You’ve heard it on the playground, on your super-secret Facebook mom’s group and at every kid’s birthday party you’ve attended so far – applying to public schools in Chicago is more rigorous than completing college applications (and, yes, that includes Kindergarten). While you might find your child is 8459403th on the waiting list for your top-choice school, or that your Excel spreadsheet is packed full of great options, many parents who’ve been there will tell you that the best information you will get happens on a tour through the hallways, gymnasiums, cafeteria, and classrooms.
“Chicago has so many amazing public schools to offer that are sure to fit the specific needs of each child. Take tours and see for yourself,” advises CPS parent and Ravenswood Elementary tour guide Stephanie Mandrell. “Don’t just rely on what you hear or read on the internet. Not every school is the right fit for every child so do your research, tour the school, and find the one that best fits the needs of your students and family.”
We checked in with parents, teachers and school tour guides and reviewed this great guide by Raise Your Hand and consulted with CUE resources for questions parents might ask to make the med school…erm, preschool…selection process a bit smoother, and to help you get all the information you need to make the right choice for your child. There’s a lot here and it is certainly not comprehensive. Of course, you will choose the right questions to ask (or email as a follow-up to the tour) based on your student’s needs.