What's Up With Elementary Magnets? [updated]


Meanwhile, Chicago parents waiting to see whether their kids have made it into elementary school lotteries are left in the dark.  "There is absolutely no information on
ELEMENTARY school lottery notifications on the web at all," wrote in a frustrated parent. "The lottery was held last week 3/24/2010 with
lottery notifications
being mailed by Friday 3/26/2010." Others say that they were supposed to go out last week.  "It is a little frustrating that the high school
information is given out everywhere but not for us parents with kids
going into
Kindergarten. We are just as stressed out."

UPDATED:  Letters are out, and there's even some newspaper coverage mentioned in the comments.


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  • Elementary lottery was held week of 3/14 not 3/24.

  • I actually just found this.

    Notification letters will be mailed according to the schedule below:
    All high schools: February 19, 2010
    Elementary magnet schools: March 15-19, 2010
    Magnet cluster schools: March 15-19, 2010
    Elementary open enrollment schools: March 15-19, 2010
    Regional Gifted Centers, Classical Schools, March 19, 2010
    Academic Centers, Int

  • In reply to sully11:

    Those mailing dates are never accurate. The letters come out late every year. Last year and the year before was awful. Each school has to send out the thousands of rejection letters. It is usually the security guard and a parent volunteer along with the over taxed school secretary that have this mundane task. If you go into any magnet school right now there is someone sitting with a lot of letters that need to be stuffed in a pile of envelopes!

  • In reply to sully11:

    I saw a posting on npn where a parent needed to RESPOND to an acceptance by the end of this week. How would that be possible when she hadn't heard anything from other schools? This system is beyond insane. I wish we had a smart way out of this magnet/SE craziness and back to neighborhood schools that work. But I'm not holding my breath. I am so sorry for parents who have to endure this insanity. I couldn't take it, which is why we moved into a district with a good neighborhood school. I already have anxiety issues!

  • thanks -- i'll try and find it

  • Do you know WHY they are waiting to send out letters? I'm not sure what reason (or even "right") they have to wait IF the lottery has already taken place. Perhaps it has not? You probably have no idea, but just thought I'd ask!

  • In reply to ydice:

    "Wondering" below had a good possible answer. Maybe it is the budget. But a good portion of magnet schools HAVE sent out their letters. So, will they just pull more students from their waitlists if class sizes increase? Ahh ... so confusing!!

  • In reply to ydice:

    Don't magnet schools have enrollment caps? That's why students have to apply to attend in the first place, isn't it? They don't take everyone like the neighborhood schools do. So, I don't really see why magnet school class sizes will rise due to the ongoing financial mismanagement at CPS headquarters. It's the neighborhood schools that will see class sizes increase.

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    I'd like to know this answer, too. I know they have capped class sizes, but shouldn't the cap on their class sizes go up, too? I think they should take some of the burden from this, too, and not just direct more students to already overcrowded neighborhood schools.

    The problem is, I don't think ANYONE knows the answers. Anyone out there know this answer?

  • In reply to AlexanderRusso:

    Per the "doomsday budget" power point that was on this site last week, the FY 2011 Budget won't be approved by the Board until August (p 28 of the ppt). So, I doubt that has anything to do with the delay. The HS letters went out about a week late as well. I assume they are trying to achieve diversity and may be trying to figure out how to add some kids of color to the best schools (like they did at the SE high schools)

    As an aside, in years past, CPS almost always timed the Elementary schools letters to arrive in mailboxes on the Sat AM of Spring Break. Maybe they are going back to that model. That way, principals don't get the irate parent calls until after a 1 week cooling off period.

    On another note, 2nd round SE high school letters went out this week. I know of several kids who got 2nd round offers to SE high schools.

  • In reply to ydice:

    Could it be that the schools are worried about class size? Will there be 31 in a class or 37?

  • Thank you SO MUCH. That helps us make our decision ... should we have a decision to make, as we're still waiting for a letter. I just would rather decide before we get the letter. I know. I'm strange.

    But I think we'd stick with the neighborhood school, as long as the magnet would have the same class-size issues.

    I really appreciate your response. Thank you for your help.

  • What school is that? I would like to know how they set up the tuition and how much? Our school might have to do that.

  • There is a new crawl at the office of academic enhancement website (cpsmagnet.org) it states.

    "Notification letters for elementary Regional Gifted Centers, Classical Schools, Academic Centers and International Gifted Programs will be mailed today, March 25, 2010."

    Does anybody know if these are all types of magnet schools or are magnet schools a whole different category?

  • story from stephanie banchero about the application process notes the damning reality that there aren't enough good schools and that only two or three out of ten applicants get in:

    "Despite Mayor Daley's high-profile attempts to improve the city's public school system, many Chicago schools are failing to properly educate children.And the dearth of good schools has left parents scratching and clawing their way into the few good ones."

    "For the current school year, 10,300 students applied for seats in magnet schools, where students get in by random lottery. About 30 percent got in. Of the more than 16,000 students who applied to the city's premier selective enrollment high schools, only 20 percent landed a spot. Some of the best city schools have acceptance rates on par with Ivy League colleges."


    under 20k applicants -- imagine what would happen if more than just a tiny fraction of chicago parents applied for magnet and SE schools?

  • Does anyone know the boundaries for the residences of student attending Keller Gifted?

  • Oh, I thought it was just for the south side of the city with the other gifted center being for the north side.

  • We received a letter saying that we were not accepted either! My daughter scored 95 on gifted and 127 on classical. Thats sad to me. Now Im wondering with this score, do we stand a chance in the second round?

  • Thanks. I thought I saw in the coverage of the possible move of Keller to a new neighborhood that a huge majority of its students lived very close to the school, like in the Beverly area. If that's true why isn't Keller pulling in students from residences that are more evenly distributed around the entire southside, all south the 59th?

  • Principal, I don't understand your comment. If you go from 3 K classes to 2, how will that leave parents to scramble? Wouldn't you have 2 K classes that were half day? (thus actually offering 4 classes, albeit half day)
    Thanks for any clarification you can provide.

  • Thanks, principal!
    So, do I understand you correctly, that you may have to turn kids away then who have already been sent acceptance letters into your 3 K classes (which may become 2, and even those 2 parents will have to pay for the other half day)?
    Wow. How are you going to handle that? Will you tell parents that there is a chance they may not have spots? Will you hang on to hope that something comes through at the last minute?
    I don't envy you your position for one minute. I hope it works out somehow for you!

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    One more question. Are you a neighborhood school or a magnet? If you are a neighborhood school, your school is required to take all neighborhood kids, and if you drop a classroom (due to forced cuts) your class sizes will sky rocket. If you are a magnet, you will have to tell parents the spot they thought they had no longer exists. Ugh.

  • In reply to teacherparent:

    New Acting Director of Arts Education
    Date Posted: 3/30/2010
    "Mario Rossero will be the new Acting Director of the Office of Arts Education. He will also maintain his current responsibilities as Director of Magnet Schools and Programs in the Office of Academic Enhancement.

    Mario has a background in the arts, as a visual art teacher, former administrator for the Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program, and as a faculty member in the Arts Education Program at Columbia College. He will be a welcome addition to the work of the Office of Arts Education.

    Mario R. Rossero

    Director of Magnet Schools and Programs and Interim Director of the Office of Arts Education

  • I think at those two schools, given that all siblings are accepted automatically, and 40% of the spots that are left are given to kids in the proximity, I would guess that any number higher than 5 has no shot at all. There are multiple lists. Maybe if you were number 1 or 2, you might get in. But very, very few families leave either school.

  • The best resource I have found so far is the options for knowledge guide. Link to the .pdf below http://www.cpsmagnet.org/ourpages/auto/2009/7/30/52275837/2010-2011%20Options%20for%20Knowledge%20Guide%20-%20English.pdf?rn=6626304

    Here is what it says about wait lists for magnet schools.

    8. How does the waiting list work?
    After the available spaces in each grade are filled through the computerized lottery, waiting list
    numbers are randomly assigned, beginning with number 1, to the remaining students in each
    category. Parents of students who are selected in the lottery are given approximately three weeks
    to accept an offered space. After the deadline for accepting an offer, principals must fill any
    remaining spaces through the waiting list, beginning with number 1 and selecting students based
    on their category. (For example, if a student was selected in the general minority lottery, and the
    parent does not accept the space, the principal will contact the first student on the general
    minority waiting list to offer him/her the available space. If this student declines the offer, the
    principal will contact the second student on the general minority waiting list, and so on.
    Principals are not allowed to contact students outside of the waiting list order, and offers must be
    made to replace students in the same category. For instance, a principal cannot offer a space to
    the student who is number 1 on a waiting list and then skip the next five students to offer a space
    to the student who is number 6 on the list. Also, a principal cannot attempt to fill a space
    declined by a student from, for example, a student from the general non-minority category by
    offering the space to a student on the sibling minority waiting list.)

    Deadline for making a decision if you received an acceptance letter is April 16th. Schools will start to call people on the waitlists a couple days after that.I was told this by the Office of Academic Enhancement.

  • Auto Magnets are great for promoting businesses on the go. Be sure to select the right size magnet for your truck or vehicle as car signs come in a wide variety of sizes to fit all vehicles. It is a way to constantly promote your business. Most times you only see an advertisement for two seconds as your drive by a billboard, however in my opinion an auto magnet is something people will constantly see as you are driving on the roads. I found this great website that allows you to design your own just the way you would like it. I hope it helps http://bigdaddyssigns.com/businessmagnets.html

  • Auto Magnets are great for promoting businesses on the go. Be sure to select the right size magnet for your truck or vehicle as car signs come in a wide variety of sizes to fit all vehicles. It is a way to constantly promote your business. Most times you only see an advertisement for two seconds as your drive by a billboard, however in my opinion an auto magnet is something people will constantly see as you are driving on the roads. I found this great website that allows you to design your own just the way you would like it. I hope it helps http://bigdaddyssigns.com/businessmagnets.html

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