will test into top SEHS schools two years later because it is a different type of entrance exam and they did well in their 7th grade years at their elementary schools.

    Lots more info from CPSOAE here: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/Apply.aspx

  • 23. CPSmom  |  October 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    @22 “Oftentimes students may not test into AC but will test into top SEHS schools two years later because it is a different type of entrance exam and they did well in their 7th grade years at their elementary schools.”

    This is completely true. My kid always performed just okay on the exams for selective enrollment in K-8, even though he would get As and score very high on the NWEA tests. To our surprise, on the high school exam, he scored extremely high and got in to his first choice school. We couldn’t believe it, because the results were so drastically different from when he would take the elementary/middle school tests. Then it was explained to me that they are completely different tests. The EL/MS test is more of an aptitude test. The HS test is more of a knowledge/achievement test.

    And I completely agree with you about test prep. My feeling is that all students should take the test without any preparation in order for the results to provide an accurate prediction of how well a student will do in a gifted/accelerated program. I think it’s better for students to be set up for success through hard work at a level that is right for fit for them than to be pushed up through test prep and find themselves overwhelmed and frustrated.

  • 24. What's the Score?  |  October 21, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Hi, just wondering if anyone has received their PIN yet? I signed up on the website on Oct. 2, and have not received it yet. Is it time to call CPSOAE? Thanks!!

  • 25. Jen K  |  October 21, 2016 at 9:17 am

    @24 yes call. It should only take a few days.

  • 26. wy8th  |  October 24, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    If you’re thinking about sending your kid to an AC program, you have to think about whether or not your child is willing to stay at the same school for high school. As a WYAC 8th grader, I can tell you that getting straight A’s isn’t something that is easy to get. Many of us are used to not studying for tests and getting 100s, and getting really easy homework, but that’s not the case at WY. And I would assume Lane is similar. If I could take a guess, only about 25-30% of my grade got straight A’s last year. Maybe even less.

    As for the IG programs, the test is pretty much the same as the AC one. Logic, strategy, etc. IG students get a lot more homework than WYAC students do, as I’ve heard. It’s a great program though. Many of my classmates who went there said it was challenging, but stated that they liked WY better.

    If you don’t want to spend money on the test prep programs, just take the IG test the year b4 you take the AC test because it gives you an idea of what’a gonna be on the test next year.

  • 27. genxatmidlife  |  October 25, 2016 at 8:45 am

    @wy8th — Thanks for posting! It is always good to hear from someone who is actually going through the experience. Compared to an RGC, what is your impression of what homework is like and the general intensity of the academic work?

  • 28. AC  |  October 29, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    It depends on what Academic Center you enter. In truth, Academic centers can be a big challenge, but there is more experience involved. Since they are going to a academic center, they will probably take classes with highschoolers and receive workloads that can help prepare them for high school and beyond. Also, going to a less rigorous AC can also gently intoduce your child to the real world at the same time receiving high school credit. It is also a great way to introduce them into something new and rewarding. It’s not much about what AC you go too, but what comes out from it. Sure, a SEHS AC could be useful to go for highschool, but no one is going to care what middle school a child goes to in college. It’s all about preparedness and what your child needs at the specific time.

  • 29. JoanneK  |  October 31, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    When ranking the ACs, is it better to truly rank your first choice or the one you think your kid will more likely get into?

  • 30. westrogersparkmom  |  October 31, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    @29- rank your first choice. If you don’t get in you will be automatically offered a spot at your second choice assuming the score is high enough.

  • 31. Kim Potowski  |  November 1, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    I was pretty quick about registering for the selective enrollment test but got a mid February date. I was told that CPS sometimes adds additional dates. Do they make some kind of announcement about this, or do we just have to keep looking every week?

  • 32. Keeley Hanson Sorokti  |  November 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    For the grade portion of the score, do they count only the final grade at the end of the year from 5th grade or do they take an average of all 4 quarters? In other words, if a kid gets 3 Bs in Math for quarters 1, 2 and 3, then gets an A in quarter 4 and the Final grade on the report card is an A, does the kid get the full 75 points for Math?

  • 33. Jen K  |  November 5, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    @32 it is the Final Grade.

  • 34. Chicago School GPS  |  November 5, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    @32- it is not the last quarter’s grade, it is the final (average of 4 quarters) grade that CPS uses in their scoring rubric. Typically with 3 quarters of Bs and only one quarter of an A, the final grade will be a B.

  • 35. wy8th  |  November 6, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    @genxatmidlife People like to scare us by saying there’s a lot of homework, and that seems true, if you procrastinate. By splitting work up and using all the given time in class to work on an assignment, I see that there really wasn’t as much homework as they said we would have. On busy weeks, I expect about 2 hours a day for homework, and on normal weeks, there’s only about 1. I didn’t go to a RGC, so I don’t know how they manage their homework.

  • 36. Parent of future Kindergartner  |  December 8, 2016 at 9:05 am

    We don’t know if it really matters, but we keep going back on our application between putting Coonley #1 and Edison #1. Any advice? As of this moment, we have Edison as #1.

  • 37. genxatmidlife  |  December 8, 2016 at 9:57 am

    @36 — I have no advice on either school. But having kids on the older end, I can suggest looking at start time and commute, as this can make a big difference in your daily life.

  • 38. JenFG  |  February 1, 2017 at 11:14 am

    My son’s test is this Saturday, but our information says the location is at IIT–specific location TBD and sent via email. I haven’t received that info yet. I called Access & Enrollment today and was told the same thing–TBD. Is this unusual? When should I expect this info?

  • 39. genxatmidlife  |  February 1, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    We are going through a similar thing. We are supposed to be testing next weekend, and it says the same thing on our online account. I was told by CPS it’s because they are moving our testing date, but I am wondering if it’s just the location within the building. I was told we would hear via email and phone call.

  • 40. KAM  |  February 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I called today as well…the gal I spoke with said that an email will be sent out today with location for saturdays test

  • 41. Classical parent  |  February 1, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    @ wy8th: What is IG test? where do we take that?

  • 42. Momof3  |  February 4, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    My daughter took the test today. She said she had to skip 2 questions due to time and was very tired by the last section. They took all 3 tests, which surprised me since they had skipped the math the last few years. She is grumpy because she is now stuck at her little brother’s hockey game, so I’m not sure how she really feels about it, but my husband said she came out of the test with a smile on her face.

  • 43. wy8th  |  February 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    @Classical parent the IG test is a test to get into a gifted program at Lincoln Elementary. It’s a pretty good program, but incomparable to Academic Centers because they start in 6th grade and the AC starts in 7th. Also, it’s a class of around 30 a grade, not over a hundred like the AC. But, the programs are somewhat similar, just that the IG students don’t take high school classes, but their classes are supposed to be challenging. There’s an IB program at Lincoln High and after you graduate from IG you are immediately placed into IB. The IG test is taken through CPS. Just sign up for the program at Lincoln and take the test. As I’ve said, it’s super similar to the AC test, and getting into IG is a pretty big deal!

  • 44. Classical parent  |  February 6, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    @wy8th, thank you for the information. My child is 4th grade now so I assume I should apply for the IG test next year when he’s in 5th grade?

  • 45. Alice W  |  February 6, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    Can someone tell me about the AC bus schedules to WY and Lane Tech? Can’t find anything online. Where are the bus stops? Do they have cutoff boundaries?

  • 46. JenFG  |  February 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

    @Alice W–no cutoff boundaries. The stops are at CPS schools but are always subject to change. The pickup spot/schedule comes out days before school starts. It is quite inconvenient with regards to planning. We had to opt against it.

  • 47. KAM  |  February 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Hi all, Does anyone know what happens if your child is sick for the LAST selective enrollment test date? I know you can reschedule once if they are sick, but there is not another date to reschedule if you are the last date….what happens to those kids?

  • 48. kmb  |  February 8, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    They do have one more date for makeups after last scheduled test date. At least they did last year. It is only one day and you either have to be able to make it or you are out of luck.

  • 49. cpsobsessed  |  February 8, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Regarding buses, the stops are at CPS schools, but that doesn’t mean it will be your CLOSEST school. In the last few years they have consistenty consolidated stops.

  • 50. Rnorth  |  February 18, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Is the AC test scored on a curve?

  • 51. cpsobsessed  |  February 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    It’s not a curve, but the percentile scores are derived by compared to a (theoretically) national average. So a kid who gets a 92 percentile did better than 92% of kids nationally.
    Conceivably, lots of Chicago kids in a given year could get 99% or none could.

  • 52. wy8th  |  February 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

    @classical parent
    Yes you should apply next year.

    @Alice W
    The bus stops this year were quite inconvenient for many people. I live 30 minutes away (walking) from my bus stop and I consider it a pain to walk back home from there after school with my heavy backpack. I know many other kids who live at least a mile away from their bus stop. My guess is that because of budget cuts, CPS had to take out a lot of the original bus stops. Just a fun fact: of the 5 AC buses at WY, only one bus goes north. I don’t think the kids who live in the south have as big as a problem with their bus stops, but the kids who live north definitely do. There are 3-4 stops on the north bus, if anyone is wondering.

  • 53. Alice W  |  February 20, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    @wy8th Do you know where the northside bus stops are and what time they leave in the mornign?

  • 54. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2017 at 11:47 am

    @Alice, can you say what major cross streets you are near? That might help people identify which stop would be closest to you.

  • 55. wy8th  |  March 20, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    It starts at Pierce in the morning, goes to Ravenswood (or something), then to Bell and then to Oscar Mayer. (Basically neighborhood schools.) I’m almost sure that’s the order. it stops at Oscar Mayer at 7:08 and it arrives at school at 7:30 or so. I’m not sure about the other schools’ stop times in the morning.

    And just a note out to everyone, April 6, 17, and 19 are the 7th grade shadow days for Whitney Young AC. Clear your calendars!

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