Fall 2016: Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School

October 2, 2016 at 10:52 pm 294 comments


Time to apply Kindergarten!  (or other elementary grades.)

The application period runs from Oct 3 – December 9 2016 for the 2017/18 school year.  If your child will be 5 by

CPS Office of Access and Enrollment has a nice new site that has all the information you’ll need to apply to Selective Elem programs, Magnets, and Neighborhood schools with open enrollment.


In BIG news this year, notification letters will be posted ONLINE (instead of by mail) if you apply online.

Also, the selective elem schools will still offer early testing.  If your child tests between November 1st and November 17th, you will receive your child’s test scores before the application deadline.  (And this gives you some knowledge of their scores as input for choosing/ranking your schools.)

If you like a lot of detailed information in one place, I found this power point deck to be very comprehensive:

CPS Elem Application Details

The open house schedule for Gifted and Classical programs are here:







Entry filed under: Applying to schools, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Fall 2016: Applying to Academic Centers and Intl Gifted Program New: 1-Application Coming for High Schools

294 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  October 3, 2016 at 5:23 am

    Thank you! One question, upon reading the link with detailed information, it stated that if testing early for kindergarten the scores can be received early. Is this only true for K? Will grades 1 and higher all have to wait until April 3 for their scores regardless of testing date?

  • 2. Chicago School GPS  |  October 3, 2016 at 8:23 am

    @1- CPSOAE offers different test dates to different age groups, so not all kids will have an opportunity to test during that window. It could very well be only the kindergarten test is given during that time frame. Theoretically anyone who tests between the window of Nov. 1-Nov. 17 can get their scores back before Dec. 9, but in reality, not all age groups may be offered the option to test then.

    This is from http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/SEES.aspx :

    Q.Why test early?
    A.Is your child applying to kindergarten for the 2017-2018 school year? There are numerous advantages to having your child test early, rather than later!
    If your child takes his/her Regional Gifted Centers and Classical Schools test between November 1st and November 17th, you will receive his/her test results BEFORE the application deadline. This will allow you to learn whether your child will be in the Selective Enrollment selection pool for the 2017-2018 school year, as students must earn minimum scores of 115 for the Regional Gifted Centers and the 80th percentile in reading and math for the Classical Schools, in order to be in the selection pool.
    Receiving the scores before the deadline provides you the opportunity to research additional magnet options, if you wish, or to modify the choices on the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools application.
    The month of November has a greater propensity for milder weather than the months of December through February, which makes it easier to navigate through the city.
    There is no advantage to waiting later in the season to have your child take the admissions exam. The exam is developmentally age appropriate and the results are based on the exact age of your child. Therefore, if your child is four years and three months of age, he/she will be compared to the group of children of the same age. A child who is older by just a few months is developmentally expected to have acquired more knowledge and skills than a younger child.

  • 3. 1MoreSouthSider  |  October 3, 2016 at 9:24 am

    NTA Open House dates were omitted from OAE schedule. Please note the dates are November 2nd and 30th from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm.

  • 4. SN Parent  |  October 3, 2016 at 9:34 am

    I have an older child at Skinner north and am applying for my second for kindergarten this year. We have since moved into Coonley district and we are interested in both Skinner North and Coonley RGC. I recently heard that Coonley was no longer offering a kindergarten RGC class and that they will begin at 1st grade. Is that correct? Any news on that? Can’t get into the app yet since I am waiting on my PIN (forgot mine from last time) so I can’t see the kindergarten options. TIA

  • 5. Chicago School GPS  |  October 3, 2016 at 9:39 am

    The paper application shows the grades that each school is accepting applications for. http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Documents/SelectiveEnrollmentElementarySchoolsApplicationEnglish.pdf

    Looks like Coonley is having K next year.

  • 6. KCabral  |  October 3, 2016 at 9:39 am


  • 7. Critical Thinking Child  |  October 3, 2016 at 10:50 am

    @2 Great feedback! I would like to share this information with my parents. Is there a blog link to “why test early”

  • 8. Chicago School GPS  |  October 3, 2016 at 11:19 am

    @7- that came directly from CPSAOE’s FAQs: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/SEES.aspx

    Unfortunately the new site makes it harder to post specific links that aren’t .pdfs but just click on the very helpful FAQ tab and midway under “General Questions” it is there, along with a lot of other helpful tips.

  • 9. LSmom  |  October 3, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Does anyone know if they’ve updated the tiers? We teeter between 3 and 4.

  • 10. cpsobsessed  |  October 3, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Here is the current Tier Map, saying it’s based on 2016 data.
    I can’t recall when they typically update this though. I’ll see if I can confirm.


  • 11. kotharijayh  |  October 4, 2016 at 7:26 am


    My Daughter will be 5 in Dec next year and giving the test Oct-Dec 2017. Is there any restriction in going for the open houses in terms of they asking what year the kid is going to apply? We were just thinking to be better prepared by visiting the schools this year and try to go for the tests early.

    Is there any link/site that provides tier wise cut-offs for all RGC and classical schools?

  • 12. LSmom  |  October 4, 2016 at 8:32 am

    @11, you can start touring whenever you want. CPS doesn’t provide cutoffs for K-8 because the numbers are so small that they couldn’t maintain confidentiality, you can get some idea by looking through threads on here though.

  • 13. Chicago School GPS  |  October 4, 2016 at 9:08 am

    @CPSO- thanks for posting the latest tier map. You are quick! I don’t even see it on opencityapps yet or even CPS’s site. Looks like gentrifying areas are going up and down again. Always interesting to see that tiers really do go in both directions. Places that were tier 4 last year are now tier 3, and places that were tier 2 went up to tier 3, etc.

  • 14. kotharijayh  |  October 4, 2016 at 10:25 am

    @12 – Thank you. I read through last years post And have a fair bit of idea but was hoping that there would be a consolidated place.

    I only started following this blog from this year and hence had lot of catching up to do.

  • 15. Coonleymom  |  October 4, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Coonley’s principal said at the last LSC meeting that Coonley would become a 1-8 RGC starting in 2017-18. Even with the recent addition of the annex, the school is outgrowing the space again and the change is a way to get a classroom back.

    So possibly a mistake on the paper application?

  • 16. SN Parent  |  October 4, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    Hmm. Not sure. I called Coonley yesterday and they said they are offering RGC kindergarten.

  • 17. cpsobsessed  |  October 4, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    I confirmed that Coonley WILL offer a K options class next year. That may not be the case after that, as the school is very close to capacity and continues to work to find space as the neighborhood population grows.

    Keep in mind that if you enroll a child in the options program, a sibling out of neighborhood is unlikely to get a spot in the school (until possibly an older grade, if at all.)

  • 18. cpsobsessed  |  October 4, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I also confirmed via OAE that the Tier maps are final for the 2017-2018 school year, so what you see on the map is valid for applying and will not change during this application period.

  • 19. 2ndrodeo  |  October 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Does anyone know if they will be adding additional dates for testing. Also, if I want to change my date once I hit submit will I be able to do that online as well through the portal?

  • 20. Jen  |  October 7, 2016 at 3:00 am

    This is probably a dumb question….a new PIN is needed each year to apply, correct?

  • 21. cpsobsessed  |  October 7, 2016 at 7:57 am


    For those interested in an in-person intro to the process. (Note the presenters are all test prep companies so I assume you’d learn more about their offerings as well. Only $5 to attend if you register early. I like Testing Mom’s pointers that she emails, but she’s a more avid emailer than even Ann Taylor loft (who emails every single morning without fail.)

  • 22. Chris  |  October 7, 2016 at 9:52 am

    “new PIN is needed each year to apply, correct?”


  • 23. Jen  |  October 7, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you Chris. I looked all over the cps oae website and couldn’t find that answer. Maybe it was just too obvious…

  • 24. Chicago School GPS  |  October 7, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    @23- The FAQs (found at the bottom of the front page) are super helpful: http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Documents/FAQsAdmissionsProcess.pdf

    5. I received a PIN for the application process last year. Can I use it this year?
    No. PINs issued in previous years are no longer active. Please visit apply.cps.edu beginning October 3rd at 9 a.m. to open an account and request a PIN. The deadline to submit a PIN request is November 28, 2016, at 11:59 p.m.

  • 25. SoLo Mom  |  October 12, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I understand the tentative contract agreement includes a clause for all K-2nd grade classrooms with 32+ students to be provided teacher aides. While great overall, the skeptic in me wonders how this may impact magnet schools. Could they eventually limit classrooms to 31 students as a cost-saving measure? I’m now envisioning less available slots……

  • 26. cpsobsessed  |  October 12, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    I think those classes are already capped at 28. This is one of the benefits of a magnet school. Does anyone know otherwise?

  • 27. SN Parent  |  October 12, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    @26 They are not capped at 28. My ODD attended Hawthorne and she had 32 kids in her K class. At Hawthorne parents paid for a full time aid for each K class.

  • 28. CPS parent  |  October 12, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I don’t think the cap is 28 either. My son has 30 kids in his K class at a magnet school. I heard it can go up to 32. For classical and RGC school, I think they are capped at 30?

  • 29. cpsobsessed  |  October 13, 2016 at 7:41 am

    As a reminder, the NPN elementary fair is this Sunday with 125+ public and private schools.

    Grossinger City Autoplex
    Address: 1530 N. Dayton St.
    Chicago, 60642
    When: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM · Oct 16, 2016
    Who: Members & Non-members – Adults only

    Parking: Street parking limited. Public transportation recommended (Red to North/Clybourn). Discounted two hour parking available at 1555 N. Sheffield (FFC lot near North and Sheffield). Note: You must get a validation ticket when you check in at the fair. Grossinger parking is not available.
    Cost: NPN Members have complimentary access included in their membership.

    **MEMBERS MUST LOG IN TO RSVP.** Non-Member tickets are $25 per person.

  • 30. Cliff  |  October 13, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Most (all?) RGC K-2 classrooms are 28. Most (high demand) magnet K-2 classrooms are 30. No magnets (purposely) accept above 32 slots, as far as I know.

    As others have pointed out, SEES/Magnets class sizes can be an advantage OR disadvantage You won’t ever get 38 kids in a class (as can happen at some n’hood schools) but you won’t ever get 22, either (as can happen at some n’hood schools).

    My impression from talking to non-CPS parents is that they far overestimate the amount of massive early elementary CPS classes (they think 38-40 is common, and it’s definitely not) and underestimate the amount of 20-25-kid classes.

    Whether elem class sizes are actually going up significantly under SBB is an interesting question (would like to look at the data).

  • 31. SN MOM  |  October 13, 2016 at 10:56 am

    My daughter’s class at Skinner north has always (K-2) been 30 (although last year a kid left well after school had started and they did not replace him so it remained at 29 for the year). I believe by 4th grade they increase to 32.

  • 32. Momof2  |  October 17, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Are there any neighborhood schools that are in the “improving” stage that are likely to to have kindergarten spots for kids through open enrollment? It feels like the options are limited but there must be a few out there. (willing to relocate so location isn’t vital)

  • 33. veteran parent  |  October 17, 2016 at 11:13 am

    32 – depends on your definition of “improving” (and what methods your are using to judge that criteria) …. and how close to that edge you are willing to go…. also depends on your current neighborhood school assignment. Some folks often are looking for something “better” than their default (neighborhood) school… it’s all relative.

  • 34. boymom of 2  |  October 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    @32: If you’re already willing to relocate, then wouldn’t it make more sense to go ahead and do so based on YOUR fave neighborhood school before the start of the next school year? That removes a lot of the anticipation and guesswork, while giving you more control over the process.

  • 35. Momof2  |  October 17, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Yes, that is a good point. Ideally we could buy in one of the top neighborhoods, but the pricing has just gotten so high in many of them (and we are aiming to buy, rather than rent.) So I guess the questions is about affordable small single family homes with good elementary.

  • 36. Gina  |  October 17, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    My son is in the 2nd grade at Lasalle now and while I love the school, parents and teachers, the commute is something we just can’t keep up with (far south to far north). Is there a good chance that he could be accepted at a good school for 3rd grade? Are slots open that high up?

  • 37. 4th Time's the Charm  |  October 17, 2016 at 7:26 pm

    Gina, 3rd grade was lucky for us! Even though we were content with our neighborhood school, we applied to the lottery each year just to see what turned up. And each year, he received good offers — just not good enough to warrant a transfer, IMO. Until this year! My son was #3 on the WL for two top magnets (Hawthorne and STEM) and ended up getting into my preference (Hawthorne). We’re now dealing with the commute, opposite yours.

  • 38. cpsobsessed  |  October 17, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Odds get better in 3rd grade for a few reasons: school can increase class size typically and there is often natural attrition with each higher grade as people move to the suburbs, etc and… other people don’t nec want to move a child in 3rd grade, so there aren’t as many people competing for the spots.

    I’d apply to as many as you can that are better located. Odds are that you’ll get in somewhere. You can also talk to a principal about a transfer after school begins, if you’re open to the that. Once they get a count of students when school starts they may realize they have a few spots even if they didn’t participate in the lottery process.

  • 39. 4thTime  |  October 19, 2016 at 12:18 am


  • 40. Learning CPS  |  October 19, 2016 at 9:29 am

    @ 32 – Momof2, some areas to look at are in the Peterson and Jamieson and Budlong school zones. All 3 schools are 1+ now but tend to fly under the open enrollment radar just a bit, and Jamieson just got a brand new addition that opened this year. Homes are still relatively affordable, though prices are rising and the ones that go on the market can sell quickly.

  • 41. parent  |  October 19, 2016 at 10:48 am

    @32 Norwood Park and Alcott are both good schools that usually accept a decent amount of out of boundary kids. I believe this is also true of Peirce.

  • 42. LSmom  |  October 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    @ Momof2, other good or improving schools that usually have plenty of lottery spots for K are Agassiz, Brentano, Goethe, and Burr.

  • 43. Momof2  |  October 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Thank you both 41 and 42 for the ideas. I’d heard about Brentano and Burr, so good to have some others to add to the list. Appreciate it.

  • 44. Confused parent  |  October 20, 2016 at 11:39 am

    If a child is admitted to a Selective Enrollment school based on the family’s Tier at the time of application and/or registration but the family moves to a new home located in a different Tier mid-way through the school year or in subsequent years, does that affect the child’s ability to stay at the school? Or once they are in, they are able to stay through graduation? I don’t want to be restricted as to where we can live for a long period of time. TIA for any clarification.

  • 45. parent  |  October 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

    @44, You can move. Once you’re admitted, it doesn’t matter where you live in the city.

  • 46. Another confused parent  |  October 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    @45 parent: Thanks to 44 for bringing that up. What if we moved to a different tier before the offer letter sent out? Do they notify CPS? Do they use the new tier for the selection process? If we lived in Tier 1 then moved to Tier 4, then I rather they use my Tier 1 address so my child will get a higher chance to get into the SEES or SEHS.

  • 47. feeder schools  |  October 20, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    There is a deadline in February (?) to submit your address change to CPS for candidacy in selective enrollment schools. Failing to do that probably constitutes address fraud. Perhaps moving after the deadline is okay.

  • 48. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2016 at 11:01 am

    FYI, I confirmed via OAE that for elem magnets, the principal can choose to set the class size for the lottery.

    Am I nuts in thinking that it used to be set at 28 kids per kindergarten class a while back?

  • 49. LSmom  |  October 21, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    @cpsobsessed, I always thought RGCs and classical schools were set at 28 but that magnets had flexibility.

  • 50. cpsobsessed  |  October 21, 2016 at 8:09 pm

    @LSMom. Hm, maybe that’s true but once per-pupil funding may have changed the game in terms of # of students accepted.

  • 51. Applying for 5th Grade  |  October 23, 2016 at 7:47 am

    My child is applying for 5th grade. How/where to I get the PIN that proves they meet NWEA score requirements? Thank in advance! I was getting so frustrated with the website!

  • 52. harry potter  |  October 23, 2016 at 11:11 am

    If I was a principal and I was looking at a 1:32 ratio (one teacher 32 kids) versus a 2:33 ratio (one teacher, one aide paid for by CPS, 33 kids) I’d make every single one of my K-2 rooms over 32 to get those aides. It is still pretty easy to find a young 20 something with a graduate degree who wants to teach but can’t get hired.

  • 53. Chicago School GPS  |  October 23, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    @51- Students applying to CPS SEES 5th grade and above need to pre-qualify by taking a CPS-administered NWEA MAP test first.

    If your child is and has been a CPS student, the NWEA MAP scores are automatically pulled from your CPS Student ID. Just go to request your PIN via apply.cps.edu and be sure to enter your child’s CPS ID#.

    If your child was NOT a CPS student, then you can only apply using the paper application and you do NOT need a PIN.

    From CPSOAE under NWEA MAP Registration for non-CPS Students http://cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/OAE.aspx:

    “For students who did not attend a CPS school during the 2015-2016 school year, are not currently enrolled at a CPS school, and will be applying to any of the aforementioned programs for grades 5-9 for the 2017-2018 school year, the NWEA MAP will be offered free of charge at multiple locations around the city in October and January. Only scores from the NWEA MAP administered by CPS will be accepted for the CPS application process. (Non-CPS students applying to PreK-4th grade for the 2017-2018 school year do NOT have to take the NWEA MAP.)
    The registration deadline for the NWEA MAP test in October has passed.
    In order for non-CPS students to register to take the NWEA MAP in January 2017, registration forms must be received by the Office of Access and Enrollment by December 9, 2016. NOTE that students who take the NWEA MAP in January 2017 will have to submit paper applications by December 9, 2016, for the programs in which they are interested. The registration form can be found via the link below. Also below, you can access a Parent Letter for Non-CPS Students, Frequently Asked Questions, and an informational flyer. Should you have questions, contact the Office of Access and Enrollment at 773-553-2060 or oae@cps.edu.”

  • 54. KDMoore  |  October 24, 2016 at 10:05 am

    is there anywhere I can find the estimate of spots per school or even the number of selective enrollment classes per grade for incoming Kindergartners. ie Skinner North has 2 classes per grade so they will accept about 60 Kindergartners. I am looking for that type of info for all the testing schools.

  • 55. Mom606  |  October 24, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    @ 54. KDMoore

    If you go to the CPS School Locator tool and search for a particular school, go to “Downloads” on the school’s page and there’s a link to an “Education Facilities Master Plan”. I think they’re all outdated though and there should be updated plans. But, that’s where I found it last year when I was trying to figure out class sizes. As far as schools with an RGC class and neighborhood classes under the same roof, I don’t know how to differentiate, except I think OAE might determine the class size for the RGC class, not the school.


  • 56. LSmom  |  October 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    @KDMoore, I think Skinner North is the only selective enrollment program with two incoming K classes, the rest have one class with about 28 spots.

  • 57. HSA Mom  |  October 24, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Suggestions for ranking SE schools for younger child if you live on one side of town and have older child in school on other side? It’s a 7 mile radius without busing. Chances are that he’ll attend the same magnet (Hawthorne) via sibling lottery. Still going through the kindergarten application and testing process just to see…

  • 58. Nana  |  October 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Hi, what happens if the kids applies for SEES 2nd grade, RGC or Classical? Does these schools have free spaces at 2nd grade?

  • 59. a  |  October 25, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Nana, There are usually spots available in SEES non-entry years due to students moving or otherwise leaving a program. My 5th grade daughter has had at least one new classmate each year.

  • 60. cpsobsessed  |  October 25, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    For the older grades, sometimes you won’t get notified until later in the process, such as over the summer or even right when school starts in the Fall.
    Often times families don’t know they’re moving away or changing schools etc until then, so the school doesn’t have a spot to offer during the initial application process.
    So sometimes patience is required for a second grade spot.

  • 61. kk  |  October 27, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Anyone aware of a way to research current class size for kindergarten? I can only find average class sizes on the cps info page for each school, and I’d like to find that info broken down by grade level. TIA

  • 62. LSmom  |  October 27, 2016 at 8:26 am

    https://www.illinoisreportcard.com has average class size by grade — for neighborhood schools, they can really vary from year to year though, and I think class sizes have been heading up each year thanks to student-based budgeting.

  • 63. Kate P  |  October 27, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    If you’re seeking information on a great neighborhood school option on the north side, please come to the Fall Open House and Tour at Helen C. Peirce School for International Studies on Thursday, November 10th at 8:15 a.m. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the school before Options for Knowledge applications are due in the coming weeks. There is nothing like seeing a school “in action” to get a feel for the climate and culture!

    Come see what our wonderful school is all about and meet our incredible principal, staff, teachers, parents, and students. Or, if you know of anyone who may be interested in our school, please send them our way.

    Please RSVP or send questions to peirceopenhouse@gmail.com

  • 64. Juanita M  |  October 28, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Hi CPS Obsessed, I sent you an email with a few questions. Could you please respond at your convenience.


  • 65. cpsobsessed  |  October 28, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    thanks, I will take a look…

  • 66. KCabral  |  October 31, 2016 at 11:13 am

    According to the school calendar, Galileo has the following scheduled this week:

    Prospective Student School tour
    Thu Nov 3, 2016 1pm – 2pm


    Prospective Kindergarten Open House
    Thu Nov 3, 2016 5pm – 6pm

    I’m sure you can contact the school for more info/details. Come check out this great school!

  • 67. Peterson  |  October 31, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Peterson is having info sessions for prospective parents. Great school!

    The Prospective Parent Sessions are coming up tomorrow morning (11/1) at 9 a.m. and Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in the Peterson Cafeteria

  • 68. L2Falcons  |  October 31, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    LaSalle II hosts an Open House on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 4pm.

    Stop by tomorrow (11/1) to learn more about a great school!

    Here is the website: http://lasalle2school.com

  • 69. Chicago School GPS  |  November 2, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Info regarding a possible Ogden/Jenner merger for next Fall: http://www.jenner-ogden-merger.com/background.html

    Both schools are housed in beautiful buildings but Jenner is under enrolled (65% capacity, approx. 240 students) and Ogden is overenrolled (107% capacity, approx. 1100 students) with only K-5th grade students in that building. I think the proposed grade levels would be PK-3rd at Ogden, 4th-8th grade at Jenner, and Ogden HS would be all 9-12th. This model is similar to the suburbs where there are lower primary and upper primary schools. Prior discussions said that a merger would add about 3-5 Jenner students to each Ogden classroom and class sizes would be lower than what is at Ogden now because they would accommodate more classrooms.

    South Loop and NTA both went through rapidly changing demographics and have benefited so while contentious now, it doesn’t have to remain that way.

  • 70. Big Blue  |  November 2, 2016 at 11:21 am

    Question regarding SE early testing: as I understand it, if my child takes the test before Nov 18, we will receive the results prior to the Dec 11 application deadline.

    It seems like the only benefit (other than knowing earlier) would be that you could tailor your application based on the results. I.e. if my child tested high enough in the RGC portion of the test but not the Classical portion, then we could fill the application with 6 RGC options and 0 Classical schools. Conversely, if they did well enough on the Classical portion but not the RGC, then we could apply to only Classical schools. Am I understanding this correctly? As I see it, if you test after Nov 18 (and therefore don’t have the results back before the application deadline) then you are running the risk of applying for a certain type of school that you didn’t test in to. And, thus, excluding some of the other types that you may be eligible for. Does that make any sense?….

    (BTW: it is a real shame that kindergarten enrollment has to be this complicated, but that’s a different rant)

  • 71. cpsmom  |  November 2, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Dumb question about testing…the letter that I am supposed to bring to the test says that you need to provide a picture ID to gain entrance to the IIT building. That ID doesn’t have to match the name on the registration? I registered my daughter, but her dad is taking her…TIA

  • 72. chiboymom  |  November 2, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    @70: For me, the true advantage is going into the admissions process with a realistic idea if my child stands a chance of getting into a gifted program, period. If his test scores aren’t high, I’ll know not to count on it and plan accordingly via the magnet lottery, etc. Sure wish this existed when my oldest applied for kindergarten several years ago!

  • 73. cpsobsessed  |  November 4, 2016 at 6:32 am

    Cps mom, in sure it’s fine as people’s plans change a lot. You could email oae to be safe.

  • 74. cpsmom  |  November 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks, it was fine..they didn’t even ask for the letter that you said you MUST bring, lol

  • 75. Reem  |  November 7, 2016 at 12:50 am

    To schedule a testing date,do I need to already have the pin number?
    Also,if the child gets into one of thelse schools,is transportation provided by the school(that’s what someone told me)?

  • 76. LSmom  |  November 7, 2016 at 5:47 am

    @75, yes — you need the PIN to create a login that will allow you to set up a test date. The selective enrollment schools provide transportation, but some of the schools have transportation boundaries (look at FAQ, then transportation: http://www.cps.edu/AccessAndEnrollment/Pages/SEES.aspx)

  • 77. SoLo MoM  |  November 8, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I’m all ready to complete my kid’s magnet and SEES applications, but don’t have a home computer to ensure a paper trail. Before running over to Staples, does anybody know if you can convert the applications into PDFs for saving and future printing? This was an option for the testing letter and I see a button on the dashboard that says, “View Applied Schools,” just nervous to hit submit……..

  • 78. new2this  |  November 12, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    @71 I took my son to be tested today and they DID ask me along with everyone else in line for that paper.however, she didn’t ask me for my i.d. go figure.

  • 79. It'sTime  |  November 16, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Any insight on whether CPS will open any additional test dates past January? Right now OAE is saying they are only open until January, and I thought last year there were February test dates.

  • 80. southsidestressed  |  November 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Sees application done but the magnet application is killing me. Our oldest in coming from Private Pre K. I’m so cofused on which schools are truly high performing. so many schools have 1+ rating but on IL school report card the test scores are abysmal like only 20% of kids ready for next grade! I have been browsing last year thread and it just added layers of confusion. I just want to apply my son to high performing schools south, west loop, or near north area. I wish they could just rank em on various area that way parents can just sort by what matters to them. Why is it so complicated

  • 81. Chicago School GPS  |  November 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    @79- CPSOAE will add dates as they get more applications. With the deadline not until Dec. 9, they tend to release dates in batches as more people sign up. I suspect they will go into late January and early Feb.

    @80- your confusion is not unusual. Just a school has a 1+ rating doesn’t necessarily mean it is a good fit for your child. That’s where visiting a school is very worthwhile. Some schools you may simply have more of a “connection” with, whether it’s the atmosphere, size, offerings, etc. Others everyone can love but if you don’t feel the love for it, that’s OK. It is a deeply personal decision and families can also make a change anywhere along their child’s schooling.

    We have a popular “30 Minute EXPRESS” consultation to help families finalize their applications for exactly these types of confusing situations. http://www.chischoolgps.com/Services.html

  • 82. OgdenParent2016  |  November 17, 2016 at 2:15 pm

    @69 Regarding Ogden Jenner.

    No way K-8 will fit between only 2 buildings.

    Grades 7-8 would likely remain at the High School – spreading K-8 across 3 campuses!

    Ogden is seeing a continued downward trend in enrollment. We have 2 empty classrooms this year. Our Principal has even opened up Ogden to the CPS lottery next year to fill seats.

    This is being done 100% for political reasons and is tearing our school apart.

  • 83. ogden?  |  November 17, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    @82 – I’m confused – so does Ogden need additional space or not?

  • 84. OgdenParent2016  |  November 17, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Sorry.. my post was unclear.

    Ogden currently is not overcrowded & population projections predict flat or declining enrollment to continue.

    However adding the Jenner students and their attendance boundary could cause overcrowding.

  • 85. Near South Sider  |  November 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm


    I really wouldn’t worry that much at this stage in the process because the truth of the matter is that you will only lottery into a handful of schools. What I did was sort the schools by proximity (the distance I was willing to travel), and then I chose the level 1+ and level 1 schools that I would actually consider if we got in. We got into Saucedo (1+) right away, but we also got low waitlist numbers at a few other places, so I declined Saucedo and played the waiting game. By the time school started, we had gotten calls from about 5 schools.

    For the schools you get into right away, you have enough time to visit them before you make your decision. As the calls start coming in, some schools will give you an opportunity to visit, but others will need an answer in about 24 hours (particularly if they call in late-Aug or Sept).

    I would also urge you to ignore the IL score report card and Great Schools and Niche and any of those other websites. Their information is outdated, and most of the people who post on those websites are dissatisfied with the school for one reason or another, which skews the results.

    If you have any questions about any schools in particular, post them here. I’m sure someone can answer them.

    Good luck!

  • 86. SN parent  |  November 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Does anyone know when the test results for students who completed testing by November 17th will be mailed out? Do we know that they will be mailed as opposed to available online? Any information coming our way soon?

    Also, just a heads up that we waited for 1.5 hours for our kindergarten test. It was on the weekend so maybe that had something to do with it. Bring snacks and activities – it’s a long time to wait with a 4 year old. Seemed like it wasn’t setting kids up for success either. This was a very different experience compared to when my daughter took the test. Not sure what was going on.

  • 87. southsidestressed  |  November 18, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    @85 thanks that makes so much sense. Five offers is a lot I thought you get lucky with 1 so that why I was stressing for the list to be perfect. I live super far south but my husband works north and I work west loop so we cover a lot of area. Ideally I want a south school but its hard to determine whats a good school. So far Im looking at NTA, Sheridan, Haines, Earhart for sure. On the fence about Murray & Beasley any feedback about those schools would be much appreciated. You would be suprised how hard it is to pick 20 schools!

  • 88. Near South Sider  |  November 18, 2016 at 9:55 pm


    I’ve actually heard various things about every school you mentioned.

    NTA–This is our school, and we love it.
    Sheridan–Great school. If you get it, you should strongly consider it, especially if you have other children because as a magnet school, siblings get first priority.
    Haines–Great school, but they are full of neighborhood kids, so your chances of getting in are slim.
    Earhart–I have a friend who sends her DD there, and they are very happy.
    Murray–Another friend of mine sends her DD there, and they like it a lot. It’s a language school, so her DD takes Spanish several times a week.
    Beasley–I have a friend with a DD in the gifted program there, and she likes it, but I wouldn’t enroll my kids in the magnet program. I hear they keep the gifted kids and the magnet kids separate, essentially creating two schools, which is a practice I don’t feel comfortable with.

    Other schools you might want to consider are Suder, Ray, Owen, Vanderpoel, and Dixon. I’m sure other people here might have other suggestions. You can also do a search for specific schools on the South Side thread: https://cpsobsessed.com/2014/03/26/south-side-schools-thread-guest-post-by-maureen-kelleher/

  • 89. LPMom  |  November 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Did anyone attend the Skinner West Open House this past week? For the #1 rated school in CPS, I found it really odd that the program started late, ran way late, and basically had what seemed to be hundreds of prospective parents freely roaming the building in the middle of the school day!

    For other open houses I’ve attended, I found them to be much better organized and the principals to be a lot more matter of fact, but still welcoming. The principal of Skinner West seemed to me that she was putting on a bit of show…

    From a stats and location standpoint, it’s actually quite an attractive option to us if my child gets selected, but I’m kind of turned off after the open house. Maybe I’m being overly critical? Any thoughts to counter my view?

  • 90. LPMom  |  November 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    @Near South Sider – I really liked the NTA Open House. What were the reasons you ultimately selected that school and what do you think is the biggest differentiator? Thanks in advance!

  • 91. Near South Sider  |  November 19, 2016 at 4:29 pm


    There were a few things that stood out to me when I visited. The first was probably the facilities. I had been to several open houses before visiting NTA, and I was blown away by the appearance of the school–the bright, clean hallways, the technology in each classroom, the two libraries, the art room, the music room, not to mention the pool. I also liked the principal and the teachers I met. It felt to me like they worked well together as a team and supported each other in the school’s mission. As an NTA parent, I have found this absolutely to be true.

    I also like the commitment to the integration of the RGC and the Achievers program. NTA is one school–not a school within a school. All the kids eat and play together at recess, and all classrooms have equal resources. I also liked the variety of the specials, and I liked the numerous after school options.

    So when we got offered a spot, I went with my gut and accepted. It turns out that NTA is a great fit for our family, and my kid is very happy there.

  • 92. "the #1 rated school in CPS"  |  November 19, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    @LPMom – Just curious, what are you basing this on? I’ve always thought of SW as a great school, but I don’t think I’ve seen the rankings with SW at #1.

  • 93. LSmom  |  November 20, 2016 at 7:26 am

    @92, this list put Skinner West at #1 — http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/September-2016/Best-Public-Schools/Chicago/

  • 94. Second rodeo  |  November 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Does anyone have any idea what type of questions and how the test is administered for those applying for first grade for the RGC only? Thanks.

  • 95. SN parent  |  November 27, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t know the type of questions (that’s pretty top secret), but I do know that the test is given in a group setting and kids have to fill in bubbles on an answer sheet – at least that’s what my daughter told me when she took it.

  • 96. Second rodeo  |  November 27, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Thanks. SN Parent.

  • 97. feeder schools  |  November 27, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    It’s likely a set of questions provided by one of the usual IQ-type tests, with one or more subsets skipped (which I’d guess is meant to distinguish as much as possible from the reading/math test for Classical schools).

  • 98. Second rodeo  |  November 27, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks @feeder schools. Every bit of information helps. Hope to get into the RGC at my daughters current school.

  • 99. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    My understanding is that the RGC test is things like “which one doesn’t fit/is different”, analogies, patterns. Things that measure thinking rather than the classical skills of reading/math.
    Maybe some logic-type questions?

    I don’t know if this is still available, but a while back you could go on the NYC public school site and download some sample questions. the test might not be the exact same but may be of similar type.

  • 100. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Oh, you can also sign up for the https://www.testingmom.com/ free 100 sample questions. Some questions are good, some are a little clunky, and you’ll get a million emails, but it’s a good quick way to see some sample types of questions.

  • 101. cpsobsessed  |  November 27, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    See the Program Handbooks by age here. Sample questions for NYC are on ~ page 33.


  • 102. trying again for both kids in the same school  |  November 28, 2016 at 11:01 am

    @94 Second rodeo
    One other thing about the test for 1st grade: my kid told me that the kids testing for 1st grade had their questions read to them by the proctor. (That was last year.)

    Which leads me to my question: does anyone know if the kids testing for 2nd grade also have the test questions read to them? I’d love to give my kid a heads up, so he knows what to expect.


  • 103. Second rodeo  |  November 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Thank you @cpsobsessed for the links. This definitely gives me an idea of what types of questions to expect.

  • 104. Second rodeo  |  November 28, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Thanks @Trying again. I was definitely curious if the children were read to or had to read on their own for first grade. My daughter can read on her own but I’m sure she won’t be able to know all the words that are on the test.

  • 105. Chicago School GPS  |  November 28, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    TODAY is the last day to request your PIN if you want to apply online to CPS programs for Fall 2017. Applications (paper & online) are due by 12/9/16. https://apply.cps.edu/

  • 106. Scores for Early Testers?  |  November 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Has anyone who tested early received scores yet? I was a little confused if they are mailing those or if we get them online (assuming we applied online). I know the info says we’ll get them before the 12/9 submission date, but wasn’t clear if they all will get sent at a certain time or in a rolling way.

  • 107. SkinnerN Parent  |  November 28, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    I called OAE today and they said the scores will be made available through the online portal if you applied online. She did not seem to have a date, but did say it takes about 2 weeks for them to receive the scores after the closing of the early testing window (which was November 17th). She said we will receive a robocall and an email when the scores are available online. Hope we find out soon!

  • 108. Christy Dukes  |  November 28, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    @95. My friend daughter tested last year for this year 1st grade and she stated it was a verbal test only pointing. She said she did read a short paragraph for reading, so site words recap is important. She scored high enough to get in Keller’s RGC program this September.

  • 109. new2this  |  November 28, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    @107 Thanks for the info! Im so glad we get to see the scores earlier on. Im already on pins and needles. I can’t imagine waiting until March! If anyone gets their scores soon can you post on here and let us know? TIA

  • 110. Newcomer  |  November 28, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    For what it’s worth, my son couldn’t read one word when he took the RGC test and he got a first round acceptance to one of the popular 1st grade programs. Good luck and try not to worry!

  • 111. Duallanguage  |  November 30, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Please share thoughts about Sabin’s and Talcott’s dual language program. Pluses and minuses.

    Inter-American is too far.

  • 112. 2ndTimeAround  |  November 30, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    Just an FYI for those of you waiting for kindergarten scores for kids who tested before the November 17th deadline – spoke with a woman at OAE just now and she said that the letters are going out this Friday and if you don’t receive yours by Tuesday, then you can call and they will email you the scores. Good luck!

  • 113. hopeful  |  November 30, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Any thoughts on NTA and Skinner North from tonight’s Open Houses?

  • 114. new2this  |  November 30, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I am eager to see the scores but Im not sure what the difference really makes. I mean, if my son gets a score of 95% or higher I personally think thats good but is it good enough? People get in with score as low as 93% or as high as 99%. Edison was my top choice. How are we supposed to guess that the scores we receive are good enough. I put Skinner N as well but again, what percentage will get him in? Your guess is as good as mine. = /

  • 115. parent  |  December 1, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    It doesn’t make much difference if your kid is scoring above 95 percentile on both tests. It makes a difference if your kid scores much higher on one test — you can adjust your application and simply leave off one type of school, if it’s obvious they aren’t in the running. Or, you might find out that your kid isn’t eligible at all, and then you’ll know to figure out other options.

  • 116. relaxedmom  |  December 2, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    @114 well your tier plays a major part. If you live in tier 4 you need 99% at least. There are soooo many tier 4 applicants so you will be competing with a large number. However if you live in tier 2 or 3 your chances of getting picked is greater. RGC minimum score is 115.

  • 117. relaxedmom  |  December 2, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    @113 I did attend NTA’s open house and I love it. It moved from #3 on my list to #2. I love the curriculum they offer and all the extracurricular activities they have, Spanish, art, music, swimming, ALL SPORTS etc. Its well diverse and centrally located. Even the Achievers program seem to be doing well.

  • 118. Stilldeciding  |  December 5, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Relaxed mom, would you consider NTA for neighborhood lottery? I went to OH also and thought there were many pluses.

  • 119. southsidedad  |  December 5, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Has anyone received selective enrollment testing results? We are getting a little nervous now. OAE said they have mailed the scores out through USPS on Friday.

  • 120. Waiting for Test Scores  |  December 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    @ 119 I just talked with OAE this morning and they confirmed they mailed them Friday. They said if you don’t get the letter by Wednesday to call and they will e-mail it.

  • 121. new2this  |  December 5, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    At least I know I’m not the only one. No scores here. I’m on the northside and sometimes I mail something to my mom on the southside and she always gets it the next day. What’s the hold up?! Grrrr

  • 122. trying to make cps work  |  December 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    received SEES scores today (hyde park area), but with a 114 looks like we should cross lenart off our list. anyone have any thoughts on the southside classical schools? i also considered NTA but it looked like it would be hard to get in based on overcrowding. 1st kid going to K 2017 and next kid in 2018, so i’d like there to be a chance of getting sibling in.

  • 123. Workingmama9  |  December 5, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    This is such a horribly stressful process! Hang in there everyone! If anyone has questions about Skinner North, I’d be happy to answer whatever I can. Both of my kids are there (one is in his third year, and the other is in kindergarten). The kids also ride the bus to and from school, so I can do my best to answer q’s about that too. Good luck to all 🙂

  • 124. 2ndTimeAround  |  December 5, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Received scores (in North Center neighborhood) for K. We are in Coonley for neighborhood school so was testing to see if he would get into RGC – he scored a 133 which I believe is too low for Coonley (seems like historically the lowest they have gone is a 143 or so). He waited 2 hours to be tested and was exhausted/hungry by the time he went in to the test so wasn’t expecting much from the scores. Good luck everyone. Onward!

  • 125. Tryingforfirst  |  December 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    @workingmama last year my daughter had 137 and didn’t get into Lenart until the second round. Second round scores were equally high for NTA

  • 126. Tryingforfirst  |  December 5, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    For those asking about reading for first. My oldest was not a fluent reader and was accepted in a first grade ato Keller.

  • 127. Social1  |  December 5, 2016 at 7:13 pm

    I got scores back today in the Englewood area. I wish they gave cutoff scores for kindergarten like they do the upper grades. I’m glad to know my daughter qualified, but I have no idea what her chances are.

  • 128. math  |  December 5, 2016 at 7:32 pm

    There are no cut off scores. Kids living in Tier 1 neighborhoods scored as low as the mid-70s for Skinner North last year. I think that a certain percentage of kids is needed from each Tier? Does anyone know if this is true?

  • 129. Social1  |  December 5, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    @Math, after the top 30% overall, I believe each tier gets an equal number of seats. The minimum for classical is 75th percentile and 115 for gifted. I do have a classical school on my list and if kids got in with mid 70’s then my daughter will be fine because she scored in the 90’s in reading and 80’s in math. Thanks for that info.

  • 130. Workingmama9  |  December 5, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    @math…”Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools: For the entry-grade levels at Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools, the first 30% of available seats at each school are filled strictly according to the student scores – also referred to as the ‘rank’ score – the seats are filled by the top-scoring students. The remaining seats are equally distributed among the four tiers and are filled by the highest scoring students in each tier. In non-entry level grades, students are selected on the basis of their admissions results alone. There is no sibling preference for Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools.”

    The above was taken directly from the Options for Knowledge Guide. When my kids tested (last year and three years ago), the minimum requirement for Kindergarten entry to classical schools was 80th percentile and above, regardless of tier. Don’t know if that changed for this year, but I question the 70th percentile score for SN acceptance.

  • 131. Dad  |  December 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Got our scores today: 94 Reading, 95 Math, 132 RGC. Tier 2, hoping for Poe, McDade or Lenart. Iffy.

  • 132. Dad  |  December 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    K, Btw

  • 133. LPMom  |  December 5, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    How do we get a sense for minimum cut off rank scores for SEES testing? We received scores today and want to understand if it’s worth applying to certain schools and/or if we should strategize our school ranking some way. Thanks in advance to anyone who might offer some insight!

  • 134. Workingindowntown  |  December 5, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    @Dad,can I know whether your son can do subtraction or two digits addition to get 95 for math? Trying to get an estimate of my son’s math score.

  • 135. Dad  |  December 5, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    @working, yes she can do both (without carrying for two digit addition). But she could tell us nothing about the test afterward so I don’t know how applicable any of it was towards her score.

  • 136. Social1  |  December 6, 2016 at 7:59 am

    @workingindowntown since the test is completely oral, I’d be surprised if they were doing 2 digit addition, particularly with regrouping. I guess it’s possible though. I’ve heard the math doesn’t really seem like math. Many kids, my daughter included came out saying they didn’t do math. She didn’t get a great math score, but an 83 surely isn’t bad. However, like dad’s daughter, mine didn’t tell us anything about the test other than she was asked a lot of questions.

  • 137. WTH?!?!  |  December 6, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Did anybody else’s child bomb this test? I never considered my daughter gifted, but her scores are shockingly low and concerning. Thankfully, she has sibling preference at a top magnet . . . but yikes!!! Should I potentially seek further evaluation for an underlying learning disability? She’s been working with a wonderful tutor (who administers gifted tests at Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development) and speech therapist for upwards of a year. They never led me to believe she’s anything other than a typical five-year-old.

  • 138. SN parent  |  December 6, 2016 at 8:47 am

    My son got a 97 on the math and I don’t think he can do two digit addition. He can do basic subtraction and addition and he loves playing with numbers and often thinks about how numbers work/what they mean. He has an innate interest in math and we haven’t done any test prep.

  • 139. Learning CPS  |  December 6, 2016 at 9:18 am

    @ 137 – Don’t get too caught up in what this test says about your child’s abilities, I wouldn’t give it any worry.

    My child got a 70 in the reading section, so they won’t be joining their older sibling at an SEES school. When my older child tested several years ago they had almost identical scores in math/RGC (92 Math and 133 RGC) but got a 99.9 in reading. First child was a motivated reader pretty much self-taught by age 4. Second child is already 5, can read some words, knows all letters and has shown zero interest in really learning to read – but that has been the learning pattern for everything so far; only really learns/shows something when ready, not on other people’s timelines or requests.

    The low test score in reading this time doesn’t concern me at all.
    In fact, we pretty much expected a result like this but had hoped to be pleasantly surprised. I’m disappointed my kids can’t be in the same school, but we are happy with our local school and I strongly suspect the SEES my older child is at would be a terrible fit for kid #2. Different kids, different learning styles, different needs…but not indicative of any learning issues because one kid got in an SEES and one didn’t.

    On the super bright side, now I don’t have to go through the stress of deciding to pull my second child out of SEES later because it isn’t working 😉

  • 140. WTH?!?!  |  December 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    @ Learning CPS: I wouldn’t be panicking over a score of 70 either. My daughter got a 37 in reading and 16 (!!!) in math. OMG! Her older brother had scored in the 90s for both. Anyway, I’ve already spoken with her speech therapist and she’ll evaluate her ASAP to put a kindergarten readiness plan in place. Maybe some good can come out of this experience. <<>>

  • 141. Learning CPS  |  December 6, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    @140 – Glad you have a resource already to help you look at this further, though I still would say not to put a lot of stock in these scores as a significant barometer. Find out what the speech therapist has to say…she knows her better and that environment is probably more comfortable for your daughter to be at her best. Then base any next steps on that evaluation.

    And if this does turn out to be a catalyst to making sure your daughter is fully able to be successful in K and beyond, then like you said, that’s good thing!

  • 142. data hound  |  December 6, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    Sigh. It’s that time of the year again and we are evaluating (again) the options for my twin daughters (will be entering into 1st grade in 2017).

    It’s hard not to be focused on test scores – I admit to much gnashing of teeth last year and trying not to do it again this year but I doubt I’ll succeed. In fact, I was so frustrated that I FOIA’d CPS a few times last yr for test score data. It took them a while (and I had to appeal their original decision to deny my request) but I was able to get partial data for kindergarten offers at Lenart, NTA, Pritzker RGC, Pritzker Magnet, Sheridan and Skinner.

    If you really want to see data surrounding test scores and offers, I recommend that you FOIA CPS at


    In the meantime, here is a quick recap of the data I received regarding 2016 kindergarten offers.

    -offers made: 45
    -gifted score (min-max): 129-156
    -classical math (min-max):26-99
    -classical reading(min-max):15-99.6

    -offers made: 72
    -gifted score (min-max): 130-160
    -classical math (min-max):18-99.9
    -classical reading(min-max): 14-99.9

    Pritzker Magnet:
    -offers made: 37 (8 of the offers were made to children who did not get tested)
    -gifted score (min-max): 94-152
    -classical math (min-max): 23-99
    -classical reading(min-max): 15-98

    Pritzker RGC:
    -offers made: 57
    -gifted score (min-max): 132-156
    -classical math (min-max): 21-99
    -classical reading(min-max):20-99.8

    -offers made: 60
    -gifted score (min-max): 83-144
    -classical math (min-max): 7-99
    -classical reading(min-max): 24-99

    Skinner North:
    -offers made: 90
    -gifted score (min-max): 91-153
    -classical math (min-max):76-99.9
    -classical reading(min-max): 75-99.9

  • 143. Bus Questions  |  December 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm


    I am curious about the bus situation. Are the younger kids with the older kids on the bus? Is there a bus aide on board to keep them out of trouble? If we are lucky enough to get a K offer at an SE, we would have to put him on a bus to school, so I am nervous.

  • 144. cpsobsessed  |  December 7, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Data hound, how did you word your foia request? I can submit one for us.

  • 145. mawi  |  December 7, 2016 at 11:08 am

    @Bus questions

    I attended the open house of Decatur and someone asked about bus service. They said there is no aide in the bus.

  • 146. 312Mama  |  December 7, 2016 at 11:11 am

    @WTH – I feel you. My son didn’t necessarily “bomb”, but he did average at best in the classical scores, and missed the gifted cut-off by one point. He’s been in a private Montessori school for 3 years and can sight read, and do basic math problems. He picks up on things very easily and we’ve always gotten glowing feedback from his teachers in terms of his learning abilities. Apparently that didn’t translate at all in his test-taking abilities. I never expected him to score 99 on the tests or anything, but I also thought he’d have a shot at making the bare minimum to qualify, which really bums me out. I followed the CPS guidelines to not do any test-prepping, aside from the fact I really couldn’t bring myself to put that much pressure on a 4 year old. It is what it is. I hate that the lower than expected scores made me feel like maybe there was something wrong with my son at first. That really can’t be the correlation there. His speech, focus, and learning abilities are totally developmentally normal. It just did not translate in whatever test they gave him, unfortunately.

  • 147. Learning CPS  |  December 7, 2016 at 11:21 am

    @ 143 – We’ve used the bus for 4 years now, starting in K. No aide on the bus, and there are good drivers and not-so-good ones in terms of both being on time and managing the kids. Each pick up school should have at least one bus monitor to help make sure kids are getting on/off the right buses/stops. Younger and older kids are all together, but some drivers have the younger kids sit up front closer to them. Service can be spotty at times, depending on the company and the driver. Love our driver this year.

    All that said, the bus has been the main reason our child has been able to go to an SEES school, and most of the time it has been fine. Biggest issues for us have been late buses, not problems with kids on the bus.

  • 148. 2ndTimeAround  |  December 7, 2016 at 11:25 am

    My daughter takes the bus home from a SEES and has been since Kindergarten (she’s in 2nd grade now). Kids of all grade levels are on the bus and she actually enjoys that aspect of it. She now has a few good friends and familiar faces from other grade levels. There is not an aid on the bus unless there is a child riding who has an IEP that requires an aid. My daughter has never had an aid on her particular bus. The bus drivers tend to be pretty strict and set expectations/rules. They will let the parents or school know if there is a real behavior problem on the bus, but it is variable from driver to driver. The school makes sure all of the kids get on the bus who are supposed to (especially the kindergarteners and younger students). At many of the schools where children are dropped off in the afternoon (not always your neighborhood school since CPS consolidated stops last year) there is a person who monitors the bus arrivals and checks to see if there are kids who have gotten off the bus and don’t have someone to pick them up, but this is not a guarantee (with budget cuts some of those positions have been eliminated). My daughter’s school is about 25 minutes from our home when I drive her and she still manages to get home by 4:05 (school dismisses at 3:30) on the bus, so she has a quick ride of only 35 minutes. Some kids are on for much longer – it totally depends on the bus route and which stop you happen to be. Stops and times also change every year so you can’t ever be sure that it will be at the same location or time from year to year or that bussing won’t be cut altogether. Welcome to the wonderful world of CPS! Overall, we have been very happy with the bus this year and it is definitely an integral part in what makes an SEES work for our family.

  • 149. workingmama9  |  December 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Bus Questions…My oldest has ridden the bus since kindergarten, and now my youngest (in K) rides with him. I’ll be totally honest, in that there have been some issues with the older kids on the bus. We had a VERY serious incident last year. However, everything is totally dependent on who rides what route. There has been an aide on our route for the past two years, and from other parents I’ve talked to, most routes seem to have one. They try to be aware of any issues and help smooth them out. My oldest had a very basic cell phone when he was in K. We got a lot of flack for doing so, but we wanted him to be able to communicate with us since the bus ride is over an hour each way. It has also helped having the little ones sit up in the front of the bus, since the older kids tend to sit towards the back. Busing is a necessity for so many families, and it can feel really stressful for the parents. It can also be a helpful thing too. My little one falls asleep every day on the way home from school, which allows for a much needed nap! My oldest has time to get some homework and reading done on the long rides too. Don’t let the busing scare you. 99% of the time there are no problems.

  • 150. data hound  |  December 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    cps obsessed — you have to word it carefully so they give you the data you want in the format you want. For example, when I FOIA’d, I asked for the data in Excel and basically gave the column headings for each of the data points. each offer was a row across the spreadsheet. I then took this data and used Excel’s pivot table function to get to min/max/record count/etc. Looking at the FOIA archives can give you an idea of which requests work well.


    You can’t FOIA personal information for privacy/security reasons but you can ask for other types of information. If they deny the request, they have to tell you why they are denying it and then you have the right to appeal. In my situation, I had asked for the Tier level, date of offer and test scores for each offer made (for each school/program requested). CPS had an issue with the requested details narrowing down the number of records to a point where CPS was worried about violating privacy rules. I frankly don’t agree (my argument was that there is no way to decipher a child’s identity using just the Tier level, school, offer date and test scores) but it took so long that I finally gave in to the compromise. I was able to receive the # of offers by date in a separate file (can’t connect to test scores) and limited information on Tiers. Glancing through the 360-ish records on the Excel spreadsheet, the tiers redacted must either be in Tier 1 or 2, and presumably because there were less than 10 offers made in those Tiers for that school.

    Hope that helps and good luck!

  • 151. mawi  |  December 7, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    My daughter’s scores are RGC 118, Reading 99.7, Math 76..Tier 3.
    Is there any chance? Thank you.

  • 152. classical parent  |  December 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Regarding previous comments on what is on the math portion of the classical test, my child took the test last year and was particularly chatty afterwards. She said that there were questions about time, measurement, number recognition, and the classification and addition of money. She said that she did not have any standard math (addition or subtraction) questions. She scored 99.9% math and 97% reading. As an aside, she absolutely could not read when she took this test – she had good letter recognition and some sight words but that is all. In fact, she did not learn to read until weeks before kindergarten started, which I am thankful for because her entire classical class came in as fluent readers, with the majority reading chapter books. Not sure what would have happened if she didn’t learn before school started.

  • 153. SNparent  |  December 7, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    The whole test is so baffling to me because my son can read pretty comfortably and scored a 77% on reading (97% on math). Just goes to show that it just depends on the day and that they are 4 years old so it’s pretty much a crapshoot – don’t read too much into the test.

  • 154. cpsobsessed  |  December 7, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    Looking back on the K test from the vantage point of time, my son had a preK friend who was really smart. You could tell from talking to him that he was really intelligent. Could converse more like an adult, brought up interesting topics, make astute observation.

    He didn’t test into an Options program in K or 1st grade. I think by around 3rd grade he finally got a Classical offer (didn’t take it, stayed in private.)

    He now tests really well and will likely have his choice of the top selective high schools in March.

    So as SNparent says, don’t read too much into it. Could be the day, could be that some kids take a bit longer to test in a way that reflects their abilities. And some kids who are very talented never test well on those standardized tests.

  • 155. data hound  |  December 7, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    agree on the testing and not reading to much into them. My sister-in-law is in elementary ed and she says the test results aren’t necessarily reflective at such a young age because environmental factors (shyness, scared of strangers, scared of unfamiliar room, didn’t have a good breakfast, worried about Christmas presents, etc.) can really affect the scores when they are so young. When my girls took their kindergarten test last year, the one that we thought would test lower actually came out with the higher score and the one we thought would test well did very poorly. really shocked us. After 2 months of kindergarten, we are starting to get an idea of why that probably happened – we’ve learned a lot about our kids when they are away from family (they never went to day care or preschool) and we think their personality when they are away from family affects their testing ability.

    Some additional testing anecdotes from our girl who tested lower than we expected: 1) despite speaking English as the primarily language and being our strongest chatterbox at home, she failed an ESL test and we got a letter from the school recommending she needed ESL resources. She maybe knows 10 words in the other language which we sometimes speak at home. apparently they took her into a separate room on the 2nd day of school to test her and she was mute the whole time thus, they had to rank her as needing ESL 2) she did miserable on her entry math assessment in kindergarten b/c she didn’t have headphones while doing the computer-based assessment. She came home that afternoon and told us all about how she didn’t have headphones when all the other kids did. When we asked whether she told the teacher she said no. can’t decide to laugh or cry!

  • 156. new2this  |  December 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I don’t know what to make of these scores. My son did start reading at an early age so I anticipated 90 or higher. scored 99.9..when he came out of the test he said there was no math. That had be worried..scored..73% RGC 139.Edison was my first choice and now fear I may not have any options at all. I’m in tier 4. I will change my ranking today. Is there hope for any RGC? Was thinking Coonley. Please advise..

  • 157. helpfulmom  |  December 7, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    @151 mawi. Your child did excellent. The fact that your child went in with a stranger and endured a 20-30 minute drill of question after question and came out smiling is awesome. The requirement for RGC is 115 so you qualify however some of the schools like Lenart, NTA etc look for higher around 130ish or even higher than that. For classical you need to be in the 80th percentile ( I heard from one school) for both reading and math. Hope that helps!

  • 158. waiting and waiting!  |  December 7, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Anyone else not yet received their child’s scores? We’re down to the wire for my incoming kindergartner and I hate throwing away choice on schools he may not test into 😦

  • 159. 2ndTimeAround  |  December 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    We received our scores, but when I called OAE last week to ask when they would be mailed she said that if you don’t receive your letter by Tuesday (yesterday) that you can call and they will email you the scores while you are on the phone. Call them – they are generally very helpful.

  • 160. LSmom  |  December 7, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    @156, if you want a better chance of getting an RCG spot, I’d include Pritzker and NTA if the locations are feasible. Since you can rank six, there’s no harm in listing Coonley and Edison first but in recent years they haven’t gone below the 140s.

  • 161. LSmom  |  December 7, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    From the numbers data hound posted (thank you for sharing!) it looks like the classical cutoff was lowered to 75?

  • 162. waiting and waiting!  |  December 7, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    @2ndTimeAround Thank you for the tip! I had to sit on hold forever but they said the results will be emailed within 24 hours. Super helpful!

  • 163. cpsobsessed  |  December 7, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    @Data Hound, were any of the top RGC scores higher than 160? I see that as the top at NTA – was wondering if any were higher as we’ve speculated on that before.

  • 164. southsidedad  |  December 7, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    @158 We did not receive a letter by the end of day yesterday, so I called OAE first thing this morning and received an E-mail with our daughter’s score at 4pm.

  • 165. Social1  |  December 7, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I thought early testing was gonna help relieve my stress because it would give me some idea, but it hasn’t. I am glad to have my daughter’s scores early, but it didn’t give me the relief I was hoping for. We’re tier 1 and I haven’t seen any other tier one parents on here to share their experiences with acceptance and scores. My daughter scored 125 RGC
    93rd reading and 83 math. I’m hoping she’ll get a seat at one of our choices.

  • 166. southsidedad  |  December 8, 2016 at 2:07 am

    Now we got our daughter’s score, I have more questions than answers:

    RGC Score: 151
    Classical Reading: 99.9
    Classical Math: 86
    Tier: 3

    So I guess SN or SW is out of the picture as her math score is low. We would have good chance of getting into a RGC program, but have concerns about a lot of them. We would love to go to Edison, but it is very far from Hyde Park. NTA would be a good fit, with later start time than most RGCs and newer facilities. However, we were not able to go to NTA open house and CPS websites information about the school seems outdated, as it still lists NTA a neighborhood school. Did anyone go to NTA’s open house? How many gifted class versus neighborhood class each year? How ethnically diverse is the school/RGC class? The CPS website lists 3% Asian, 80% African American, 5% White and 7% Hispanic, does this sounds right? Any additional information about NTA is much appreciated!

  • 167. SN parent  |  December 8, 2016 at 7:50 am

    Coming from a tier 3 with a 99.9 R (even withva lower math score) you actually have a good chance for SN and SW. I wouldn’t rule either out. I don’t know anything about nta but that’s a fabulous RGC score so she should def get in to any RGC (again, especially from a tier 3).

  • 168. not_a_tiger_mom  |  December 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Can anyone share insights on how high does a child need to score to be considered for Skinner West kindergarten class?

    DS scored:
    R: 99
    M: 96
    RGC: 126

    Tier 3

  • 169. SN mom  |  December 8, 2016 at 9:42 am

    From tier 3 your child has a very good chance for SW and even SN.

  • 170. NewToThis  |  December 8, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Our son received a 99.9 in reading and 99.9 in math (but only a 105 on the RGC test). We are in Tier 4. Is there any possibility that he would not get in to Skinner North? Perhaps a silly question but we are new to all of this and are trying to plan for next year.

  • 171. SNparent  |  December 8, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I would imagine he will definitely get in with those scores. Congrats!

  • 172. Social1  |  December 8, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Do you have data for any other schools? I was hoping for Lenart, but I see their lowest score was 129 and my daughter scored 125. I’m wondering what the Mcdade scores were. They’re our second choice. Thanks in advance for any info you can share.

  • 173. Workingmama9  |  December 8, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Something for everyone to keep in mind….there are multiple rounds of selection for SEES schools. If your child doesn’t get in on the first round, there are offers made up through the end of summer, and sometimes into the very early fall. Not everyone accepts offers that are made for their child, which allows CPS to move to the next name on the list. Our family friend’s daughter got an offer to their first choice school in late August for this year! Once you get the scores, just do your best to put it out of your mind until offers start going out. No need to stress about it for the next few months! Having said that, do remember that most private schools have deadlines in the winter for registration. Some require a deposit, but not all. If you want to cover your bases just in case, it’s a good idea to try to reserve a spot at your back up option if CPS doesn’t pan out. And also remember, CPS selective enrollment schools aren’t the end all-be all for your child’s education. All parents that are going through this process obviously care very much about their child’s education, and know that they have a very smart little one. With that kind of involvement and dedication, parents can help make any school experience great for their child.

  • 174. Social1  |  December 8, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Great comment, Workingmama9. Thank you!

  • 175. SecondTime  |  December 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I also don’t know if this is still true, but it seemed to me that there were some acceptances last year with lower scores than you would expect – possibly because there was a looming strike so people were turned off by CPS. For example, I had a friend whose son got a 98 R and 82 M in tier 4 for Kindergarten and he was offered a spot at Decatur about 2 weeks into the start of the school year. They declined but I was. Very surprised that they received the offer with that score passed on past trends.

  • 176. helpfulmom  |  December 8, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    @166 southsidedad. your child scores are strong for classical and escpecially strong for gifted. You should have NO problem getting in one of the Skinner’s. If you are south I suggest Lenart and NTA and or Carneige. Carneige being my last choice for gifted. Lenart is very diverse and awesome curriculum and NTA is mostly black however they are becoming more diverse. In addition, I love NTA activities they have language, swimming and ALL the sports

  • 177. helpfulmom  |  December 8, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    does anyone care to comment what their child stated was on the test. Did they have to read a paragraph for reading? For math, did they have to add money? Any tips are greatly appreciated as I am studying now with my child to take the test. thanks so much

  • 178. UptownMommy  |  December 8, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    This may be a silly question, but I’m a bit confused about how the 2 tests and the time-issue relate. Does basically every kid take both the RGC and Classical tests? When a parent says their kid was in the room for X minutes, does that mean the child took both tests in that time?

    @helpfulmom my son told me very little, but I doubt he read a paragraph. He is only just able to sound out short words. He mentioned coins, but I don’t think he could do more than very simple addition/subtraction. I asked him what the teacher said if he got the answers wrong and he said she told him to try again. If he got it right she said “great job!” The only other thing I could get out of him was that it was “really hard” and that there were some pictures of animals.

    We applied to both RGC and Classical schools, and he was in the room for 45 minutes. I was actually worried they lost him. He used the restroom before the test and swears they didn’t give him a break. So I’m going to guess 25 of those minutes were her saying “try again” and the last twenty were spent picking out a sticker. He will be 5 next month.

  • 179. Skinnerparent  |  December 8, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    For kindergarten both the classical and Gifted tests are given at the same time. My son got a 97 on math and he said they did money. I have heard that if they are moving higher up in math then they get to money. He said there wasn’t any reading, but he didn’t do as well on reading so maybe he didn’t get that far – was surprised because he’s a pretty strong reader. He also said there was a lot of “which one of these doesn’t belong?” I’m assuming that was for gifted/critical thinking skills.

  • 180. classical parent  |  December 8, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think there is much actual reading on the test as my child was not reading and scored 97%, so perhaps it is reading readiness? Regarding what was on the test, my daughter told me time, measurement, comparing sizes, money (including adding coins), fill in the first letter of a word (E.g. cat), patterns (square, square, circle, etc), matching animal babies/parents, and finally putting words/letters in alphabetical order. This is last year, it is possible the test has changed.

  • 181. Jojo  |  December 8, 2016 at 11:19 pm

    Omg..uptownmommy..you cracked me up with your “try again” and “picking out a sticker”…lol…thanks for making this stressful time a little lighter tonite.
    Doing this the third time. .one kid at RGC, one at a Classical and now preparing for the 3rd kid..hoping for either one. Good luck everyone.

  • 182. UptownMommy  |  December 8, 2016 at 11:30 pm

    😀 Good luck Jojo!

  • 183. data hound  |  December 9, 2016 at 9:49 am

    @cpsobsessed – no, I didn’t see anything higher than 160 for RGC scores.

    @LSMom – it’s hard to know if they lowered a “cut off” from last year because when I did the analysis previously, I just did min-max for each test score which mixes the scores for any particular student.

    From the data I received (just the Lenart/Pritzker/NTA programs though) the 5 highest RGC scores that received RGC offers for kindergarten in 2016 were:

    Program Name Name Tier GIFT CLAMath CLARead
    Regional Gifted NTA 4 160.00 97.00 95.00
    Regional Gifted Lenart 4 156.00 70.00 63.00
    Regional Gifted Pritzker 4 156.00 70.00 63.00
    Regional Gifted Pritzker 3 155.00 92.00 91.00
    Regional Gifted Pritzker 3 153.00 86.00 70.00

    the lowest scores RGC scores that received offers were (note these low scores “conveniently” have the Tier info redacted):

    Program Name Name Tier GIFT CLAMath CLARead
    Regional Gifted NTA * 131.00 58.00 65.00
    Regional Gifted NTA * 130.00 46.00 25.00
    Regional Gifted NTA * 130.00 67.00 81.00
    Regional Gifted Lenart * 129.00 93.00 68.00
    Regional Gifted Lenart * 129.00 80.00 70.00

    For classical, it is a little harder to compare b/c there are separate math/reading scores. If I take the avg of math and reading scores, the highest avg which received a Skinner North (this was the only classical school I requested) offer for kindergarten last yr are:

    Program Name Name Tier GIFT CLAMath CLARead
    Classical Schools Skinner North 4 142.00 99.90 99.90
    Classical Schools Skinner North 2 139.00 99.90 99.90
    Classical Schools Skinner North 4 130.00 99.90 99.90
    Classical Schools Skinner North 4 130.00 99.90 99.90
    Classical Schools Skinner North 3 123.00 99.80 99.90

    the lowest avg (of math and reading scores) which received an offer are:

    Program Name Name Tier GIFT CLAMath CLARead
    Classical Schools Skinner North 1 144.00 84.00 77.00
    Classical Schools Skinner North 1 111.00 80.00 78.00
    Classical Schools Skinner North 1 109.00 80.00 78.00
    Classical Schools Skinner North 1 96.00 79.00 78.00
    Classical Schools Skinner North 1 114.00 78.00 75.00

    I’m happy to forward the actual excel spreadsheet I received from CPS but am unsure how to share it without asking someone to post their email address on this blog (or posting my own) for the world to see. I’m also happy to work with someone with more training as a statistician to run numbers/trends for the group (keeping in mind that none of this predicts how offers are made in the future) It’s likely too late to help much with this year’s application but next year?

  • 184. kotharijayh  |  December 9, 2016 at 10:09 am

    @cpsobssesed, can you upload it to google drive or something and just share that link? I would be interested to take a look at the actual sheet and can help summarize the same? Does it include data for all classical and RGC schools?

  • 185. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2016 at 11:39 am

    @data hound, if you can send me the sheet to CPSObsessed@gmail.com I can make a google doc to share.

  • 186. cpsobsessed  |  December 9, 2016 at 11:40 am

    And btw, nice job on the FOIA! I always assumed this info was totally off limits.

  • 187. Social1  |  December 9, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    @datahound I see they listed all 3 scores for each school. Do they combine all three a total score? I assumed they only looked at the gifted for gifted and classical for classical. Can you or anybody else speak on this? Thanks!

  • 188. data hound  |  December 9, 2016 at 2:31 pm

    @Social1 – not sure. I was thinking the same as you, gifted score for gifted program and classical scores for classical program. I asked for all test scores since I knew every kindergartner would have all 3.
    I didn’t ask details of how they used those scores to determine offers. It might be a good FOIA question although they might come back with “we use a lot of variables, etc. etc.)

    @cpsobsessed – I just sent you what I have for the 6 programs. I’ll contact CPS and see if they will release for all gifted and classical programs.

  • 189. 312Mama  |  December 9, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Is there a way for them to retake the test? I’m just baffled at how he did so poorly. He can read, sort sizes, he knows his alphabet backwards and forwards, can do simple math problems. I’m just at a loss here.

  • 190. Momto3kids  |  December 9, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    @312Mama – I had twins take the test. I thought for sure that my daughter would do really, really well. But no, she did average. Her brother scored 20 points higher than her and qualifies for the RGC while she does not. It doesn’t make much sense to me either, except I know that my daughter is really, really shy with people that she doesn’t know. My son can talk anyone’s ears off so I’m sure that he just felt more comfortable quicker. She tends to clam up. I don’t think they’re allowed to retest if they’ve been exposed to the test.

  • 191. cpswonderland  |  December 9, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    @312Mama Last year, my daughter who was able to do two digit addition&subtraction, simple multiplication, tell the time but she wasn’t able to recognise money (I didn’t introduce her to money, at that time) got only 49 on Math section of the test! And she was at least 40 minutes inside with the proctor. I was shocked and in disbelief when we got the results. Reading was in low 90s (although she was reading at the time at 2nd grade level). So, what I realised is that some children are not good at taking tests and knowing my daughter, I know she was probably giving compliments to the proctor and not concentrating on the questions. p.s. My daughter tested for kindergarten and at the time she was 5 years and 4 months old.

  • 192. Concerned  |  December 10, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I received a phone call yesterday asking me to bring in my son to finish his test since, I believe she said, there is a test validity concern. Has this happened to anyone else?

  • 193. Jen K  |  December 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    @192 my now-8th grader was called back when she was testing for K. For some reason she was not given the complete assessment.

  • 194. new2this  |  December 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    @192 did you ask whats the reason? Had you already received his scores? First time I’m hearing of this. Hmmmm

  • 195. Abbey  |  December 11, 2016 at 1:03 am

    @192 We had to return because they didn’t ask my son some questions, apparently. Different reason, but it seems that it’s something that happens. I wasn’t very happy about having to come back because of their mistake, but we were in and out in about 15 minutes the second time around.

  • 196. Northwest Side Dad  |  December 11, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Is my child more than likely to get into either Coonley (1st choice) or Edison (2nd choice) with RGC: 152 Tier 3. ? The classical scores are reading 90, math 86. We prefer the RGC programs, but applied to the various classics around the north side. I really want to rest easy this winter, but it will not be easy until April!

  • 197. One rare reason your child's score is "low"  |  December 12, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    This is going to freak some of you out (and that is NOT my intention!), but it just points to making sure you AND CPS fill out forms accurately. Six years ago, our friend’s VERY bright (talking and reading early, really good at math) child did not get into the 1st grade at the RGC they wanted. In fact, her score was very low, something like a 80 or something on the RGC exam.

    Come to find out, CPS had the kindergartener child listed as a 7th grader, as if she was trying for an academic center seat! (No clue where the mistake was made and if the same type of mistake like this can still happen these days). Of course her scores would be low if they were comparing her to a 13 year old!

    They re-tested her the following year and she got something crazy high and was offered a fairly rare open seat in the program, where BTW, she does very well!

    If your child’s scores are much, much lower than you thought, try to circle back and make sure they have the correct birthdate.

  • 198. LSmom  |  December 12, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    @196, last year (and in previous years) you’d get your first choice spot with that score, even if you were in Tier 4. I think it’s highly likely that you’ll get into Coonley this year.

  • 199. helpfulmom  |  December 14, 2016 at 11:59 am

    thank you sooooo much all parents replied to what was on the test. Great tips!

  • 200. HSObsessed  |  December 15, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    The topic of families falsifying addresses in order to gain entrance to some of the top-scoring CPS schools comes up occasionally on this site. Here’s proof that it’s not just urban legend: Suburban parents have been found guilty of this recently and have to pull their children out of Northside, Jones, Lane, Bell and Decatur. The question of whether CPS ever investigates the use of sham addresses in order to be considered living in a lower tier for admissions purposes is still open, though.


  • 201. Chicago School GPS  |  December 15, 2016 at 3:50 pm

    This link has the 88 page document posted on Scribd with details and somewhere mid-doc is where Chicago folks (including CPS employees) used lower tiers for admissions. The report also goes into detail about spending, fundraising, vendor payments, etc. deemed inappropriate. The ridiculous $10K vendor spending limit is asinine. No wonder why CPS principals are frustrated.

  • 202. HSObsessed  |  December 15, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    @201 – Thanks for that link. Yes, so starting on page 22 of the actual report from the IG, much detail about 18 students whose parents were found to have committed fraud in using false addresses in a lower tier in order to increase chances of admission. Some of them still did not receive offers. Those who did had the students disenrolled and banned from gaining admission to any selective enrollment programs in the future. At least one parent was a CPS employee, and he was fired. This shows that they do investigate and take action.

  • 203. harry potter  |  December 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    @201,and principals have to come up with a lengthy and difficult to implement attendance remediation program if their school attendance drops below 95%. It is my opinion that outside of creating an open and enjoyable atmosphere, it is 100% NOT EVER a school’s responsibility to ensure student attendance. That job falls squarely on the shoulders of parents. I am sure this is part of why so many schools falsify attendance data, which Curie HS is now on the spot for doing, just like many other schools have been in the past.

  • 204. harry potter  |  December 15, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    @200, this was just in my town’s newspaper though for city kids enrolling in our suburban high schools and elementary schools under false pretenses. Every good school has this problem. My kids’ high school of about 1200 kids has about 2 dozen families who are kicked out for residency violations every year despite an incredibly intense process of proving residency in the first place. Our district has several people who show up at your door. Happened to my good friend who was living in district but someone thought she and her kids might not be. They looked in her closets and everything. I wonder if CPS goes that far.

  • 205. cpsobsessed  |  December 16, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Interesting — I wonder if they’re going to continue to do this as a scare-tactic. Also wonder how they targeted these specific families?

    I’m so curious what it’s like to be a kid who knows they’re going to a school by cheating/lying to get in? I suppose some parents raise their kids on the “whatever it takes” mentality. I went to college with a few (north shore fwiw) kids like that.

  • 206. Freaking Out  |  January 17, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Over the weekend, my DD spiked a fever, so I decided not to take her for the gifted test. I just got off the phone with OAE to reschedule, and she said that they can’t guarantee that she’ll be able to take the test at all at this point. Of course, now I’m freaking out and cursing myself for not loading her up with Tylenol and making her go. I need someone to talk me off the ledge here. Has anyone been successful in rescheduling the exam? The woman over the phone said they have 400 kids they need to reschedule, and they’ll call me if they can get a group together (2nd grade gifted). Testing is over in mid-Feb. I’m feeling really down right now. Anyone got a pep-talk?

  • 207. Skinnerparent  |  January 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    When my daughter tested she threw up in the waiting room waiting for them to take her back to the test. They told me that they weren’t sure about a retest but they did end up scheduling it. She was going into 1st grade so a group test as well. I’m not sure what time of year it was though (if it was January or December). I was pretty persistent and called them often to get the rescheduled date. Fingers crossed for you!

  • 208. Kindergarten Mama  |  January 17, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Hi parents… Our daughter’s testing date got cancelled due to low enrollment (12.19.2016). Has anyone been rescheduled yet? We can’t do anymore rescheduling because we already used up our privilege. I’m a bit scared…please help!

  • 209. Freaking Out  |  January 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Thanks, Skinnerparent, for the anecdote. It made me feel better. The nice woman on the phone said that if I didn’t hear anything by next Friday, that I could call and check up, but I’m going to go your route and call before then (maybe a few times!)

    @Kindergarten Mama, I think I’d go ahead and call to follow up. We do have some time, but we don’t want our kiddos to slip through the rescheduling cracks!

  • 210. Jen  |  January 17, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Freaking Out,
    If it makes you feel better my daughter was scheduled to take the test yesterday morning. She woke up with no appetite and saying her stomach hurt. No fever and playing around ok, and I was so worried about trying to reschedule so I decided to just have her take the test. Sure enough by later that afternoon she had full on tummy sickness. I will probably always wonder if she could have had a better outcome if I had just rescheduled. And I certainly hope no other kids were affected. Today, the next day, she is fine. I think you made the right choice.

  • 211. Chris  |  January 18, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    ” they’ll call me if they can get a group together”

    imo, you got an “if” just because they don’t want you calling back daily.

    Having done a late cancel before, I would anticipate that your rescheduled time will be the last weekend of offered testing, or perhaps (inconveniently) during the week *after* that.

  • 212. cutekid-mom  |  January 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    My son studies 3rd grade in IPSD-204 school. He is into Accelerated math and will be into Project Arrow next year. We will be moving into CPSD next academic year and he has given his CPS exams.I understand that the classical school themselves are meant for the gifted and talented.
    1.Is there a concept of Accelerated math or Project Arrow in CPS ? 2.Will he be considered for it(any gifted and talented program) in a prospective magnet/classical school?
    3.We are not native english speakers, does this affect the admission process. (he is not into ELS, infact he is 2 grades above his reading level)
    Skinner North Classical, Skinner West Classical, Decatur Classical,
    Coonley RGC, Bell RGC, Keller RGC. I have applied for these schools in the same order.

    PS: I’m sorry if my questions are dumb, We just moved in from a different state. The school system is pretty confusing here.

  • 213. feeder schools  |  January 18, 2017 at 6:29 pm


    The schools you applied to all operate on accelerated academics, one or two grades ahead, so there probably are not any further acceleration programs in them. But many teachers assign individual students to math or reading classes that are appropriately challenging. There are plenty of international families in those schools.

  • 214. @212 cute-kidmom  |  January 19, 2017 at 12:54 am

    Did you apply to the gifted ELL (English Language Learner) schools? There are 3 of them: Greeley, Orozco & Pulaski. I didn’t see any of these schools on your list and unfortunately because you asked so late, I don’t think CPS will accommodate you for the ELL gifted schools…

  • 215. LSmom  |  January 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

    @214, if her child is advanced in reading, not in ESL, he wouldn’t need the ELL schools. @212, the programs you applied to generally add a few seats for fourth grade so it’s a good time to try for a spot.

  • 216. cutekid-mom  |  January 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you for your Inputs @feeder schools, @214 and LSmom..Yes he is not into ESL, so I had not applied for the ELL schools.
    I had applied based on the ratings from school digger and greatschool. seems I am on the right path…

  • 217. ACH  |  January 20, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    So we missed the boat on attending Open Houses and tours this fall and did all of our research online for enrolling my son in kindergarten this fall. I guess I assumed there would be more tour sessions in the new year but I’ve called about half the schools we applied for but none seem to have any more tours or open houses till this fall. So are we just screwed as far as actually checking out a school in person before we make our decision this spring? Are there other ways to get a sense of the school?

  • 218. Jen K  |  January 20, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    @217 our school offers a tour for families that are accepted – before they have to make a final decision. Others may do the same.

  • 219. Hillary  |  January 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    How long did your kiddos test for if they were testing for kindergarten? Just curious to see what the “normal” time for testing is. Does longer test time equal a better score? Thanks!!

  • 220. feeder schools  |  January 21, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    There seemed to be a correlation between very long testing (more than 50 minutes, for example) and high classical school scores (approaching double 99.9%). Tests lasting less than 20 minutes probably is too short to go through enough questions to yield high scores, whether classical or RGC.

  • 221. Hillary  |  January 21, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Thanks for the info!!! My daughter was in for 40 mins. Hopefully, she did well!!

  • 222. Vote  |  January 22, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    Would anyone know wether there is any open spot for Skinner north 5th grade in 2017-2018

  • 223. veteran parent  |  January 22, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    217 – go to LSC meetings, parent meetings, or PTA meetings.
    Also, consider attending public/community events that the school produces (concerts, plays, performances, fairs, fundraisers, etc.)
    You will meet students, parents, faculty and community supporters in these venues and all will likely be helpful in giving you a better understanding of the school culture. (My husband went to a Playground Clean-up (Spring) event at the school we eventually attended and met parents with kids in numerous grade levels. It was pivotal in our comfort and decision making process.)

    As a last resort, take your kids and visit the playground at school dismissal…i’m sure you got that idea already.

    If you introduce yourself as interested in the school…. there’s a good chance you may win yourself a private tour (ok, maybe this will only work for neighborhood schools….rather than selective enrollment options)

    As a PSA to newbies… Most schools rely on parents to hold, manage and advertise Open House opportunities…. many schools whose admin. produce the Open Houses may only have 1 or 2 dates… please understand that schools are staffed extremely thin and can’t take on aggressive Open House schedules…. the more ‘in demand’ the school is… the less likely they ‘need’ to extend themselves. Be aware. Oh, and consider ‘paying forward’ after you’ve landed in a school. Schools are always looking for parent volunteers to make Open Houses and tours happen. GL!

  • 224. Tired Mama  |  January 23, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    I have to disagree on the longer testing time=better score topic. Both of my children took the classical and gifted tests to enter kindergarten. My son was in the room for 40 minutes, and a year later my daughter tested for about 20 minutes. They both got almost the exact same scores (99% reading and 99% math), and got accepted into our first choice school (classical) for kindergarten. They both came out and couldn’t tell me anything that was on the test! I swear they use those little Men in Black mind erasers on them! The outcome totally depends on the child and how focused and willing to participate he or she is that day. Try not to stress and over analyze it. Good luck to all!

  • 225. feeder schools  |  January 23, 2017 at 10:51 pm


    If you read my post clearly, you should be able to see I was connecting very long testing (more than 50 minutes) with high classical school scores (approaching double 99.9%). A score of two 99%, however satisfactory to you, is a little average and outside my interpretive purview.

  • 226. Classical parent  |  January 24, 2017 at 12:43 am

    I agree with feeder schools. from my experience and learning from my other friend’s kids, it’s a good sign if the kids took the test longer. All my friends’ kids and my kids who got accepted to the classical schools (SN and SW) took their tests longer than 40 minutes.

  • 227. Hillary  |  January 24, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Thanks so much for all of this info!! Hopefully, she did well enough to get an offer! She was back for nearly 40 mins (38 mins to be exact). But, all of the other kids who were there at the same time as us, were in and out in 10-20 mins at most. She’s a strong reader and said they asked her to read a lot of sentences with fill in the blank questions. We are hoping for a classical school, but really would be happy with any of the six schools that I put down. We also have a good neighborhood school
    (Audubon), so this is really just to see if she gets in because I think she would enjoy the extra challenge. I appreciate all of your help and feedback!!!

  • 228. Social1  |  January 24, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Tired mama, I completely agree with you. I know students who’ve scored double 99% and we’re back about 30 min and others who scored lower 90s and were back longer. Every child is different. My daughter was the same way, couldn’t tell me anything about the test. Finally, to say 99% is a little average is not only false, but ridiculous and insulting. Good luck to everybody.

  • 229. Tired Mama  |  January 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    “feeder schools”….Grow up! It’s OK for people to disagree with you. I was in no way disrespectful to you, but you chose to act like a child in your response. Why??? And actually, since you brought it up, both of my children scored over 99% for both categories, but I felt it unnecessary to post to the decimals (in fact, one scored >99.9% in both reading and math). So you can call it average all you want, but they both got into SN, our first choice, from tier 4 on the first round.

    My point, “if you read my post clearly”, was to let people know that a longer test time doesn’t always correlate to better scores. The average time among the friends that my children tested with, was around 40-45 minutes. Out of 6 kids that are friends, that tested with my son, he was the only one who got in to any school. When my daughter tested, we had 3 friends that tested at the same time. She tested for 20 minutes and the other two were right around 40. One of those children got in to their top choice on round two, while the other received no offers. I even have a co-worker that had his son tested for just rgc schools for this current year. When his child was only in the room for 15 minutes, he began trying to find out if he could be re-tested. His son was crabby that morning, and was not in the mood for ANYTHING, apparently! Of course, a re-test was not allowed. When he got the letter that his son scored a 155 and got into Edison, he was shocked.

    I don’t know why your purpose seems to be to cause more worry for parents whose children don’t spend a long time testing. My purpose in responding to the question was to ease anxiety that parents feel when it seems that their child didn’t take as long as they feel they should have. We had the same feeling when our daughter only tested for 20 minutes. There is no point in adding additional stress for anyone. CPS testing is a ridiculous, stressful, nerve-wracking process and it shouldn’t be that way. Unfortunately, many of us are stuck with it because so many of the neighborhood schools are so lacking in many areas, and our children seem to be above average in their learning. I wish all the best of luck, and I hope everyone can remain as stress-free as possible!

  • 230. classical parent  |  January 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I think there have been enough anecdotal stories to show that the amount of time in the test has no correlation on the outcome. My child took the test at the same time as a friend’s child. My child was in for over an hour; my friend’s child was in for 10 minutes. Both children scored 99.9 on math and 98 on reading. They both got into the same classical school.

  • 231. UptownMommy  |  February 2, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    @Tired Mama

    *High Five*

  • 232. CP  |  February 10, 2017 at 10:57 am

    My wife and I have a 6 month old, so I know it may be a little early in looking at Kindergarten options, lol. But I am curious, for those whose children scored high on the selective enrollment exams in Reading and Math (95 and higher on both), were your children able to read and do simple math problems (addition and subtraction) before the exam? Basically, I’m trying to put a gamplan together on what to expose our child to, so any feedback is welcomed.

  • 233. Jen K  |  February 10, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    @232 you gameplan should be to not put pressure on yourself for 4.5 years. Read to your baby every day, stimulate your child with age-appropriate toys, let the baby explore and learn organically through playtime. In other words, just do the normal stuff. Selective enrollment elementary schools are not the Grand Prize; you will just have to wait to find the best fit for your child.

  • 234. SkinnerNorthParent  |  February 10, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Agreed! Enjoy and savor babyhood. Log off of this site and don’t look again for another 4 years.

  • 235. cpsobsessed  |  February 10, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    @232 – there are reports of kids who both can and can’t read/do math before the test who have placed into accelerated programs in CPS. Basically, testing a 4 year old is a bit imperfect so I agree with the others — focus on the things your child enjoys and follow their lead. You can’t force a kid to read, but you can read to them, play with letters, play games, etc.

    Research says that talking to your kid and embracing books/reading are the best way to foster enjoyment of those activities and to expose them to new words. I kept those magnetic letters on hand to make into games (once my son was old enough not to eat them.) Basically, just make it fun and work “learning” into everyday life. That’s my advice.

    It worked for getting my kid into a gifted program but doesn’t seem to have lasted to make him care about middle school homework. So take my advice with a grain of salt!! 🙂

  • 236. Momma  |  February 11, 2017 at 12:37 am

    First, I had a rule that if my kids didn’t test high enough to get into a gifted program on their own without test prep, it wasn’t going to work.

    (I did well in school – but I wasn’t a “star student” until second grade.)

    My kids have all “qualified” for RGC schools, but didn’t receive high enough marks to get spots – which was an indicator that it might’ve been a struggle in these early years of learning for them. No sweat off my back.

    My daughter is in a regular neighborhood program for K and she’s doing great. I know that she’s wicked smart in so many ways, but not in the ways that a gifted program might “demand”.

    Read to your child, practice counting, enroll them in a play based pre-school (most of them are) and just let your kid enjoy LEARNING.

    Most CPS schools understand differentiation and work great. RGC and Classical schools are NOT the be all be all that people think they are. It’s probably great to check out your nearby neighborhood schools and see what they’re all about.

  • 237. math  |  February 12, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    @ Momma

    Great points. I think parents get caught up with with the exclusivity of RGC and Classical programs. That being said, I know of a classical program (Skinner West) that does not differentiate well and would rather my daughter attend a neighborhood program that does.

  • 238. Freaking Out  |  February 12, 2017 at 11:00 pm


    Funny you should mention that about SW. I just spoke to a mother yesterday who pulled her kid out of SW because he was doing above two grade levels in math and the teacher refused to differentiate for him, so he was bored.

    Anyway, for those who might be interested in a follow up to my rescheduling post, DD received a new date to take the RGC exam! I called OAE on the day they told me to, and I got the date then. They followed up with a letter in the mail confirming the date and time. One advantage to taking the test so late is that we don’t have to wait as long for the results!

  • 239. slmom  |  February 21, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    @cpsobsessed and @datahound, my son’s score read “160+” on the form received back from cps last year. i took that to mean that the score maxes out at 160.

  • 240. cpsobsessed  |  February 21, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    @239 – interesting. Thank you for the info!

    If I may ask, (since I know people will be curious) – what traits/abilities did your child exhibit that they tested off the chart? Did you expect a score that high?

  • 241. slmom  |  February 21, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    we thought he’d probably do well on the gifted portion (although not necessarily that well), and were not surprised at all at his comparatively low scores on the classical portions (mid-90s, which wouldn’t have gotten him into either of the skinners). it feels a little silly to describe a four year old’s traits and abilities, and he’s obviously changed A LOT in the last year and a half, but i’m sure it helped tremendously that he’s extroverted and has always been comfortable with adults and new people. at that age, he hated being pushed to read (it hadn’t “clicked” for him yet), and couldn’t do anything more than adding on this fingers (he made it to the questions about coins, and his answers were hilarious), but liked patterns and learning in general.

    i just read some of the previous comments, and for what its worth, i think the parents who are focused on differentiation (as opposed to just getting into an rgc/classical school) are totally right. i am not sure if our experience translates to other kids, but my son has really thrived in an environment where the teacher tailors the lessons to each kid. he hung out in one reading group for a month or two, and then jumped several levels all at once and has continued to progress (which his teacher says is pretty common, something just “clicks”). same with math; he struggled for awhile with the general lessons, and then just took off one day. because she adjusted his work once he was ready (and not before), he’s always felt challenged but never so much so that it’s felt burdensome. this is my first real experience with elementary-aged kids (at least since i was one), but it’s really apparent that each kid learns at their own level, and having a program that differentiates is huge.

    it’s also worth noting that there are kids in his class that are several grade levels ahead of him in reading and math (and this is kindergarten!!), and many who doing late kindergarten/first grade work. i only know about the former because my son thinks its super cool that his friend is on reading level X. he’s also in an rgc housed within a neighborhood program, and as far as i can tell has no idea that his class is different from the other classrooms (they all have lunch and recess together).

  • 242. cpsobsessed  |  February 22, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I was going to ask if you felt the school was providing him the right level of challenge. It’s interesting that a group of kids tested in the same general range but have such different levels once they are in schools (due to the elements of math/reading/etc “clicking” at different points.)

    You’re luck to have a teacher who is so accommodating to the kids’ differences.

    As they get older the interest in doing well at school work ends up being a key differentiator, almost more so than intelligence, I think. Some kids have that innate desire to do their school work really well and others (seems like more boys) don’t care quite as much.

  • 243. Chicago Mom  |  February 22, 2017 at 11:23 am

    @slmom. Here’s my 20 cents.

    I am a parent of students who went through an RGC housed in a neighborhood school, a classical school, and an academic center. The kids in the neighborhood/RGC combo schools seem to notice they are in “different” programs at different times and it is usually not pleasant.

    The RGC kids seem to notice first because they are the ones who stay with the same 30 kids all of the time–no changes like other kids seem to have. And their sometimes obnoxious parents tell them it’s because they are so darn special.

    Then at about 4th grade, the neighborhood kids seem to start to notice that the kid they play with at recess has never been in their classes before. They notice that some of them take the bus to and from school. Depending on how the school (and parents) manages it, it can be a years-long hell for all. The names the kids call one another (gifties, tards, regular, low, snobs, nerds, rich, dorks) can be pretty awful.

    During Picture Day, a neighborhood parent volunteer once grilled my kid about the RGC and “how did HE get in when she knew HER kid was just as smart?” My kid innocently said “I took a test.” The parent then grilled him on what test, when, etc. Ugly. The next opportunity I got I checked in with that parent to make sure she got all she needed and asked to come see me, not my kid, if she had any questions. For the following 4 years, she was silent near me and my kid.

    I think it’s best if you can help your child understand this difference early and make sure they are ready with a simple answer that works for your family, such as “my parents had me take a test and this is where the school thought I should be.”

    Make sure he understands that LOTS of neighborhood kids likely would test into the RGC programs too, but maybe their parents don’t know about the testing process, etc. And please shut down idiot parents in your class who act snobby that their precious kids got into the RGC (man, I have seen my share of them over the past 15 years!) as soon as you can. That kind of talk is like a cancer that eats away at everyone’s self-esteem and causes long-term problems.

  • 244. slmom  |  February 22, 2017 at 11:45 am

    @chicago mom, i’m sorry you guys had such a hard time, that seems pretty awful.

    i am friendly with parents whose kids are in the 4th grade rgc program, and so far haven’t heard anything like that. they mix it up A LOT through school-wide activities, aftercare, sports, etc., and all seem to get along well. hopefully, that will remain the case, even as they become more aware of the curriculum differences down the road.

  • 245. helpfulmom  |  February 22, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    @239, VERY impressive scores. Do you mind me asking what school does your child attend?

  • 246. slmom  |  February 22, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    nta. like the other parents who have been vocal about the school, we are incredibly happy there.

  • 247. helpfulmom  |  February 23, 2017 at 11:40 am

    @246slmom Thanks for the response. My son test in January and NTA is his #2 selection. I am well pleased with the school, principal, curriculum and the activities they have in place. Thanks for sharing!

  • 248. Hillary  |  February 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Random question–does anyone have kiddos at Audubon? It’s not a selective enrollment, by is our neighborhood school and just trying to get some insight. Thanks so much!!

  • 249. helpfulmom  |  February 27, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Hello Parents, we have about a month to find out our results. Good news it will be posted online portal. Has anyone heard any details about this new process? I am assuming we can click to accept offers etc. Any feedback is greatly appreciated it. Thanks

  • 250. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2017 at 11:23 am

    @HelpfulMom: We know for sure that we’ll get an email notification telling us when to check the portal.

    I don’t know about acceptance yet. That is a very good question. I’m inquiring with OAE, but in any case, those of us waiting for high school notices this Friday can let you know how it all worked!

  • 252. CPS parent  |  February 27, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    If all the illegal students get deported, the CPS will have more $$. I never knew there are so many of illegal students. No wonder CPS don’t have $$$!!! I feel empathy but not sympathy.

  • 253. what?!?!  |  February 27, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    Shame on you, CPS parent.

  • 254. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    @252, I believe this is being presented as a worst case scenario. But that hasn’t stopped my son from being excited about it…

  • 255. cpsobsessed  |  February 27, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    @252 – Actually I believe CPS gets money for every student, so if we lose students, we lose money. Many Chicago schools needs students, given the overall declining enrollment in the city.

  • 256. SquarePegMama  |  February 27, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    Current Keller parents in Tier 4, if your child was accepted in the first round, what was their score?

  • 257. ACH  |  February 27, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    @252 Please take your bigotry someplace else. Your response is not only off topic, you clearly don’t understand the meaning of the word empathy.

  • 258. mother2be  |  February 28, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    1st Grade Keller student
    RGC score 2015/2016 school year = 120
    Tier 4
    First round
    Love Keller

  • 259. happymom  |  March 1, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Notification letters for applicants who applied online to PreK – eighth grade will be posted to the parent’s online portal no later than April 3, 2017. An email and a robocall will be sent to the contact information on the student’s online application file with directions on how to access the notification letters and how to accept an offer, if applicable. (Offers CANNOT be accepted or declined online.)

  • 260. Julia  |  March 2, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    What are the main differences between Decatur and Skinner North (besides location) in your opinion?

  • 261. LasalleMama  |  March 3, 2017 at 7:44 am


  • 262. CPS mom  |  March 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    In my opinion,

    Decatur: K-6, Far North, very small building (1 small gym, no cafeteria, no auditorium), very traditional classical school, useGOMath and stride academy. school hours: 7:45-2:30, late arrival must sign in. Not too many after school programs.

    Skinner North: K-8, Near Downtown Chi, bigger building (has everything Decatur lack of). more like gifted school (with the emphasis on critical thinking and all). use IXL and U of Chicago Math curriculum. School hours: 8:30-3:30. various opportunities for after school programs.

    However, teachers at both schools are super awesome…both schools are getting new principal next school year….

  • 263. SN Parent  |  March 3, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    This is a pretty big question and there will be a vast diversity of opinion about the answer – also very few people have a true understanding unless they have kids in each of these two schools. So, take what I am about to say with a very heavy grain of salt since I do not have a student at each school (only one at Skinner North). I’m sure Decatur parents will disagree with many of my very brief perceptions of the school.

    I toured Decatur and felt that the vibe was vastly different from Skinner – the principal actually said during the tour that we better start using flashcards with our kids if we wanted them to get in (which is completely counter to my parenting beliefs) and we should only be so lucky as to get in. The vibe at Skinner during the tour was the complete opposite. They totally downplayed the ranking of the school and even told us that “these kids pick their noses and want their mommies in kindergarten just like other kids.” I found Skinner to be a breath of fresh air as they focused almost the entire tour on the social emotional and whole child approach (and all teachers are trained in Responsive Classroom- I was actually in the training with a few of the teachers and Skinner was the only CPS school represented). I am an educator and when I asked the principal and a few of the teachers at Decatur about their math philosophy I was specifically told (by the principal) “we don’t have one” and by the teacher “everybody does their own things, I personally don’t believe in this crazy “new” common core math so I do it the old school way.” Again, might have just been my experience. Skinner has a cohesive and focused approach to math (and all curriculum) with the use of Everyday Math (a progressive and conceptual-based program). I just feel that overall there is a clear direction and philosophy, with a collaborative spirit at Skinner. My child has been there for four years and the teachers (and parents) really respect the principal and assistant principal and work together for the best interest of the children. Decatur felt more “top down” and elitist to me during my tour (again, it was brief). Ethan Netterstrom is leaving Skinner to move to Madison, but Katie Magnuson (the AP) will most likely become his replacement (should be determined within the next week or so) and she is absolutely outstanding and adored by the entire community.

    As far as facilities go, Skinner’s building is rough in some ways, but the key amenities are there – gym, auditorium, library, lunch room, playground, music and art rooms, nice classrooms… Decatur does feel like they are bursting out of the building – language class is taught in the library and no real auditorium, gym, lunch room (I believe there is one multi-purpose room that’s used for all of these purposes). The after school program at Skinner is very strong – right now my child is in the school play which is run by the drama teacher after school and is free. There are other fee based classes and lots of variety to choose from. Feel like I only touched the surface, but hope that helps! If you have specific questions it is helpful to ask on here. Good luck!

  • 264. stressedsouthsidermom  |  March 3, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    High Schoolers got their letters around 4pm today. So now us elementary school age kids are on deck. Hopefully this month flies by!

  • 265. parent  |  March 4, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Re: Decatur v. Skinner North (just add on to what others have said)
    1. Decatur goes to 6th, SN to 8th. That can be hard for Decatur kids who must figure out what to do in 7th. (A lot of SN kids go to ACs anyway, both many stay through 8th).
    2. At Decatur, kids learn Latin. At SN, Spanish (not a very rigorous program).
    3. Busing for Decatur is anyone north of Fullerton. Busing for SN is anyone between Foster and Cermak. (both go to the e/w edge of the city).
    4. Personalities of the principals / administration are very different (diplomatic understatement!) but as others have noted, both principals are leaving.

  • 266. BCB  |  March 16, 2017 at 10:23 am


  • 267. CuriousMom  |  March 17, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Hello folks,

    My son will be going to 4th grade next year . We need to move in from the suburbs based on my son’s scores and acceptance into schools(magnet/SEES).I have a few questions.

    1. Within what radius does the school expect us to reside?
    2. How do I get to know what tier I belong to ?
    3. As stated in the CPS site, we should be getting the notifications by Apr 3. what do they mean by notifications , is it acceptance letters, offers+scores?
    4. How much time do we have for accepting/declining an offer from a school ?

  • 268. parent  |  March 17, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    @267, Lots of questions. I’ll do my best.
    You’ll get an SEES letter and a magnet letter. You might get offers from both, one, or none (you *could get offers from multiple magnets, but not SEES – chances are rare for multiple offers though).

    The SEES letter will list your scores. If you don’t get in on this round, it’s possible you will get in later — you can check this blog to see if your scores seem high enough that you have a chance at an offer later in spring or in the summer. Offers are given all the way up into September (for both SEES and magnet).

    For magnets, you’ll get a wait list number for each school you don’t get into. Some of the more popular schools will accept very few from the wait list, if any. Totally varies by school (especially since siblings get preference.) Some of your wait list numbers will be ridiculously high (in the hundreds).

    For both SEES and magnets, you can live anywhere in Chicago. There is limited busing though, so you’ll want to check the bus boundaries before you move if you’re interested in that service. Some of the newer magnets don’t have bus service at all (Disney II etc).

    Someone else can tell you how long you have to respond — I believe it’s around 2 weeks? After that, when you get offers off the wait list, the school will call you and you may only have 24 hrs to respond. Be sure you have a current phone number on file. You can check with magnets to see where you are on wait lists (call the schools directly) but not SEES.

    Also: The magnet and SEES wait lists are separate. If you accept an offer at a magnet, it does not take you out of the running for an SEES (reverse is also true). That’s one reason there is often shuffling at the end of the summer.

  • 269. parent  |  March 17, 2017 at 6:11 pm

    One more thing- if you don’t get any offers, you can always move to an area with a great neighborhood school, where you’ll get in automatically. Lots of good neighborhood schools these days.

  • 270. Chicago School GPS  |  March 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    First round elementary due date is April 24. You will most likely have an opportunity to visit schools prior, but CPS spring break is 4/7-4/16. Good luck!

  • 271. CuriousMom  |  March 17, 2017 at 7:26 pm

    @268,@269 . Thanks for your taking your time to answer the questions. That has cleared a lot of doubts. I applied online, so hoping to see the results online as well.

    Though he is quite smart, I really don’t clue about my son’s performance in the exam ! keeping my fingers crossed.

    In the case of getting any offer letters, we should decide by Apr 15th, which school to take …isn’t it.

    Do we have to wait, until August(when the school opens), to find out if my son will be called in from the wait list ?

    Yes, I know about Skinner west which is a classical and neighborhood school. Me and my DH work near Willis towers. Do you know of any other good neighborhood schools in close proximity(within 11 miles) to this area.

  • 272. cpswonderland  |  March 18, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    @271 use http://cps.edu/ScriptLibrary/Map-SchoolLocator/index.html , type the address, change the distance, apply different filter options.

  • 273. LSmom  |  March 18, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    @271, wait list calls generally start a few weeks after the letters come out and can continue through the summer, sometimes even into September. 4th grade is a good year to apply because the gifted/classical programs add a few seats.

  • 274. parent  |  March 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Some popular neighborhood schools not too far from downtown include: South Loop, Alcott, Lincoln, Prescott (others can feel free to add!)

  • 275. parent  |  March 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    One more thing Curiousmom: As you applying for 4th grade, keep in mind that families who are leaving/moving have probably not informed their schools yet. So it is likely/possible that you won’t get any offers until summer, because the schools won’t know they have openings until then.

  • 276. CuriousMom  |  March 20, 2017 at 9:54 am

    270 @Chicago School GPS – Thank you for the info. I found it useful.

    272 @cpswonderland – Thank you for the link. That should come in handy while searching for schools.

    273@LSmom – Thank you for the Info. Glad to hear that seats will be added for 4th grade.

    274,275 @ parent – Thanks a lot for the list of schools and other info. This kinda gives me an idea about timeline of the admission process.

  • 277. helpfulmom  |  March 21, 2017 at 11:27 am

    did anyone apply for the 1st grade exception? I am so mad I misunderstood the process. My son may have been eligible to skip kindergarten and go straight to 1st grade because of his age however I missed the cutoff. The good news is he can still apply to schools I didn’t apply for but SEES not an option. Did anyone complete this process?

  • 278. Learning CPS  |  March 22, 2017 at 8:51 am

    @ 260 – Everything said about the Decatur facilities (or lack thereof) as a downside v SN facilities is true and despite ongoing efforts, Decatur hasn’t been able to get a successful plan supported and signed off on by CPS for expansion or relocation to a better facility. Efforts continue.

    Because of the small building, Decatur is a tiny school in terms of student body – only about 300 students – compared to SN or many other CPS schools. Due to space constraints, some grade levels have only one class that can be together from K-6. For some, that smallness is good and for others it can be an issue. If you think your child will do better in a larger school, then Decatur is a bad fit. The upside is that all the kids, teachers/administration know each other and generally the older kids are really sweet to the little kids.

    As far as school culture, any comparison of that at Decatur v any school this year is a bit of a misnomer as the expectation of the LSC, PTA and parent community is that the new Decatur Principal will be making a lot of changes in that regard and we anticipate the school culture and approach will feel quite different in the next year or two.

  • 279. Social1  |  March 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    We’re less than 2 weeks out from offer letters. For those of us who early tested, it’s been a long wait. I’m so anxious! I keep going to my dashboard like a crazy person lol. Good luck to everyone. I’m sure this thread will be buzzing come April 3rd.

  • 280. helpfulmom  |  March 23, 2017 at 10:44 am

    @279 will we get letters if we applied online? I thought everything will be posted online this year. My mail has not been delivered I had to complain to the PS.

  • 281. helpfulmom  |  March 23, 2017 at 10:50 am

    @279 also CPS or OAE will email us and send out a robo call when results are posted on the online portal. I STRONGLY suggest all that have FULL mailboxes email or phone, PLEASE DELETE what is not needed as you may get a call to accept a school and will only have a short period of time to respond/accept. Thanks!

  • 282. Social1  |  March 23, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    @280 It is electronic notification. The letters will be posted online and I believe they can be printed.

    @281 That’s why I feel so crazy going to my dashboard because I know we’ll be notified first, but I can’t stop myself from checking lol

  • 283. helpfulmom  |  March 24, 2017 at 8:26 am

    @282 don’t worry social1, I confess I do the same thing everyday lol I check the online portal just to see when I know I will get an email. I strongly believe they will do it ON MONDAY APRIL 3rd, why would they make us wait that long? LOL knowing it should be faster since its automated.

  • 284. sped advice?  |  March 24, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Slightly/somewhat OT:

    Does anyone have experience with a special education advocate or attorney who they liked? It’s completely unclear to us whether we even need such a person, so someone who is willing to do an initial free consultation would be ideal. If yes, could you please post their contact info?

    Thanks so much!

  • 285. Chicago School GPS  |  March 24, 2017 at 10:05 am

    There will be a myriad of service providers and resources at this Sunday’s NPN Developmental Differences Resources Fair 3/26/17 from 10am-2pm. It’s free to attend and there are seminars for parents wading through the morass that is special ed services.
    I also just recently met an attorney at an event so I haven’t worked with him yet but you could reach out to William Kelly: wkelly at childrenslawgroup dot com

  • 286. Saw on Facebook  |  March 24, 2017 at 6:46 pm



  • 287. SkinnerNorthParent  |  March 24, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve worked with Jane as an educator.
    Your child isn’t thriving at school. She needs extra attention and you don’t know how to get it.
    The solver Jane Herron, a retired teacher and school administrator who worked in both public and private schools, both mainstream and special education, in Chicago and the suburbs (773-852-8103; rjherron@rcn.com)
    The approach Individualized to the family and the situation but may include case management, navigating specific processes to receive special school accommodations, collaborating with teachers to develop goals and helping find a school that’s a good fit from elementary through high school. About 75 percent of her clients have “unique learning needs,” whether it’s giftedness, a learning difference or a medical condition. Herron also works with families relocating to Chicago to find schools.
    Cost In-person meetings cost $200 per hour.

  • 288. sped advice?  |  March 29, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone!

  • 289. cc's mom  |  March 30, 2017 at 11:39 am

    I don’t think I can wait five more days…can’t believe they are making us really wait until APRIL. Will there be a new thread for elementary acceptance?

  • 290. cpsobsessed  |  March 30, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Yes, in fact I will do it now! 🙂

  • 291. cc's mom  |  March 30, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you so much! I seriously cannot stand the wait…

  • 292. helpfulmom  |  March 31, 2017 at 11:02 am

    @290 cpsobsessd, please let me know when the thread is set up and the NAME. thanks much!

  • 293. stressedsouthsidermom  |  April 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    letters are posted! we did good thank god!!

  • 294. Www.Uksportsbets.co.Uk  |  August 15, 2017 at 1:00 am


    Fall 2016: Applying to Kindergarten / Elementary School | CPS Obsessed

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