Chicago School Choice: CPS - The Parent Perspective

Written by: Crystal Yednak

“Secrets of the CPS Moms” is what I unofficially dubbed a panel discussion hosted last week by NPN, the Chicago News Cooperative and Bubbles Academy. I must say, the panelists did not disappoint. Moms representing neighborhood, magnet, regional gifted and classical schools shared stories of the different paths each of them took to those schools. Great video and podcast links below!

The good news: All of their children have a school to attend, and all of the moms are happy with their choices.

The key takeaway from the event was to breathe, do your homework and know your child.

Sarah Harris told the audience of her decision to invest herself in her neighborhood school because she wanted her kids to be able to walk to school with neighbors. With the help of parents like Sarah, Pulaski International in Bucktown has transformed its curriculum and improved its performance.

With a child at a classical school and one graduated from a regional gifted center, Vicki Giambrone provided details about how the days differ at the two schools. (Latin and tap dance at the classical school, with more worksheets and drilling. The regional gifted program is fast-paced and involves a lot of projects, she said.)

And the audience heard an uplifting story from parent Julie Lawin: She was on a wait list for LaSalle II Language Academy, and actually landed a spot in that school! (We have heard way too many stories of people never getting called off a wait list.) Julie talked about her experience with the lottery process and magnet programs.

Mollie Stromberg also talked about the magnet program at Drummond, which is a Montessori school. As a Montessori child herself, Mollie knew she wanted to go that route with her own children. She is pushing for more Montessori schools in CPS.

The event filled up quickly, so we know everyone who wanted to attend could not make it. Our multimedia producer at the Chicago News Cooperative put together a few videos of the panelists answering common questions.

VIDEO CLIP: What is your best tip for parents starting the school search?

VIDEO CLIP: Where did you apply?

VIDEO CLIP: How does your school differ from other CPS options?

PODCAST!!!  And if you want to listen to the whole panel discussion, here is a podcast.  NOTE: Download may take a few minutes for full podcast - take it to the gym, on your commute, or while you are at work : )

Get more great information directly from Chicago parents, school administrators, and experts in school search with NPN and Chicago News Cooperative in our newly expanded Chicago School Choice Program.  Thank you to our generous host Bubbles Academy and Uncle Sammy's for the great eats!

Posted on January 26, 2012 at 10:09 PM