Choices Abound When Sending Your Child to School in Chicago

In a previous post I wrote about neighborhood schools and how every PPM building is located within the district of a high-quality, neighborhood public school.  The advantages of sending your child to a neighborhood school include having a population of classmates and their parents who all live nearby.  This can make your life easier, while not giving up anything to provide your child with a great education.  It can be an ecologically sound choice, as you may not need to drive your child to school and they will not be taking a school bus.  Successful neighborhood schools become that way in great part because of parental involvement and how parents contribute to the school, not just in terms of money, but in time and effort.  Having fun, being social, going green, and giving, are 4 of the 5 core values that Planned Property Management takes pride in promoting every day.  Sending your child to school locally can be all of these things.

A child is not required to attend their neighborhood school, and CPS offers many options.   The following is a list of CPS options along with a brief description.  More information about choices is available here.

· Neighborhood:  Serves students who live within a designated attendance boundary.

· Academic Centers:  Middle school housed in high schools for academically advanced students in grades 7-8.  Have to qualify via testing and grades.

· Charter:  Privately owned but open to all Chicago children. These schools operate independently from the Board of Education and each other.

· Classical:  Designed to provide a challenging liberal arts course of instruction for students with high academic potential.  Admission testing is required.

· Contract:  These schools are independently operated by a private entity under contract with the Board. Contract schools are not subject to the same district initiatives and Board policies as traditional public schools.

· Magnet:  Specialize in a specific subject areas, such as Montessori, International Baccalaureate, math and science, humanities or dual language immersion.  Students are selected by a computerized lottery.

· Regional Gifted Center:  Provides a highly accelerated instructional program in all subject areas.  Need to complete the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (SEES) application and take an entrance exam.

· Small:  Priority is given for students living in boundaries. Applicants outside of boundaries can apply if space is available.  Some schools may have entrance requirements.

· Special Education:  Schools for students with disabilities who reside in specified geographic locations. Enrollment is based on a given student's Individualized Education Program.

Private options abound as well. Among Chicago's many private school options, there is: Latin, the Lycée Français de Chicago, Francis Parker, the University of Chicago Lab School, North Park Elementary School, Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, Chicago City Day School, St. Andrews, St. Bens, and many others.  If you think you cannot afford the private school option, you may be surprised.  Many private schools have endowments and funds set up to help.  Check with the individual schools to find out more.  Masses of information are just a couple of clicks away.