Posts tagged ‘CPS Options for Knowledge’

CPS Survey on the School Application Process

The CPS Website has a survey up right now to solicit opinions on how to improve the school application process.  (See lower righthand corner of the site.)  http://www.cps.edu/Pages/home.aspx

I hate to get excited enough to think that they’ll make changes based on the suggestions, but it can’t hurt to vent it a little, can it?   Feel free to pilfer from what I wrote (submitted in 3 chunks to circumvent the 2000 character max.)  My complaints are mainly tactical in nature.  I haven’t had the brain time yet to think about possible changes to the entire process (such as applying to all schools via one form or online, preference for school admission based on where you live, limit to this plan of opening more “options” to prevent kids from leaving their neighborhood schools, etc.) 

The suggestions I submitted:

The current application process has a major flaw in that parents cannot be certain that their application is in the queue at a certain school.  Last year, some parents turned in applications in person only to later find out that they’d been lost/misplaced and were not included in the lottery for that school.   The offices at some schools are disorganized and can’t be trusted to handle the applications.  Applying should be done at a central level so parents can ascertain that they are on the list of the schools they are interested in.  Ideally, this could be checked online before the deadline so parents could confirm the status of their applications.  Also, the lottery results would ideally be posted online from a central source.

 

The current system is also inefficient in terms of the time that parents must spend touring schools with very limited enrollment.  Some of these schools (notably those that are the hardest to get into) give no or very few tours after the March notification date so parents must tour ALL these schools (in addition to other magnets, gifted, classical, neighborhood) before the notification date.  Many tours are 2 hours in length so it ends up being a waste of time for 95% of the schools you apply to since you don’t get in.  I feel that these schools should be required to give several tours in the weeks following the notification date so that parents can tour the schools AFTER they find out if their child has gotten in. 

 

The individual schools need to be better informed about the new lottery system results.  Last year some schools gave out numbers that didn’t match what CPS had in their system because the school didn’t understand the waiting list numbering system.  I had to make several phone calls to clarify, and I still wasn’t sure who was correct since each office assured me that they were correct although one gave me #5 and one gave me #29 as my son’s spot on the waiting list.  Parents need to have correct information to weigh their decisions.

January 2, 2009 at 10:49 am 14 comments

Last day for Options for Knowledge. Will I or Won’t I?

Well, today is the last day to submit an application to a school for their lottery or to submit a request for testing for Gifted/Classical Schools.

About a month ago, when I was working at the NPN fair and some parents innocently asked “when do we have to apply for the gifted test? In the Spring?” and I went all bug-eyed… “uh, like NOW people, NOW!  Soon!”  That night it occured to me that I hadn’t given any thought at all to submitting an application anywhere or having my son tested again.  That was a good sign, I thought.  Real confidence in our current school and lack of interest in going elsewhere.  I always assumed that I’d just keep getting him tested for a few years for the gifted programs, just to keep options open and of course see if his “giftedness” was slipping.  But when it came down to it, I couldn’t really think of another school I’d be that keen on moving to if he did test in somewhere.  I love the neighborhood people at our school and the gifted program seems to be off to a good start.  Can’t beat that for free, eh?

I also was hesitant to test again based on a conversation with one of the dads from our class who speculated that the gifted/classical testing can probably vary by a good 10% for any kid from day to day, based on things like mood, hunger, or some random interesting object in the testing room.  I agree with that.  And I figured I would just rather stay in ignorant bliss, knowing my son did a decent job that one year.  Mama doesn’t want to see a 10% drop this year.  Then I’d just start to worry that he was going to start lagging behind, etc etc.    

I will admit to having had a few lingering doubts.  There was a recent article about the top Elementary schools in the state and Hawthorne was the only CPS school in the top 50 that doesn’t require testing in.  Something impressive goes on there, and I briefly wondered about just applying every year, hoping to hit the jackpot.

I also figured it might make sense to apply/test just in case some thing unexpectedly annoying or weird happens at our school by the end of the year and I want to get out.  Hard to see that happening, but with CPS you never know.

Plus, hey, I have this blog.  What am I going to write about if I’m not immersed in the application process?

But I came to peace.  I would stay at our school with our nice neighborhood school as our backup.  Peace, indeed.

Until today.  Now I can drive an application to a school (nah) or get to the post office to get my testing application postmarked by today.  I’m having second thoughts.  I’ve realized today that I am a testing junkie.  I took the SATs 3 times.  I enjoy doing GMAT practice questions for fun.  Something is wrong with me, I swear it.  I just may try to make it to the post office today….

December 19, 2008 at 12:26 pm 1 comment


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