Schools that have an attendance boundary. Generally, all students who live within this area may attend the school. Acceptance based on student living in boundary area or application if out of boundary area.
Schools that are open to all Chicago children, but operate independently from the Board and each other. Acceptance based on application and random lottery, if applicable.
Schools - like magnet, selective enrollment, and military schools - that have their own processes for enrollment.
Schools that provide an accelerated instructional program that place an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity. Acceptance based on application and entrance exam.
Schools that specialize in a specific subject area. Acceptance based on application and random lottery.
Schools that offer a rigorous curriculum with mainly honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Acceptance based on application and entrance exam.
Schools that are operated by private entities under contract with the Chicago Public Schools. Acceptance based on application or random lottery if applicable.
Schools for students with disabilities who reside in specified geographic locations. Acceptance based on students' Individualized Education Program.
Learning in K-2
The Common Core State Standards are national standards that inform teachers, parents, and schools as to where children should be at the end of each grade level for literacy (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) and math. View Parent Roadmaps for the Common Core for each grade level.
In Chicago Public Schools, schools and teachers may select their own high quality literacy and math teaching materials, so those materials will vary from school to school. However, all teachers are preparing students to achieve the Common Core State Standards for literacy and math.
In addition, all students receive instruction in Social Science, Science, the Arts, and Physical Education (gym). They also have recess every day, because we know time for games and physical activity is critical for developing healthy students. Playing and social games help students process what they have learned, and test they’re new understandings of the world. Open ended play also gives students the chance to practice making friends, negotiating social situations, and building confidence.
Do you have questions about learning in K-2? Ask your child’s teacher, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing Your Child for the First Day of School
Beginning kindergarten is a major milestone in the life of a child! Help your child prepare by talking about what kindergarten might be like. Ask your child what they are thinking and feeling about kindergarten. Remember, what seems normal to adults may seem very overwhelming or frightening to a child at first. Feeling nervous, scared, excited, or unsure are all normal feelings. Be positive and supportive.
Consider watching this 6 minute video with your child: Transitions: From the Child's Perspective
Or checking out a few of these books from the library:
- Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, Joseph Slate (Illustrated by Ashley Wolff)
- Seven Little Mice Go to School, Kazuo Iwamura
- Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, Eric Litwin (Illustrated by James Dean)
- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
- Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten, Hyewon Yum
- Yoko Learns to Read, Rosemary Wells
For more ideas, read this article from National Association for the Education of Young Children.
A healthy child is a happy child! Click here to view CPS Health requirements, and check out tips for eating healthy at school and at home by clicking here.
Preparing to Meet with Your Child's Teacher (K-2)
Meeting with your child’s teacher will be a two-way conversation—you both will have the chance to talk and listen. As the parent, you have valuable information about your child that can allow the teacher to better help your child. Your child's education is a partnership between home and school. Follow these tips for a successful meeting with your child's teacher:
- Write down any questions you would like know about your child at school. Some questions might include:
- What are the expectations for my child?
- How is my child doing at school? What do you see as his/her strengths? Challenges?
- Can you show me data about how my child is doing?
- How can I support my child’s learning at home?
- How can I be involved in the classroom (even if I work during the day or have other commitments)?
- Are there other resources at school I should be aware of that can help my child?
- Decide on a plan together. As you discuss your questions and the teacher’s questions, decide what you will both do to support your child’s continual growth and learning. Write down what you and the teacher will each do.
- Make a plan to stay in touch. Share which mode of communication is best for you—phone calls, texting, email, notes home, etc.
- Afterwards, talk to your child about what you learned. The meeting was all about your child! Don’t forget to share with them about what you learned (including their strengths) and what you plan to do to help them keep growing and learning.
For more tips, read this article from the Minnesota Parent Center or this tip sheet from the Harvard Family Research Project.
Supporting My Child & Learning and Development at Home
Your child’s education is a partnership between home and school. Here are some important things you can do to support your child’s learning at home:
- Talk to your child and listen to their responses. Ask them questions about what they are thinking and feeling and respond supportively.
- Answer their questions. Young children ask a LOT of questions. It can be overwhelming! However, asking questions is how young children learn. Always acknowledge their questions (“wow, great question”), even if you don’t know the answer—it’s ok to say “I don’t know”! Look up the answer together online or in a book or even talk about what your best guess might be.
- Read aloud to your child, daily.
- Encourage your child to draw and write—in a journal, on scrap paper, anywhere – except the walls!
- Share your interests with your child and encourage them to tell you about what they are interested in.
- Go to the library together, or to play at the local park. Chicago Public Library and Chicago Park District both offer a lot of free events.
- Attend meetings with your child’s teacher and follow through on the teacher’s suggestions for how to support academic development at home.
- If possible, create a designated space for your child to work on homework.
- Praise your child for hard work and trying again—this teaches your child to keep going, even when they are faced with a challenge.
- Learn about Common Core State Standards and some specific ways you can support reading, writing, and math at home with this parent roadmap.
- Review this Parents’ Guide for Student Success.
Other Resources for Parents of Preschoolers
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)'s Family Resource
How to Get Your Library Card from Chicago Public Libraries