CPS

Early Kindergarten Update - just a few days left for 2019 registration

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

On Wednesday June 26th, CPS created a path for early kindergarten admissions. Details are here.

Registration is happening only for a short time and is under way - just to July 19th. There are few takers so far. Testing is happening this and next week, and it seems that CPS was not counting on a lot of applicants. While CPS communicated that up to 2,500 students may be eligible to apply to early kindergarten, the early 1st grade numbers only showed under 40 applications a year for the last 2 years. It looks like CPS had an initial staffing plan for testing for only about 80 children. Certainly they had a plan to expand it, however, after they had made a big deal about allowing such an accommodation, there hasn’t been an outpouring of requests yet.

CPS was supposed to send out letters to eligible kindergarteners on the 1st of July. It is unclear how they would identify those children as only a fraction of the city’s population is in a JK program. We have yet to hear from anyone who has received such a letter. Drop us a note if you did.

Once again, we would like to raise the issue of equity.

Both the application to determine if a child is eligible for testing, and the testing take place during center hours, which are limited:

  • In the first 2 weeks of the application process, there were no weekend or evening hours. In fact, the hours are limited to 8:30-1:30, but we are hearing some of these are further limited. It could be that the intent of this period was to keep the numbers of people applying low, so that everyone has a chance to practice procedures. However, giving people just one week in which evenings for 1/2 the process are available to complete the process is inequitable.

  • In the third week, there are three library locations offering evening hours on Mondays and Wednesdays, and two that are offering Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

  • There are no Friday evening or weekend hours.

  • This means that parents, if they wish to apply in the first 2 weeks, may have to take time off work, and it may be impossible to do so.

When a parent shows up (see our link for more detail) to sign up their child to be evaluated at one of these locations, with all the needed documentation, they are given a developmental survey, and are scheduled for testing at one of just 4 test centers:

  • Dever 3436 N Osceola ave., Chicago, IL 60634 (773)534-3090

  • Colman 4655 S Dearborn Chicago, IL 60609 (773) 535-1225

  • Westinghouse 3223 W Franklin blvd, Chicago, IL 60624 (773)534-6410

  • Garvey 10309 S Morgan st., Chicago, IL 60643 (773)535-2763

There are 2 test windows available, 8:30AM-10:00AM and 10:30AM-12:00PM, at each of those 4 centers until they are booked up, Monday through Friday. Once again, a parent would have to take time off work. In addition, they may have a very short window, same week, for the test date, forcing them to take a second time off in just one week.

Why are there no weekend and evening hours? Not only does the testing have a fee, though lowest income people could apply for a voucher, but on top, if people have to give up their wages and risk job security to take their child to one of these test dates, then this biases eligibility to the wealthy, once again. These are the details that were not available at the time that the process was presented to the public during the spring forums, and certainly the public would have provided feedback that alternative time slots need to be available to those who can’t afford to take time off, especially at such short notice. Taking a morning off with less than 2 weeks notice is not something that many Chicagoans can afford, especially if they have to do it 2 times in one week, as the testing scheduling is only open for a short number of days after the day that the parent applies.

It is unclear if the testing for those who have applied will stretch much past the 19th of July, but the applications will definitely be over. Not knowing about this application process, not living in the district at the time, etc, will not be an appealable concerns.

No wonder that few people are signing up, if they are not being notified and if they can’t get the time off.

CPS Board of Elections Publishes Video and presentations from meeting.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting | CPS Board Presentation Posted|

The video and presentations from the Wednesday June 26th, CPS Board of Education meeting are now online on the CPS Board of Education web site, and are of better quality than our original coverage. This also includes the detailed School Quality Ratings which we will be writing about soon, as it relates to the ESSA policy not just Accelerated Placement Act Policy. We will be writing in a lot more detail about equity, special gifted populations, and what has to happen next soon. Sign up for our newsletter to never miss a beat, or follow us on Twitter.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

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Breaking news: CPS Publishes Early K Guidelines for 2019!

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

Yesterday, Wednesday June 26th, CPS presented and approved the Final Draft CPS AP Policy. The presentations, videos, and our advocacy speech to get the job done are here:

Summary:

  • You have only until July 19, 2019 to apply.

  • You will have to bring 2 proofs of residency, proof of previous attendance of preschool, your child’s birth certificate, driver’s license, fill out a developmental survey, and pay $50 (fee waivers available), to be considered.

  • When testing is scheduled, your child will be alone in a room with an evaluator for about 90 minutes during the testing, and will be scored in the 40 minutes after the test. Then, you will get a letter of eligibility same day.

  • Child will need to score 120 on the IQ test or be in the 91%. This, by the way, is not an indicator of giftedness and shouldn’t even be required for early K.

  • You will be allowed to test for any SEES remaining seats!

  • No changes to early 1st grade process.

  • All other acceleration delayed to 2020.

Videos of the Board Meeting:

Presentation of the final draft of the Accelerated Placement Act by Dr. Alvarado, head of teaching and learning, to the newly appointed CPS Board. 14 minutes.

Board Discusses Accelerated Placement Act and asks questions. 10 scary minutes.

Our presentation in support of the Accelerated Placement Policy. 2 minutes.

Midwest Academy for Gifted Education, MAGE, is a gifted private school for kids who need even more than the accelerated placement act, and who can’t wait. First and foremost, we are a parent and teacher founded, not for profit community for gifted children and their families in the City of Chicago. We advocate, because we know gifted. If we don’t advocate, who will? Did you show up to this meeting to do it and give up your day? We sure did. We sat through the board’s first, break-less, food-less 8 hour board meeting to get this done. Is it perfect? No. Much work to do especially around equity. We will be posting something in the next few weeks about equity. But, in the meantime, this is a huge step for the children of Chicago. The problem is, gifted kids learn 18-21 months OR MORE per 12 months, so we are a ways off from what all of the city’s 10K gifted kids need. We could never admit 10K kids, so we are advocating for the whole city as one tiny micro-school could never fill that need. If school is not a fit, we are here.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy | CPS Board Meeting Presentation

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Breaking News: CPS PASSES ACCELERATED PLACEMENT POLICY

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

On Wednesday, June 26th, during the first meeting of the new, Mayor Lightfoot appointed Chicago Public School Board, Chicago Public Schools passed the Accelerated Placement Act. First of all, a huge thanks to IAGC Policy Committee and the whole organization, CGCC, Midwest Gifted, and all the advocates across the state for making this happen. Thanks to the new board, for listening. And thanks to CPS administration, for doing a huge amount of work to make this happen.

The meeting was in a first of its kind format where the issues are presented and discussed by the board in front of the constituents in the board room before public comment could be made. And, there was a bit of drama. They didn’t seem to like the Accelerated Placement Policy. But because of the format, we were able to have a chance to respond to the board comments as well and rework our advocacy speech to address those concerns. As the only representation from the public for the Accelerated Placement Act, we felt it had better be a good one, and it worked. Some quick notes that we know you want:

  • Accelerated Placement Guidelines are coming between tonight and Monday.

  • Starting on Monday, eligible families that will be notified via email, will be able to fill out a paper application for early K, if the child turns 5 before December 31, at multiple locations.

  • We learned (and updated our previous post) that the K IQ requirement is dropped to 120 or 91%. Now, 2,000 - 2,500 potential students are eligible for evaluation for early K, data previously not available about the change’s scope. Slides below show the scope by district. However, if we look at the CPS numbers provided in the forums for how many children choose early 1st grade, the number for submitted applications is actually tiny - 21 last year and 37 the year before and there are no numbers as to how many were actually granted - again, the numbers in the slides are applications not acceptances. So, in our humble opinion, the new policy will help about 40 kids a year or less, and to CPS it is a wash - they are then going to be done already and not apply in 1st instead. So, the net number of served children may actually be close to 0 in 2 years.

Screen Shot 2019-06-28 at 12.35.47 AM.png
  • Below are the slides from today’s presentation, as well as videos, containing the latest policy, which will hopefully be documented in the guideline and available online in the next 72 hours. We will link to it here once it’s posted.

Photos of slides at board meeting: You can see our Final Draft CPS AP Policy for details - nothing changed there in the last 48 hours. That link, Final Draft CPS AP Policy also has more detail, and we will share the official guide once it is posted. Videos of the entire presentation, discussion, and advocacy are below the photos.

Videos:

Presentation of the final draft of the Accelerated Placement Act by Dr. Alvarado, head of teaching and learning, to the newly appointed CPS Board. 14 minutes.

Board Discusses Accelerated Placement Act and asks questions. 10 scary minutes.

  • 30 seconds in, we hear that CPS felt that the Act was passed as a surprise by the outgoing governor/as if CPS was blindsided. States CPS needs more guidelines from the state but the nature of what’s desired is unclear.

  • 2 min in, we hear that CPS lobbied against this legislation.

  • 4:23 min in, someone calls the law an unfunded mandate. It isn’t. The cost benefit analysis yields about a 25K savings (infrastructure+instructional per pupil allocation per year) because the pupil will attend school for 1 year less.

  • minute 6, they explain only 100 kids would qualify in grades 3-6 for acceleration and it’s unclear as to why this would be deferred to 2020 if the number is so small.

Our presentation in support of the Accelerated Placement Policy. 2 minutes.

Whoa, isn’t MAGE a private school? First and foremost, we are a parent and teacher founded, not for profit community for gifted children and their families in the City of Chicago. We advocate, because we know gifted. If we don’t advocate, who will? Did you show up to this meeting to do it and give up your day? We sure did. We sat through the board’s first, break-less, food-less 8 hour board meeting to get this done. Is it perfect? No. But it passed, and that’s the most important thing. Something is better than nothing and now there is a chance that 2500 children will be served this year. Just about 10 thousand more to go. Much work to do especially around equity. We will be posting something in the next few weeks about equity.

But, in the meantime, this is a huge step for the children of Chicago. Even the OTHER private schools may have to copy this one. As for us, grade skipping is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to acceleration. Gifted kids learn 18-21 months OR MORE per 12 months. We telescope, compact, etc. We don’t even look at it that way. We simply meet your child where they are, and take them to the next level, at their pace, full differentiation, in a very small student/teacher ratio. So, if they are behind in reading by 1 year and ahead in math by 5, or at grade level, or 2 years ahead globally, that’s where we start, at their pace, with you as our equal decision making partner when it comes to your child’s learning speed. Kids learn through 1:1 or 1:small group instruction, with lots of project based, experiential, and real life connection learning. And have plenty of play time and time outside. Our teachers are well qualified to teach your gifted child. And we don’t do social and emotional learning as a little burst. It’s always on. It’s in fact our top priority. Is your child happy, engaged, and invested in their own learning? Can you send all your kids to the same CPS gifted school for K12? See, we are here for all those reasons and more. If CPS and the surrounding suburbs ever put us out of business, we will be quite glad. Because that would be an amazing win for all. Besides, we could never fit the thousands and thousands of the city’s gifted in our small school. We love as many options as possible for all the gifted in the greater metro area. They are underserved.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

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Breaking: CPS Set to Vote on Accelerated Placement This Wednesday.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

CPS Accelerated Placement Final Draft that will be voted on in the Wednesday, June 26th meeting is now available for reading here via a great Chalkbeat article. It is a part of the broader Board agenda found here, on page 75. We may update this by the end of the day today with more info.

Speaker windows were gone within the first 3 minutes, though there may be some observer slots still available. Coming early on the 26th to the board meeting will still give folks a possibility to register to speak or observe. There is still room for advocacy.

Brief analysis of how this policy is different from the previous draft, seen here:

Gains (Great job to CPS for listening to constituents at the forums and adding these to the policy, and to all the advocates that came out to speak at the forums on this policy:

·     No restriction on school type– selective enrollment school students seem to be able to skip grades same as everyone else, in accordance to the state law. 

·     Early K entrance: must be 5 by December 31 as opposed to October 31. IQ requirement dropped to 91%, which means that now 2,000-2,000 children will be eligible this year.

·     Only 2 consecutive NWEA MAP tests are required, as opposed to 3 in the original draft, still at 95% or higher performance. 

·     GPA requirement dropped to 3.75 as opposed to 4 in the previous draft for whole grade acceleration.

·     Written plan for each student for acceleration. This may be the closest to date to a GIEP (gifted IEP) that we can get to. It still doesn’t put gifted under special ed services and keeps it separate from IEP/504, but it’s a good step forward to have this documentation.

Disappointments:

·     No whole grade acceleration outside of grades 3-6

·     No single subject acceleration outside of grades 3-7

·     No multiple year skips unless that’s under the control of the CEO/Designee

·     No NWEA norms at school/local level as opposed to at district/national level

·     No appeals and application process details. 

·     Nothing for kids new to CPS from outside the district

Missing or seems unclear:

·     There is mention of the Accelerated Placement Guidelines which are not going to be voted on in the document. In it, the use of the Iowa Acceleration scale and the rubric would be shown. It is not clear what will be adapted there. 

·     In the old policy draft there was mention about schools that do grouping being exempt from accelerating students, but there is nothing about how much, in terms of adequate levels of differentiation is there per grouping. 

·     The CEO/Designee is able to make policy changes extraneous to a board voting process. 

·     No considerations of other policies that need to be modified to make room for this one. 

·     No protections for students when a principal says that they can’t accommodate walking up, or a guideline for decision making about non-core classes that may be missed. 

·     No proper placement at level by testing, just a flat, one time skip.

·     No above grade assessment in any subject that’s routinely administered on top of the NWEA adapted by district, such as PSAT or SAT/subject level testing, or other testing tools for proper placement.

·     Still no universal screen. 

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now | Final Draft CPS AP Policy

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Timeline - Gifted Ed in Chicago and IL

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

This is a living timeline of Gifted Education in the state of Illinois with a specific focus on recent events and the City of Chicago. Feel free to share additional bits to add, if any key points are missing. In order to understand where we are today, it’s important to understand how we got here in the first place.

  • In the US, some forms of gifted programming started in the 1920s.

  • CPS History overall is found here.

  • 1980s - Golden Years for Gifted Education in Chicago - “Currently more than 92% of the student population of Chicago Public Schools is non-White, and 95% are on free or reduced lunch. Students in Chicago Public Schools are identified as gifted through the use of multiple approaches, including ability, achievement, and recommendations from parents and teachers. Threshold cutoffs are determined based on performance citywide each year on the relevant measures employed. Use of both traditional and nontraditional measures are used to assess students for selection, including nonverbal assessments and off-level achievement testing. Students scoring above the 80th percentile nationally in both reading and math achievement are considered for most full-time programs in the city. Approximately 5% of these students are served in 155 gifted programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. (Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, 2010 via Davidson Institute, linked.)

  • 1989, Illinois Association for Gifted Children, IAGC, is founded.

  • 1990s, Belin Blank and NAGC start working on Acceleration Policy.

  • 2001, No Child Left Behind, NCLB (now replaced by ESSA, see our other news article) gets passed by Bush administration.

  • 2003, Governor Blagoyevich eliminated all $19 million of gifted state funding in IL to fund NCLB which had a direct and adverse effect on our state gifted organization, IAGC. CPS Gifted Programming starts to erode.

  • June 8, 2005, Article 14 - Gifted and Talented Children is passed in Illinois. The act also created the GAC, a 7 member, uncompensated, State Superintendent of Education-Appointed Gifted Advisory Council.

  • 2009, NAGC passes Acceleration Policy. States, districts, schools, around the country start adopting Acceleration policy more formally.

Recent Events:

  • August 25, 2017, Illinois Accelerated Placement Act Bill is passed, with a year grace period for districts to prepare to implement the Act for the 2018 school year. Many districts got ready, using the IAGC-provided model Acceleration Policy. Perhaps, this will slowly make things better again in Chicago, like it has in districts other than 299.

  • July 1, 2018, the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act (click here for the complete text of the law) went into effect. Reminder guidance was issued to districts to remind them that by law they need policy in place for 2018-2019 academic year for early K, 1, and single/whole grade skips.

  • August 22, 2018. Chicago Public Schools, CPS chose to defer the adoption of the Accelerated Placement Act by 1 year, and the deferral decision can be read here.

  • Fall 2018, CPS application process for the 2019-20 year remains unchanged.

  • April 4, 2019 IL House votes for an elected CPS school board. Bill as to still pass senate.

  • April 8, 2019, ISBE releases draft rules clarifying Accelerated Placement Act.

  • April 22, 2019, CPS sends round 1 placement offers to next year’s applicants.

  • May 22, 2019, Mayor Lightfoot dismisses the 7-member appointed CPS school board.

Future Events! You too can be a part of the FUTURE!

  • May 16, 2019, June 2019 - State ESSA listening tour. You can still make a difference.

  • June 11, 2019, Free Gifted Parenting Seminar about school advocacy, inclusive of current changes in the state.

  • June 24, 2019, 10 AM: Agenda for the June board meeting will be published. 10:30 AM are speaker registrations to get 2 minutes to speak in front of board. If you think that other parents or teachers of gifted or talented kids will go and speak on your behalf and you don’t have to, or your voice won’t make a difference, guess again. The gifted are only 2% of the population. If they don’t turn out in droves then the city won’t hear them. Take the time off work; get a sitter; do your part - else no one will. You will get exactly 2 minutes. If you have any feelings about your child’s needs that could be addressed best by acceleration, this is your once-in-your-child’s-school-lifetime-chance. Clearly, this doesn't apply to all gifted and talented students.

  • June 26, 2019, CPS Board meeting. Lightfoot-appointed Board will probably be sworn in and they will probably vote the Accelerated Placement Act of which they could be ignorant.

  • June-August 2019, students eligible for early K by CPS definition, if the board passes the act, may get letters to apply for early K. Allowed programs are not known at this time. Currently proposed is an allowance for children with Sept-Oct birthdays to be eligible for early K if they test in the 98%.

  • July 16, 2019, If you haven’t ever had a chance to speak to folks that understand gifted, this live expert panel will give you a chance to mingle with both gifted families and experts in mental health and education about gifted challenges in general, and with anxiety and perfectionism in particular.

  • September 2019, ESSA feedback will be due on final draft implementation.

  • Winter 2019-2020, single subject or single grade skip application process for 2020-2021 year for students in some CPS 3-6 grades who have taken NWEA MAP 3 times and are in the 95% with straight As for 2 years in core subjects required for their skip, and qualify on several other assessments. Child must test 2 years ahead to be eligible for 1, 1-time skip as testing will happen mid-year.

In light of recent events, we can only hope that one day, there will be phase II of CPS implementation of Accelerated Placement Act, with more features. The details, such as the appeals process, will eventually be fleshed out, but no timeline is currently available. In the meantime, this city risks a lot. Our gifted public programming is but a shadow of what it used to be, while most the nearby suburbs have a much more robust and equitable policy. Those who can, will move out of the city if they need acceleration. Our SEES programs will no longer be the strongest (because they were one of the very few left in the state until now) viable option when kids can get double and triple accelerated in strong, un-overcrowded suburban schools.

So, what options do we, Chicago parents, have but to wait it out, except that our children are not getting younger. Perhaps, you can’t afford to wait or move. So, what are you going to do? Will you lend your voice to advocate for the gifted? We are not just a gifted school. We are a community for gifted families in Chicago. Reach out to us or to one of the other gifted organizations in the state to help advocate and forge a better tomorrow. Only the gifted will help advocate for the gifted.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

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JUNE 26 - ACTION Right Now on CPS Accelerated Placement Act

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

The Accelerated Placement Act proposed Policy is supposed to be voted on by the CPS Board on June 26th at 10:30 AM. No one has a copy of the draft which will go before the board. What’s a big deal is that this is going to be a completely new board! The board will be likely sworn in on that very day and may have never heard of the policy before. There is no telling in advance about how much the board knows about gifted children or academically talented children, equity, and other issues around the Accelerated Placement Act.

We will be holding a free seminar about gifted advocacy in schools in general, Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at 6:30 PM in River North. CPS Accelerated Placement Act is definitely an item that we will cover. Please feel free to join us to discuss these new developments.

The new CPS Board may be sworn in on Wednesday, June 26th unless a special meeting is called. The agenda for that board meeting will be posted on Monday, June 24th at 10 AM. Advanced registration for speakers opens at 10:30 AM Monday, June 24th. Because this is a new board, expect that the speaker slots will “sell out” in seconds. The sign up and agenda will be here. The top improvement ideas (biggest overall impact, most in line with state law) over the draft that we saw in the CPS forums, some of which may be in the draft policy that will go before the board are here. The biggest thing is that no matter how small the policy impact and scope, as CPS is considering this a Phase I, is that it has to pass. If the people who drafted the policy put too much in, CPS Board may view the policy as too over-reaching, may view it as something that will take up too many resources, and not even pass it. Passing something is better than waiting another year for any accommodation. So, if you go that day to speak, try and get a hold of the policy draft ahead of time, to know what you are advocating for, and then just ask them to vote yes. That is, unless they added something that would be a big step back after the forums. CPS Board needs to hear from the gifted community, and it is in everyone’s interest that there is some policy instead of nothing at all. Drop us a note if you will be involved.

And if a future CPS Board member or even the Mayor is reading, let’s sit down with our State Gifted Organization, IAGC, and talk about ways to strengthen gifted education in this city. It does not cost extra and it’s in everyone’s best interest.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

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CPS Accelerated Placement Act - Part 4 - Overview

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved |

CPS held 2 parent feedback sessions for the Accelerated Placement Act on April 23 and 25. After presenting about 30 slides including a law overview, nearby district policy, current policy and updated policy, CPS collected feedback. CPS said that there will be pieces they are considering incorporating from the feedback forums that will make it into the final policy. The following is our overview summary of the impact of the policy changes as they were presented in the slides. Use links above to dive deeper if you wish.

  • 2019-2020: The only policy impact for the year as of the first feedback forum is for early Kindergarten entry. This will serve between 20-40 students district-wide as a best guess. To be eligible for early entry:

    • a child would have to turn 5 between September 2 and October 31 of 2019.

    • score 98% on an IQ test administered by CPS for a small fee that can be waived for low income households.

    • parents would have to choose to apply for early K during the specific enrollment period this summer, it’s not an automatic process.

  • 2020-2021: CPS shared that they estimate about 200 students would be eligible for single subject and whole grade skip.

  • This represents CPS phase 1 implementation and there were no hints to what may be in phase 2. Click here to read the top 7 ideas to expand policy to be more equitable and accommodate more children.

  • During the second forum, CPS shared verbally that the draft policy was available online to the general public and that feedback from the two forums will make it into the final draft. It is the current understanding that there will not be additional opportunity to provide feedback on the revised draft.

    Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links

    During the second forum, CPS shared verbally that the draft policy was available online to the general public, but we can’t find it so it’s based on notes taken during meeting. Please contact us if you find any error so that we can make a correction. Also, see disclaimer at top of page.

    This content is brought to you by MAGE. Click Contact to be put on our distribution list.

Top 7 Policy Improvement Ideas - CPS Accelerated Placement Act

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links

The CPS proposed implementation could be modified in 7 easy ways suggested below to to serve more children more equitably. Use Links in the navigation at the top of this article to learn more. The purpose of the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act is to provide acceleration to the children that need it, in order to allow more gifted students to be taught to their potential.

  1. Allow applications for a subject acceleration or grade skipping for grades 3-6 starting this June for the 2019 academic school year, during the same period as the kindergarten early admission evaluation timeframe.

  1. Include selective enrollment programs, SEES and SEHS, in the initial implementation of the policy. The law requires the all students be allowed to access the accelerated placement evaluation process, regardless of whether or not they have been identified as gifted or admitted to any special program.

  2. Allow acceleration if the child demonstrated that he or she would benefit from the accelerated placement based on a fair evaluation of multiple data points. There should be multiple pathways for demonstrating readiness for accelerated placement. The point of the law is not to require that a student hit minimum thresholds on all of the criteria considered.

  3. Increase the grades for whom the skipping is allowed from 3-6 to 1-12.

  4. Do not limit the number of years that can be skipped. Propose an additional set of criteria to skip additional grades.

  5. Increase the number of months for early K to at least match 1st grade entry, for children turning 5 by December 31. Keep the checks to make sure the child is ready to go early, but remove the requirement that the child is gifted to attend K early.

  6. Create an accountability process as part of the policy to show how CPS is evaluating equity and sharing outcomes of the evaluation with the public.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links

Disclaimer: The above are all an opinion based on individual understanding of the information presented at a public forum. During the second forum, CPS shared verbally that the draft policy was available online to the general public, but we can’t find it so it’s based on notes taken during meeting. Please contact us if you find any error so that we can make a correction.

This content is brought to you by MAGE. Click Contact to be put on our distribution list.

CPS Accelerated Placement Act Part 3

CPS unveiled their new policy regarding Accelerated Placement yesterday at the first of 2 Parent Forums, followed by a Q and A and feedback/recommendation session from the audience. CPS stressed that they are going slowly to see how things go, before adding more acceleration components. Even though many may wish for more from CPS, this is a monumental change in the right direction and it is in everyone’s best interest to insure that at least this change passes the board this summer. If you have anything to say about this policy, the best time is NOW. Thursday is the second forum, and this may be it before the board meets to vote on the proposed policy in June.  Two events you need to know about:

CPS Parent Forum: 6PM, Thursday 4/25/2019, Lincoln Park High School, 2001 N. Orchard St.

CGCC Parent Discussion following Forum: 8PM,Thursday 4/25/2019, Gemini, 2075 N. Lincoln Ave., 

MAGE Admissions Coffee: 9AM Saturday 4/27/2019 - another chance to discuss impact of policy on public and non-public gifted education in the city.

Our understanding of the policy summary is below and touches 3 areas:

Early K/1 admissions: 

·       New early K admission for qualified children starting this year for children who turn 5 between September 2 and October 31 of the incoming academic year to start K early if the parents want to. Notifications in June to start process.

·       Children must have completed a year of preschool first (public or private)

·       No change to the current 1st grade admission policy.

·       Testing is a 2-system approach: needs to test in the top 2% IQ and 91% Academics to qualify, in addition to other factors. Student therefore has to be gifted + academically performing.

·       Testing administered by CPS psychologists.

·       Parent developmental survey part of assessment.

·       No early entry to Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (SEES).

·       Testing is $25 or the fee is waived for qualified low-income families.  

Whole Grade Acceleration

  • No acceleration this 2019-2020 school year. Applications for 2020 acceleration open in January 2020.

  • Acceleration limited to a 1-year skip. Applicable to neighborhood and magnet programs.

  • Only available for grades 3-6. No acceleration after 6.

  • No grade acceleration in Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (SEES)

  • Illinois readiness assessment attainment of “exceeds”, Iowa Acceleration Scale used for determining acceleration, presumably with several components such as an IQ test, in addition to other factors: GPA 4.0 in the 4 core subjects for 2 consecutive years (need clarity around transfers), 3 consecutive NWEA MAP tests of 95% or above. 

  • Have to be at least 2 years ahead on math AND reading in order to qualify for 1-year skip.

  • Can reverse skip at the end of 1 quarter.

  • Out of district/homeschooled students first have to be enrolled for a year at grade level that they are coming from before acceleration can take place. 

  • A vague clause says that if a school already does any sort of acceleration/grouping, they don’t have to also skip students. This needs to be quantified: if a school does a math accelerated grouping once every 2 weeks for 1 hour, does that mean that no student in that school could be grade skipped?

  • $250 fee.

Single Subject Acceleration

·       Acceleration limited to a 1-year skip. Applicable to neighborhood and magnet programs. 

·       Only available for grades 3-7. No single subject acceleration after 7.

·       No grade acceleration in Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools (SEES)

·       Illinois readiness assessment attainment of “exceeds”, Iowa Acceleration Scale used for determining acceleration, presumably with several components such as an IQ test, in addition to other factors: GPA 4.0 in either math or reading for 2 consecutive years (need clarity around transfers), 3 consecutive NWEA MAP tests of 95% or above. 

·       Have to be at least 1 year ahead on math OR reading in order to qualify for a skip in that subject.

·       Not applicable to Social Studies, Science, only math and reading.

·       Can reverse skip at the end of 1 quarter.

·       Out of district/homeschooled students first have to be enrolled for a year at grade level that they are coming from before acceleration can take place. 

·       No acceleration this 2019-2020 school year. Applications for 2020 acceleration open in January 2020.

·       $35 application fee.

The district presented a deck approximately 30 slides long, that explained the law, the current policy and the policy change, the workflow and timeline for the process, and research about some other districts in the state and their practices to meet the act. It is important to keep in mind that gifted ED hasn’t had a facelift in Chicago in ages. While this policy is probably not perfect, it’s still a gain and a win for some of the Chicago’s gifted and talented. It won’t help everyone or impact everyone. Not every gifted child even needs a skip. But it has the potential to help a lot of people and to create a second path to acceleration beyond the SEES program.

For background info about the act and its history with CPS, see our previous news coverage of this - Part 1 - CPS deferral and Part 2 - Forums.  Contact us to be put on our mailing list to not miss our opinions about this policy - Part 4 and other news.

Disclaimer: The above are all an opinion based on individual understanding of the information presented at a public forum from notes taken during the forum. Please contact us if you find any error so that we can make a correction.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) SEES and SEEHS - Selective Enrollment vs. Gifted - Wave 1 edition

To all the families anxiously expecting their SEES offers today, good luck in “wave 1.”

But what exactly is SEES and what exactly will it do for my child, you might ask? Why do so many people try to get into SEES? How are SEES different from the other schools? Are SEES a gifted education? Does every gifted child even need a selective enrollment program? We will focus on the basics in this entry and we will add more info in future entries, because much is possibly about to change. Please see our previous news entry about important news and key dates this week for CPS gifted families.

First, the basics:

Chicago Public Schools SEES (selective enrollment elementary and middle school programs, grades K-8, including classical: teaches 1 year ahead, RGC - regional gifted center: teaches 1-2 years ahead, and AC - academic center high-school environment starting earlier with grades 7-8 schools) and SEHS (selective enrollment high schools) Selective Enrollment programming is designed to instruct at levels 1-2 years ahead of the rest of CPS as measured by the outcome of city- and state-level testing. To achieve those number outcomes, many SEES (and frankly, non SEES) schools will stop regular instruction to teach and practice to the test.

Next, how does the process work?

The selective enrollment process starts with the application. Parents need to apply for SEES and SEHS by the fall deadline. Parents of children not meeting age criteria need to either fill a form for early entry if they are within a date cut off, or are disqualified if not and are not allowed to test. Parents select target schools in order of priority, receive a test date, take their child to the test, and then wait for offers. Wave 1 offers for the 2019 Academic School Year come out today, April 22, by midnight! If a family didn’t get an offer, but a child did receive a high score, traditionally top 2% for classical programs, over 130 for the RGC, they have a good shot at getting some offer at some SEES school eventually, sometimes by October of the academic school year. This gets a lot more complicated for the academic centers and high schools. Where you live counts - there is a tier system that some love, some hate, and some try to game - to try to make the system more fair. Usually, wave 2 happens about 2 weeks after wave 1.

Each wave comes with a deadline by which to accept or reject an offer, and clear instructions of what to do. After an offer is given, there are about 2 weeks to tour the school and fill out acceptance paperwork. You should get an email from the offered school with tour dates soon after your offer. We will be posting soon about what to look for on a tour). If you reject an offer, you may get a different offer in wave 2. The tricky bit is, you might not get another, or a better one.

What do you mean, wave 2? Let’s say there are only 2 schools A and B, each with 1 seat, and only 2 students, A and B interested in the seats. Let’s say, parent B wants A but received B, parent A vise versa. If both reject their first offer and are the only applicants in the pool, then they are to receive the opposite offer next if there is a seat in both/only available schools. If you include the multitude of variables in the number of students, their scores and preferences, the picture is infinitely more complex. But, you stand a shot to receive an offer all the way through early fall. Some families test only to see if their children would get in, and have no plans to take an offer. They are just trying to get an idea of where their child falls as compared to others. There will be offers rejected at every school. Even if no school that a parent wanted gives them an offer, at the end, CPS may give some families of high scoring students a chance to enroll at some other random gifted program that’s under-enrolled, usually in a newer SEES or in an area that is not geographically convenient for as many.

Can a school principal help you get your child into their SEES school? Absolutely not. There are laws and regulations against that and the test results are on central control. Another basic fact is that there is no sibling preference in SEES programs, like there is in Options.

This week will seal the fate of many of the 8,000 of the City’s gifted children. Check our our previous entry for information and for what to do to be a part of what’s happening.

CPS, Accelerated Placement Act, and a call to action - Part 2

This article is brought to you by MAGE - non-profit, private gifted option in City of Chicago.

Families of gifted students in the Chicago Public School District, and those in nearby areas should be aware of the just announced CPS-run Engagement Forum regarding the Accelerated Placement Act in less than 2 weeks time. Here are some key events around that time:

  • CPS sends out their first round of offer letters for the 2019-20 year for selective enrollment and options programs electronically to the CPS application portal on Monday, April 22, 2019.

  • CPS Forum Tuesday, April 23, 2019 6:00PM - 7:30PM Colman Office, 4655 S. Dearborn Street.

  • CGCC Post-Forum Gifted Parent Meet-up 8:00PM - 9:00PM 2206 S Indiana Ave.

  • CPS Forum Thursday, April 25, 2019 6:00PM - 7:30 PM Lincoln Park High School, 2001 North Orchard Street.

  • IAGC Policy Meeting, Saturday, May 4, 2019, 10:00AM-12:00PM IMSA

The only information about these forums publicly available currently is here. In 2017, a new law was passed in the State of Illinois that set the framework for the support needed for some gifted students. The law is called the Accelerated Placement Act and you can view the actual full text of the law here. The law was passed with a 1 year grace period, to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The state issued a guidance - a reminder - to districts to remind them of this new law, albeit, an unfunded mandate. Many districts jumped into action, creating policy to comply with the new law. CPS is the largest district in IL and the 3rd largest in the country. Their reaction to the law is a big deal. What did they do?

For context, some key bits of the law from the above link:

“For purposes of this Article, "accelerated placement" means the placement of a child in an educational setting with curriculum that is usually reserved for children who are older or in higher grades than the child. "Accelerated placement" under this Article or other school district-adopted policies shall include, but need not be limited to, the following types of acceleration: early entrance to kindergarten or first grade, accelerating a child in a single subject, and grade acceleration.” (Illinois General Assembly Public Act 100-0421)

The rest of the act goes through important detail around notification of program availability, identification, and wording that could potentially be interpreted as the foundation for a Gifted IEP in the state.

Chicago Public Schools, CPS, in a meeting on August 22, 2018, chose to defer the adoption of this act, and the deferral decision can be read here. Only 3 people came to speak for the immediate adoption of the Accelerated Placement Act in CPS in that August 22nd meeting, which was well covered by Chalkbeat, and you can read about it here. After 3/4 of a year with news from CPS, these new forums are finally scheduled. They come at an auspicious time - CPS Selective Enrollment School results come out for Kindergarten through eighth grade on the 22nd of April, the day before the meeting. Therefore, it is unclear if there will be change, what year the change will take effect, and how it will impact the decisions made for the coming year. It is important to show CPS that you care about gifted education in the city, and that you show up. Unless people step up and show up, CPS might not think this is an important policy to create, continue to defer the adoption of this act. You can read our coverage of the Accelerated Placement Act Part 1 here.

What can you do beyond just these forums? You can go to learn more at CGCC and IAGC, our two local gifted organizations, that periodically have policy-related events. You can even join the IAGC Policy Committee that works with Illinois Board of Education to create new policy for the gifted. That committee’s next quarterly meeting is Saturday, May 4th at IMSA, at 10AM, so mark your calendar.

Not in Chicago? Your district is watching the largest district in the state and the 3rd largest in the country to see what they will do. If you care about gifted education, you should come and participate in those forums because your voice has power to improve gifted education in Chicago and everywhere that will use it as a case example.

Stay tuned for part 3 in a few weeks. We hope that update brings good news for the city’s gifted.

About Midwest Academy for Gifted Education (MAGE): We are a not for profit, private gifted school focused on building community for gifted families in Chicago. If we don’t speak up for the City’s gifted, who will? Our next Admissions Coffee is on April 27th at 9AM and is a chance to connect to other gifted families in the city.

Read Part 1 of our coverage - CPS deferral of meeting the Act.

Read Part 3 of our coverage — CPS unveils new policy supporting the ACT.

Check back for Part 4 - analysis of the policy, coming soon. Contact us to be on our news distribution list. Disclaimer: the above is opinion. Please contact us if you find any errors.

Accelerated Placement Act and the City of Chicago, part 1

On July 1, 2018, a new law, the Accelerated Placement Act (click here for the complete text of the law) went into effect in Illinois. This law is a huge win for Illinois families. However, what will now be different? We will be exploring this issue and posting updates as they become available. Click here for a great article about the change.

For for updated information about CPS and Accelerated Placement act, please read Part 2 - Forums, and Part 3, New Policy Draft. Part 4, policy update and analysis, is coming soon.  Contact us to be put on our mailing list to not miss our analysis of this policy - Part 4 and other news.

Briefly, the law gives the framework to grade skip into K and 1st grade, for example, and then the ability to receive acceleration. We at MAGE hope these changes become available to all Illinois students. In the meantime, we are here, as we believe that there is a long road ahead. Similar laws already exist in other states, and yet private gifted schools also abound in those states - we do not think that any change in Illinois policy will make us obsolete, though we would love it if they did. 

We will start with sharing some information about how you can be a part of the solution here in Illinois. The amazing organization responsible for making the law happen is IAGC - Illinois Association for Gifted Children. If you have a gifted child and you live in Illinois, we would like to encourage you to join IAGC as a member, so that you can be a part of the solution for Illinois children by supporting the organization and by sharing in the dialogue. Every person that joins helps strengthen our state's commitment to gifted interests.  The next policy committee meeting is August 10@10AM @IMSA. Join the conversation!

In the next few weeks, we will be exploring additional topics:

Chicago Public Schools, CPS. What is the timeline for the policy change? Currently, office of OAE, Office of Access and Enrollment which controls the City's public gifted programming and fields the calls about the act, nebulously says that the policy change will be implemented next year. We are waiting on more details. There will be no changes for this year or in time for fall SEES applications for the next academic year as far as we understand at this time. 

What changes will public/charter, private, and parochial schools in Chicago make to comply with the new law? For example, the Archdiocese of Chicago is one of the largest networks outside of the public network. Would be interesting to understand their planned changes. We will be reaching out to the existing schools to find out their plans. Please share information with us and we will be happy to post it, as it becomes available. 

What are the benefits and consequences for any school to be compliant or not compliant with this new law? Is there a cost to implement the new law? What is the long term economic impact of this law on each school?

What policy changes would be relevant in Illinois? In our opinion, it would be helpful if academic differences were recognized as a special need.

-For example, if a student is more than 1-2 standard deviations off in ability to academic performance, many other states have laws with regard to considering that student as having learning differences. In Illinois, such learning differences are not recognized legally. A student is only recognized with a learning difference if they perform to specific measures below average levels of attainment, not as compared to their own potential.

-If a student needs acceleration and the school is not providing it, it would be interesting if they had the ability to transfer to a school that would provide the academic services needed, much in the same way that a student with behavioral issues can tuition out into a specialized program designed to meet their needs. Since giftedness is not recognized as a special need in Illinois, and since academic accommodation is not a part of our IEP in our state, legislative changes to support these sorts of processes might be helpful. Funding around supporting programs and endeavors would also be interesting. 

This article is an opinion article, and has not been peer reviewed or thoroughly researched beyond included links. 

CPS accidentally leaks massive gifted student personal data

If your child has applied to a CPS selective enrollment school, you should be aware that there was a large data breach on June 15th, 2018. A simple mistake by an employee resulted in a mass email of a database file containing student names, application numbers, and contact info to over 3700 families. This is a violation of the trust parents put in CPS, as well as a security liability for those families. If you've sought enrollment in a CPS SEES school, you should double check their announcement to see if your data was compromised. You can check your inbox for an email sent on June 15, 2018, titled "CPS - OAE - Supplemental Application Opportunity". If you received this email, chances are, your child's data was in it. We believe the families who were impacted by this breach were those whose child had high enough scores for a SEES (Regional gifted or classical selective enrollment) seat but did not yet select one.

This is not a first time that sensitive student data was leaked by CPS.  Since this affects the Chicago gifted population specifically, we thought it would be newsworthy for us to share with our audience in case they are impacted. CPS promised to punish the employee accidentally causing the leak, and they said they will investigate. We hope that this new leak finally results in changes to the storage and sharing protocols of student data in CPS, not just an elimination of one employee.

At MAGE, we take privacy and data security very seriously and have policy in place to prevent a similar event from occurring. We are also still accepting fall applications.

Here is the CPS email following the leak:

Good evening,

Earlier today, in an unacceptable breach of both student information and your trust, we mistakenly included your private student and family information in an email to you and more than 3700 other families who were invited to submit supplemental applications to selective enrollment schools.

We sincerely apologize for this unintended disclosure and ask that you please delete the information in question.

We are taking this matter very seriously, and a review of this incident is underway to determine how this breach occurred and ensure a similar matter does not occur again. Additionally, we will be removing the responsible employee from their position because violating your privacy is unacceptable to the district.

If you would like to speak with someone regarding this matter, please contact (773) 553-2060.

Sincerely,

Tony Howard

Executive Director

CPS Office of Access and Enrollment