Yep, testing. It seemed like a good idea at the time!
Ummmm, Val.... what are you talking about?
Here's what I'm talking about.
In general, Chicago Public Schools are -- what's the word I want here? -- lacking. But there are pockets of good things happening. If your kid is reasonably bright and your neighborhood school is goofy (like ours) or just plain a combat zone, there are a few options.
You can take your munchkin to be tested for the Gifted and Academic Enhancement Program schools (aka: GEAP). The test is free, paid by our tax dollars, and administered at the Illinois Institute of Technology by people who make a living designing, administering and assessing these tests for national use. All you have to do as a Chicago resident is fill out the application, list the schools you like (as many as six) and wait for your letter telling you your test times. And did I mention that it's free?
I took Urban Kid 1 last year to for the Kindergarten test. Just for grins, I put down the #1 and #2 schools in Chicago, which also happen to be the #1 and #2 schools in Illinois. She had a lovely one-on-one chat with a trained test-giver-chick, came back 20 minutes later, and we waited for our results.
She scored in the 99.7th percentile. Nationally. She also did not get into either school, but whatevsky. Our eyeroll, their loss, and they weren't going to get her anyway.
FF to last winter. For first grade, there are two tests, depending on what kind of school you want (gifted or classical). So I applied her to both kinds of schools and waited for our test dates. Did I mention that both schools were once again the #1 and #2 schools? Plus I threw a seemingly-snazzy school near U-Dad's place of employment into the mix too. What the hell, why not? And I did it laughing at myself because after last year's scores and rejection, what the hell did I actually expect, right? And we're happy with our set-up here -- this is just us using the resources provided to us by our tax dollars.
The results arrived on Friday.
On the Gifted Test --call it sort of an IQ-ish, right-brain-ish sort of test -- she scored in the 94th percentile. Yowza! Neat!
On the Classical Test -- focused on math and reading -- she scored in the 99th percentile on reading and the 97th percentile on math.
Oh, and she was accepted into the #1 elementary school in the state of Illinois.
I threw the Urban Kids into the car and drove straight to Great Big Urban High School, where we waited patiently for his 8th period class to end. I then told U-Dad, "put on your glasses now; you need to see this." He looked at the letter carefully and got quiet... "oh great, she did beautifully, that's excitingohwowthat's interesting..."
More in the next few posts of our decision-making process, but rest assured that I have pored over every single line of every single page of Are You Good Enough For My Little Girl? Elementary's website. And that's just for starters.
Check back soon.