Friday, December 05, 2008

Orozco or Bust

Well, its Orozco or bust for Sarah next door. If you click on the link, you'll see why--parents like it and they have good test scores. As they should, since they are a bilingual gifted center as well as a neighborhood school.

Her mother came over earlier this week to get help filling out the GEAP application. I was trying to persuade her to look at some schools besides Orozco, but the other bilingual gifted centers are on the North Side and beyond the six-mile zone in which CPS will provide bus service.

Elementary school applications are a whole new world for me. I've always been more on top of high schools: which ones are good, how you apply, these days who I know that I can talk to about particular kids, etc. To help Sarah's mom, I called a friend of mine in Chicago Lawn who has been through the drill a couple of times. The first gifted program she had her son in was fine in the early grades, but she heard they hadn't worked out the upper elementary part so well, so she applied to Lenart and moved her child between kindergarten and first grade a while back. It's a long drive for them but they do it.

Sarah's mom was not interested in a long drive. Between the work schedules of everyone in the house, driving Sarah back and forth to school does not seem to be a very realistic option, though they do have a functioning car. Her approach is to just be determined and apply every year from now through 7th grade. She is open to some magnet school options in Pilsen and Little Village, so I hope to persuade her to send in a few more applications between now and the December 19 deadline.

In a way, I'm kind of glad her mother doesn't read English. She was spared the sight of these contradictory and somewhat confusing "Tips for Applying to Options for Knowledge Schools."

Tip #1: Do not apply to just one or two schools! Apply to as many schools as you would be happy to have your child attend.

Tip #2: Don not submit applications to schools that you would not want to have your child attend. If a school is too far from your home...then do not apply to that school.

Since we're not especially close to anything but Orozco, it would seem Tip 2 outweighs Tip 1.

A few years ago, IFF put out a report on the areas of the city with the greatest need for better-performing elmentary schools. New City (which includes Back of the Yards) ranked 23 of the top 25 neediest areas. South Shore ranked number 1. If we're only 23rd highest in need, I really feel for those South Shore people.

A few years ago

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