CPS: Difference Between Regional Gifted and Classical Schools

Difference Between Gifted and Classical Chicago Public Schools

Choice Elementary Schools Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools Charter Schools

We at Hausmarkt understand that choosing the right school for your child can be a daunting task, especially with the vast array of options available today. Two popular choices for parents in Chicago are the regional gifted and classical programs in public schools. In this article, we will explore the difference between these two types of programs and help you make an informed decision for your child's education.  We will also provide  information on the testing and application process for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) selective enrollment and Classical Schools.

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Chicago Public School (GoCPS) Realeases Important Dates and Deadlines for Fall 2023 Application Process (School Year 2024-25)

3 Types of Elementary School Categories in The Chicago Public Schools (GoCPS) and How The Tier System Works

Chicago Public Schools (GoCPS) Elementary School Options Broken into Three Categories: 

  1. Choice Elementary Schools

  2. Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools

  3. Charter Schools

Choice Schools: Chicago Public Schools (GoCPS):

Students can apply to up to 20 Choice Schools. Seats are filled by computerized lottery.

Magnet Schools

  • Specialize in one subject area, such as fine arts, world language, or technology
  • Do not have a neighborhood attendance boundary, in most cases

Magnet Cluster Schools

  • Specialize in one subject area, such as fine arts, world language, or technology
  • Have a neighborhood attendance boundary and accommodate neighborhood students first. Out-of-attendance area students must apply

Open Enrollment Schools

  • Do not specialize in one subject area
  • Have a neighborhood attendance boundary and accommodate neighborhood students first. Out-of-attendance area students must apply

Dual Language Schools

  • General education program taught in multiple languages
  • One-way programs (only English Learner or EL students) and two way-programs (both EL and non-EL students) are available
  • Have a neighborhood attendance boundary and accommodate neighborhood students first. Out-of-attendance area students must appy

Selective Enrollment Schools

Academic Centers

Classical Schools

Regional Gifted Centers

Regional Gifted Centers for ELs

  • Students can apply to up to six Academic Centers, up to six Classical Schools/Regional Gifted Centers, and up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners. Seats are filled based on a testing process.
  • Students can apply to up to six Academic Centers, up to six Classical Schools/ Regional Gifted Centers, and up to three Regional Gifted Centers for English Learners. Seats are filled based on a testing process.
  • Students with an IEP: GPA requirements are the same as for the General Education population.
  • The selection process for students applying for the entry-level grade takes into account the socio-economic tier in which the student lives
  • Applicants must submit grades by the application deadline in order to be included in the selections process. Test scores will only be shared with applicants that are included in the selections process regardless of whether the student tested or not.

Academic Centers

Housed in high schools. Allow high-achieving students to take high school classes in English, social studies, science, mathematics, world language, and music or art. This program serves grades 7-8 only.

Eligibility Requirements:

Minimum GPA of 2.5
Admissions Exam (Regional Gifted Center exam)
Selection Process:
Selected based on points system of 600 total

  • Grades (maximum 300 points)
  • Admissions Exam (maximum 300 points)

Classical Schools

These schools provide an accelerated program in literature, mathematics, language arts, and the humanities.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (applicants to grades 5-8 only)
  • Admissions Exam (the Classical exam covers the content areas of Reading & Math)
  • Score at or above the median on both the Reading AND Math sections of the admissions exam

Selection Process:

  • Selected based on points system of 300 total
  • Admissions exam score in Reading (maximum 150 points)
  • Admissions exam score in Math (maximum 150 points)

Regional Gifted Centers

Regional Gifted Centers provide an accelerated instructional program that places an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (applicants to grades 5-8 only)
  • Admissions Exam (applicants will receive an overall composite score and subscores for both Non-Verbal and Verbal sections of the Regional Gifted exam)

Selection Process:

  • Selected based on points system of 300 total
  • Composite admissions exam score (maximum 300 points)
  • If needed, Non-Verbal and Verbal subscores are used in the tiebreaker process

Regional Gifted Centers for ELs

Housed in three elementary schools, these programs are designed to meet the needs of high-ability students whose primary language is Polish or Spanish.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • No lower than a B on their final grades in Reading and Math from their previous schools (applicants to grades 5-8 only)
  • Admissions Exam (applicants will receive an overall composite score)

Selection Process:

  • Selected based on points system of 300 total
  • Composite admissions exam score (maximum 300 points)

Charter Schools

Charter schools are CPS elementary schools that are approved by the Chicago Board of Education and operated independently by Charter School organizations.

Students are selected via lottery and applications are managed directly by each charter school.

Charter schools are CPS elementary schools that are approved by the Chicago Board of Education and operated independently by Charter School organizations.  Students are selected via lottery and applications are managed directly by each charter school.

All children enrolled at a neighborhood school are required to reside inside of their assigned boundaries, and you can confirm your neighborhood school by using this School Locator Map provided by Chicago Public Schools.  In addition to the four types of schools listed above, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) also categorizes four tiers (labeled 1-4) based on socioeconomic factors with Tier 1 considered the most lowest and tier 4 being the highest.  The importance of the knowing how the Chicago Public Schools Tier System works will help explain the admissions criteria and acceptance rates.  Here is another resource to learn more about the testing and admissions process of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Regional Gifted and Classical Schools. Now let's compare CPS Classical vs Gifted options within the Chicago Public School System.  Learn more about standardized test prep and tutoring at TestingDad.org.

Regional Gifted and Selective Enrollment Programs in Chicago Public Schools

Regional Gifted programs in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are designed for students who are identified as having high intelligence and a high level of creativity. These programs are available from kindergarten through 8th grade and are open to all students who qualify, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

The curriculum in gifted programs is differentiated and designed to meet the individual needs of each student. Teachers use various teaching methods and strategies to ensure that each student is challenged and engaged in their learning. The classes are smaller than regular classes, allowing for more individual attention and a better learning environment.

What are the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools?

  • Bell
  • Beaubien
  • Pritzker
  • Pulaski
  • Edison
  • Keller
  • Lenart
  • Morton
  • McPherson

Classical Programs in Chicago Public Schools

Classical programs in CPS are modeled after the classical education philosophy, which emphasizes the study of history, literature, and language. These programs are available from kindergarten through 12th grade and are designed for students who are interested in a rigorous academic curriculum.

The classical curriculum is divided into three stages: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. In the grammar stage, students focus on learning the basics of language, math, and science. In the logic stage, students learn how to think critically and analyze information. In the rhetoric stage, students focus on effective communication and persuasive writing.

What are the CPS Elementary Classical Schools?

  • Skinner North
  • McDade Elementary
  • Decatur Elementary
  • Poe Elementary
  • Bronzeville Elementary
  • Southwest Elementary

Differences Between Gifted and Classical Programs

While both gifted and classical programs in CPS offer a challenging and rigorous academic curriculum, there are some key differences between them. Gifted programs focus on meeting the individual needs of each student and promoting creativity, while classical programs emphasize the study of history, literature, and language.

Classical programs also have a more structured curriculum with a specific focus on the classical education philosophy. Gifted programs, on the other hand, have a more flexible curriculum and can be tailored to meet the needs of each individual student.

Which Program is Right for Your Child?

Choosing the right program for your child depends on their individual needs and interests. If your child is highly intelligent and creative, a gifted program may be the best choice. If your child is interested in a rigorous academic curriculum that emphasizes history, literature, and language, a classical program may be the best fit.

Ultimately, it is important to consider your child's learning style and preferences, as well as their future academic and career goals. We recommend that you research and visit different schools to get a better understanding of their programs and teaching methods before making a decision.

At Hausmarkt, we understand that choosing the right school for your child can be overwhelming, which is why we offer guidance and support to help you make the best decision for your child's education. Our team of educational experts can provide you with valuable insights and recommendations based on your child's unique needs and preferences.

Chicago Public Schools

Would you like to learn more about the selective enrollment process for Chicago Public Schools?  Please visit the parent resources section of our blog to learn all about the various options for your child’s education in the Chicago area, as well as tips to understand how to improve your child’s scores on the Chicago Public Schools Selective enrollment exam, the Cognitive Abilities Test CoGat, Stanford-Binet The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence WPPSI Test, Mastering the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test WIAT, Kaufman Brief Intelligence test KBIT, Otis-Lennon (OLSAT), Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE), Woodcock Johnson Test

In conclusion, while both gifted and classical programs in Chicago Public Schools offer a challenging and rigorous education, there are key differences between them. It is important to carefully consider your child's individual needs and preferences when choosing a program. At Hausmarkt, we are dedicated to helping you make the best decision for your child's education.

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