Perhaps after you get use to the system or you're a more relaxed person, like Kathy, than we are about this whole process, but it is overwhelming. I really do wish I could relax and see this as a different system instead of a system meant to confuse parents.
This is my recent example of being overwhelmed:
Tuesday morning my partner brought the CPS school bible in the car to look through on during the morning commute. I had tagged the magnet, gifted, Classical, and magnet cluster schools that I thought would work for us. We settled on 3 gifted/Classical schools and then I said we needed to rank them.
T: School A, School B, and then School C.
V: But School C is gifted and that's the highest ranking, what if she scores high enough, but doesn't get in because we ranked it 3rd?
T: OK, School C, School A, School B.
*a few minutes pass*
T: What about School D?
V: We didn't like that one, remember?
T: But School D is also gifted and closer to work. Let's go with C, A, D, B. But was D the one with the smaller classes?
V: D was the school where the gifted classes were larger than the neighborhood classes, but even the gifted classes were smaller compared to other schools we've visited.
T: Oh, hell...D is out again. C, A, B.
*few minutes pass*
T: Ok, C is a gifted school, but A is closer to home. Classical is still gifted, so it'll still be good for her. Let's go A, C, B, ok? Yeah, let's go with that. Anyway, maybe we'll get offers from all three.
V: Um, no. The CPS woman said that starting last year they only give you ONE offer, so ranking is even more important now.
T: Well *&%*$(! Still, C, A, B...any of those will be good.
And that's pretty much how we settled on our ranking.
Overwhelming? Yes. The very idea that perhaps we are setting up our daughter for success or failure by the mere selection of her kindergarten is overwhelming. I know, I know, we have no idea. But seriously. My parents chose the school district we grew up in for the very distinct reason that we grew up there and went to a very good high school. It worked. For CPS, it's not just where you live (it helps for awesome neighborhood schools) but also how you play the system. If she's not in a good K-8 school will she score well enough in 7th grade to get into Whitney Young, Northside Prep, or Payton?
The fact that some families DO move to Naperville for the schools is the same as making sure that our daughter ends up on the track to earn her way into a good high school.
Technorati tags: CPS, kindergarten, school, Chicago Public Schools, education
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