Posts tagged ‘CPS preschool’

PreSchool Applications open March 2015


I got an email about preschool today. Does this mean the application process is JUST NOW opening up?

I’ve sort of lost track of (or never fully understood) how this all works with the new changes.  Feel free to discuss the process here.
Currently there are nearly 1,500 4-year old children in Chicago who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program, but do not attend at least a half-day of pre-kindergarten.


CPS Opens Enrollment for Over 17,000 Early Learning Seats in School Year 15-16

Chicago: Ready to Learn! Continues to Expand in Third Year, Offering Equitable Access to High-Quality Early Learning Options for Families Citywide

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) announced today it has opened enrollment for more than 17,000 early childhood education seats for School Year 2015-2016. This is the third year of Chicago: Ready to Learn!, an initiative designed to bring high-quality early learning opportunities to every area of the city. Starting next school year, the program will expand to include 55 additional full-day classrooms serving 1,000 more students in neighborhoods across Chicago.

Parents of children who will be 3- or 4-years old by September 1, 2015 can access school-based early education opportunities by visiting, or one of 24 centralized application sites across the city.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel createdChicago: Ready to Learn! in 2013 by bringing CPS and the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) together to manage resources under one early education system. Chicago: Ready to Learn! coordinates early learning programs across the city, expanding access to school- and community-based early learning opportunities while improving the quality of early childhood programs.

“We know that the early years are critical to a child’s future success, which is why we have committed to creating a strong foundation that will benefit our students throughout their entire education,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “With the support of Mayor Emanuel and DFSS, we have expanded access to programming, while increasing program quality, so that all children arrive in Kindergarten ready to learn.”

Since Chicago: Ready to Learn! began, this joint effort has expanded DFSS and CPS’ early learning programs for 5,000 new children, while raising the quality of existing programs for 6,000 children with added wrap-around services, including intensive parent engagement, nursing services, and community partnerships.

Last fall, Mayor Emanuel closed the gap on pre-kindergarten education for 4-year old children in low-income families. Currently there are nearly 1,500 4-year old children in Chicago who qualify for the federal free or reduced lunch program, but do not attend at least a half-day of pre-kindergarten. Beginning in School Year 2015-2016, CPS will provide pre-k education to these students through capital investments from the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois as well as Social Impact Bonds, supporting programs at neighborhood schools and new community based programs. Since Mayor Emanuel took office in 2011, he has steadily expanded early learning programming through a $36 million investment in the City’s budget.

Research indicates that high-quality early childhood programs boost academic skills, foster independence, and instill a lifelong love of learning. Further, children who attend these high-quality early childhood programs are 29 percent more likely to graduate from high school and earn a 33 percent higher salary on average. In addition to the academic benefits, early childhood programs connect children with wrap-around services like regular medical care, which are proven indicators of better student attendance and academic performance throughout the year.

Applications for CPS school-based early childhood programs can be accessed at, a local elementary school, or in the 24 application sites throughout the city. All applications must be submitted in person at one of the application sites Monday through Friday at scheduled times, or at local elementary schools on designated days. Proof of residency, income and the child’s age will be required with all applications, due no later than May 1, 2015.

March 4, 2015 at 7:39 am 43 comments

Back to the begining (A Pre-K post)


I was getting my hair cut this week (if you need someone near the North Center neighborhood who is great with thick and unruly hair, email me!)

My hairdresser has a daughter who just turned 2 and she’s starting the whole school investigation process, beginning at the pre-K level so she can apply this coming Fall.   In some ways it feels like I was doing that yesterday but it was (sniff sniff) 8 years ago!  That was when I first started asking my neighbors where they sent their kids and how the local schools were and I started getting the “no way” about CPS talk.  All the kids on my block went to different private schools (the exception being anyone who got a RGC/Classical/Magnet spot.)   At the time, you could also use the Tuition-based preK as an “in” for some of the desirable neighborhood schools.  (Not an option any more.)

So my hairdresser was asking about the CPS ore-K programs (PreSchool for All) and whether those were a good option or whether private preK is worth the money.  She’s full of that new-parent-of-a-toddler wide eyed enthusiasm about how each PreK might have a major impact on her child’s development.   Conversly, I am full of the older kid cynicism, sometimes wondering why I spent money on things like Wiggleworms, etc (as well as a total of $16K for a private PreK experience.  Oh, plus a $2,000 building fund.)

As you look back now, how important do you feel that the preK process was in your child’s development?  Was private PreK worth the money?  Do they really learn much in PreK?  Or is learning to be in a school setting the most important lesson they’re learning at ages 3-4.

I’m not even fully sure what’s going on with PreK in CPS right now.  Very quietly this past year it was announced that more placed (such as charter schools, churches, etc) could apply to host PreSchool for All.  And I believe that existing CPS programs may have had to re-apply to host them.  Christine Whitley who does consulting to help families determine their school options has asked me a few times, “How come nobody is talking about the PreK thing right now?”  Good question — I guess becuase there hasn’t been any announcement yet saying that something will definitely change?

So for new parents here (and my hairdresser in particular) what would you recommend as you look back on PreK and its role in your child’s education?  All I could come up with is that you need to tour a range of schools so you can see what’s out there and wait for a place/philosophy/vibe to kind of resonate with you, where you feel like it’s the right place for your child.   I remember feeling like the Montessori preK we chose was going to make a major impact on my son.  And now I’d kind of like that $18K back for his college fund….  But maybe it helped him get into the gifted program he tested into.  Maybe a more play-based PreK wouldn’t have done that.

March 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm 137 comments

Tribune’s ABCs of Preschool

The Trib ran and article today about the basics of finding a pre-school in Chicago.  There seem to be a few nuggets of helpful information throughout.  I’ve found that the Tribune’s reporting on child-related topics (especially by this particular reporter) tend to be very anecdote-based.  She interviews a few people in the same neighborhood (maybe even her friends, who knows?) and seems to report things as trends.,0,3390973.story

Anyhow, the article says the following about neighborhood CPS pre-school, which I know isn’t true.  Most that I’m aware of seem to be pretty full and you need to get your butt in pronto to get a spot.  (Well, now I’m using anecdotal evidence to make a point.  Actually, this whole blog is based on just one person’s experience – mine – so who am I to criticize?  Then again, she’s getting stuff published in a major news source and getting paid and I am not.  So there.)

How to apply: If you decide to send your child to the public school within your attendance boundaries, you likely don’t need to fill out an application to attend.

March 2, 2009 at 12:00 am 2 comments




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