Category: Navigating Chicago Schools

Preschool vs. pre-k: What's the difference?

As summer nears, families across Chicago inevitably start to ask themselves if their child should go to preschool or pre-kindergarten. If they are currently enrolled in an early childhood program, they start to wonder if they need to find a pre-kindergarten program when their child turns three, leaving their current program even if they are happy there.

In a city full of early childhood options, it’s no surprise that families find themselves asking this question as they start to think ...

Posted on May 14, 2019 at 1:36 PM by Creative Scholars Preschool

CPS preschool options you can apply for now

As you are researching preschools for your little one and weighing your options, did you know that Chicago Public Schools offers many part-time and full-day, school-based and affordable preschool programs at select CPS schools across the city? Perhaps more importantly, if you thought you missed the preschool application boat for next fall, it’s not too late to apply for a seat in this program for the 2019-2020 school year.

It’s called Chicago Early Learning (CEL), formerly known as “Re...

Posted on April 29, 2019 at 10:00 AM by Chicago School GPS

What to expect from CPS notification letters

For Chicago parents who have applied for Chicago Public School (CPS) seats at Open Enrollment, Magnet, Magnet Cluster and Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools for the 2019-2020 school year, the countdown is underway for the CPS notification date. Let the nail-biting begin!

Notification letters for preK–eighth grade will be released on April 22. An email and a robocall will be sent to the contact information on the student’s online application file with directions on how to access th...

Posted on March 18, 2019 at 12:06 AM by Chicago School GPS

How to help your child get ready for kindergarten

Is your child starting kindergarten next year? Consider taking a proactive approach to ensuring he or she is ready to arrive at kindergarten and learn.

Evidence increasingly suggests that the areas most critical to young children’s long-term educational success are approaches to learning and self-regulation, language and literacy, math, and social and emotional development. While early childhood education is instrumental in supporting a child’s learning and development, family engageme...

Posted on March 11, 2019 at 5:00 PM by Maura Daly

Questions to ask yourself when considering a CPS school

NWEA. OAE. OMG.

We just want the best education for our kids, right? There are many ways to define “best” and there are choices — they just require thoughtfulness and planning, sometimes years in advance. Online CPS resources define which options are available for your student. What you won’t find at go.cps.edu are guidelines to help you decide which path is right for your student and family.

What’s your family’s tolerance for pressure?
The stress associated with testing and applic...

Posted on January 09, 2019 at 3:37 PM by Candice Blansett-Cummins

The International Baccalaureate: What it is and how it works

*SPONSORED POST BY GEMS WORLD ACADEMY*

The International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum framework has taken root in Chicago, with multiple public and private schools in the area offering at least one segment of the IB, and many schools considering to add it.

Those familiar with the academic programs in traditional American schools might very well wonder: What is the IB? What does it offer that other curriculums don’t?

The IB was founded in Switzerland 50 years ago in response to ...

Posted on December 10, 2018 at 11:52 AM by GEMS World Academy Chicago

This CPS resource makes high school search so much easier

Many Chicago parents, myself included, start thinking about high school at the same time we're applying to preschool. This phenomenon isn’t limited to “type A” parents or “helicopter” parents or overachieving parents. We begin thinking about high school so early because our children’s access to education can influence major life decisions such as where we live, and because to new and not-so-new parents, public high schools in Chicago are something of a mystery. 

What are public high sc...

Posted on December 03, 2018 at 1:07 PM by Amy Johnson

How to apply for CPS preschools

If you’re thinking about CPS magnet schools for preschool next fall, the time to look into those programs is…now! Applications for the 2019-2020 school year for 4 magnet preschools are due December 14, 2018. If you are thinking about other preschool programs hosted in CPS schools, the deadline varies as outlined below.

There are different options available, with programs housed in select public elementary schools across the city. Most have already begun providing tours and scheduling o...

Posted on December 03, 2018 at 10:40 AM by Chicago School GPS

How to apply to a CPS school in 5 easy steps

Photo credit: Bruno Girin/Flickr

CPS application season is well underway! The Chicago Public Schools application deadline for the 2019-2020 school year is Friday, December 14, 2018. Students entering kindergarten through 8th grade may apply for open seats at schools across the city, with a limited number of pre-k options available as well (click here for the basics on CPS preschool).

In CPS, there are two main types of schools to which you can apply:


Magnet schools and ...

Posted on December 03, 2018 at 8:49 AM by Chicago School GPS

Unschooling is a thing. But is it right for your child?

To school or not to school?

Wait, is that even a question? For hundreds of Chicago-area parents and many more across the nation, it is a very real one. In the past decade, there has been a nationwide surge in parents choosing to homeschool, unschool, or choose a non-traditional school without a fixed curriculum or grades. But why?

Self-Directed Education
Proponents believe that unschooling provides opportunities for children to explore their interests without the limits of a tradit...

Posted on November 08, 2018 at 3:51 PM by Aimee Skinner