Chicago is missing something. Of the top five cities in the U.S., Chicago is the only one without a private school option for gifted students. Several exist in the suburbs, but there is no option for families who want to stay in the city.
That changes this fall with MAGE, the Midwest Academy for Gifted Education. Parents and educators are launching the not-for-profit for elementary through high school. It meets a need for greater flexibility and individuality than Chicago Public Schools currently offer with their gifted programs. And parents whose children have already tested into those CPS programs can easily apply to MAGE.
How is MAGE different? Because we are new and independent, we can apply the best advances in teaching gifted learners.
· Students are grouped by ability, not age, but still with plenty of age-appropriate social peer interaction.
· There are no grades received for classes, and homework is rare.
· Teaching is centered around student inquiries, heavy on project work, collaboration, and real life experience instead of worksheets.
· At every grade level, this includes immersive studies in STEAM (adding Arts to the now-standard blend of Science, Technology and Math) as well as civics, global citizenship, design, and exposure to trades and handcrafts
· Social and emotional education is built into the school day.
· And of course, low teacher - student ratios of 1:8 or 2:20.
The Chicago Public Schools gifted and classical program students usually find themselves in classes at least 28 to one teacher, from kindergarten on. CPS aims to accommodate children who are 1-1.5 years ahead of grade level. But there is little support for those who are farther ahead, or not uniformly at this level. MAGE is designed to be a more flexible alternative for the highly gifted and the asynchronous learner.
Here’s an important addition: MAGE also accepts siblings of gifted students even if they do not meet the same criteria, in order to help families with quality of life. Right now, many parents spend hours driving to multiple schools, or have to move across town, if one child is accepted to a CPS gifted school and others are not. With MAGE, parents can focus on education rather than transportation.
MAGE has worked hard to make admissions easy for many Chicago families. If their children have taken an NWEA (MAP) or CPS selective enrollment test in the last 3 years and scored in the top 2%, they may already have the documentation required in order to submit an application for consideration. MAGE has a part time program at every grade level, supporting young children that need to go home and nap, homeschoolers, and many other diverse needs. Chicago is full of wonderful schools, accommodating diverse needs - and now, even more so, because of MAGE.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Irene Gottlieb at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 600-5571. Additional information about MAGE can also be found on the web at http://www.mage.education/.