Academic Center 3_26_2016.png

Post news about entry into AC and International Gifted Program here.

Please include:




For those who aren’t familiar with the Intl gifted programs, some info from CPS:

International Gifted Program
International Gifted Programs are offered at the following schools:
615 W. Kemper Pl.
24 W. Walton St.

The International Gifted Program is designed for students in grades 6-8. The program includes intensive study of English, French, social studies, laboratory science, mathematics, technology, arts, physical education, library science, and advanced research. The International Gifted Program is designed to allow intellectually able students to be schooled in their least restrictive environment and to mature at an accelerated pace.

The International Gifted Program is committed to cultivating independent and competent students who are well prepared for the most intensive high schools and IB Diploma Programs.

March 26, 2016 at 11:01 pm 457 comments

2016 NEIGHBORHOOD and MAGNET Elementary School Thread


Post your news, questions, opinions here about Neighborhood and Magnet elementary schools.

If you post about your letter/status, please include:


Waiting list #

Tier (if applicable)

And remember, this process goes on for a lonnnng time as schools move down the wait list.  Patience is a virtue, as hard as it may be.

March 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm 1,817 comments

2016 SEES GIFTED and CLASSICAL Elem Thread


National Teachers Academy


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

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

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

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


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

High School Letters 2016

SEHS Cutoffs 2016_17

As expected, many of the cutoffs for SEHS went up this year, compared to last year.  The exception being the traditionally top-scoring schools: Young, Payton, NSCP.  Payton has the highest cutoff scores this year, indicating that it’s been inching out NSCP.  Tier 4 students need a 890 to get into Payton.   Jones is up quite a bit.  FYI I noticed the sheet doesn’t indicate the # of students this year.

In any case, big thumbs up to OAE for posting these early Monday morning!


February 29, 2016 at 10:51 am 719 comments

College Admission


For parents looking to start discussing college, here’s the place.  Feel free to post questions/info in the comments section.

Readers have mentioned the http://www.collegeconfidential.com/ forum as a “CPSObsesssed of college.”  There are threads on every conceivable topic (test prep, financial aid, essays, etc.) here as parents share pointers and angst about the deep unknown of applying to colleges.

I took a look at the U of I admissions page to see how that looks.  This is the data on the middle 50% of students there.  Fairly high scores, no?  Does the reputation of the school match the entry requirements?  Is this different than typical Midwest Big 10 schools?

ACT Score: 27-32  /  SAT Score (no writing): 1320-1470

High School Class Rank*: 84-97%

Here’s what they say about admission:

We consider many factors when making an admission decision. Most applications receive at least 2 readings, and we check all preliminary decisions to ensure a high level of consistency.

We evaluate the strength of your academic record.
We review your highest ACT or SAT composite score.
We consider why you’re applying to a program.
We assess your essay.

Not only do we consider your strength of writing, but we also look at how you tie your academic interest to your desired major and how you showcase that passion in your life. If you select a second-choice major (which we highly recommend!), we want to know why you’re interested in that major, too. If you apply to the Division of General Studies, we look at how you explain your varied interests and need for exploration.

We look at your achievements outside the classroom.

We analyze the opportunities given to you.

We consider your background.



February 27, 2016 at 9:24 pm 95 comments

High School Letters “Pre-Show” 2016

LVHS Music



I figure if the Oscars can have a pre-show, then the High School notification process can as well.  SEHS letters are 2 weeks away.

I am curious to see where people’s heads are at if you have an 8th grader applying to high school.  Is the stress level high?  What are the top choices?  Did you cast a wide net?  Is anyone embracing the neighborhood high school?  Anyone consider a charter?

I was fortunate enough to meet with HSObsessed this week who talked me off a moving-to-Evanston ledge by convincing me (just as I convince others) that there are plenty of good options in the city.  That we can fulfill our dream of raising city kids who get a good high school education.  I know this rationally, but the news about CPS budgets wears me down at times.

Feel free to share any pointers on dealing with lackadaisical pre-teens during 7th grade.






February 12, 2016 at 1:23 am 520 comments

The CTU and Budget Thread

The Scream

I’m trying to write something thoughtful about the current situation about the CPS budget and the negotiations with the CTU.  But I’m generally unaware of what’s going on.  The situation makes me feel like the picture above.  I just can’t see a way out and the situation just seems to get progressively worse.

I know from the Trib that the CTU turned down an offer that:

“would bar economic layoffs and provide some moderate pay increases, sources said last week. It would put a cap on privately run charter schools, although the union noted Monday that a state commission can override the district on charters.

In exchange, union members would have to make concessions that included paying more toward their pensions and health care expenses.”

Karen Lewis, being uncharacteristically gracious, said “There were a lot of things that were great,I’m not going to tell you they weren’t. However, the things that will affect the classrooms the most — especially around the budget — were the ones that were concerning to people.”

Forrest Claypool said “This agreement provided pay raises, guaranteed job security and met the union’s key demands, including restrictions on charter school expansion, raises for seniority in addition to cost-of-living increases, and more classroom autonomy for teachers.”

Teachers were also offered the “step and lane” increases (experience and seniority raises.)

So… I can’t fully tell from the article why CTU turned it down.

Jesse Sharkey said: “When asked ‘is it worth actually taking a pay cut for that?’ people said ‘no way.’ Because the skin that we put in the game is concrete and will definitely be extracted from us, and the skin which they put in the game is something which is abstract, in the future and can’t be guaranteed.”

I’m not fully sure what this means.

There seems to be bigger topics at play.  NBC5 reports:  The union’s 40-member team said the proposal “does not address the difficult conditions in the schools, the lack of services to our neediest students or address the longer-term fiscal crisis that threatens to gut public education in the city.” Members said they have “legitimate distrust” of the district and decided not to send the proposal to the full union for a vote.”

Is the CTU going to overcome their distrust any time in the next decade?  Will the CTU have the power to harness more overall spending for CPS?  It would be great if they could use their influence to do so, right?

And the depressing part is that there’s no money to make this all work.  Education is depressingly underfunding here in American and Illinois.

I just circle back to The Scream.  How will we resolve this??


February 6, 2016 at 9:46 pm 853 comments

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