We are considering sending our child to South Loop for kindergarten and elementary. We have toured 2X over the years - while overcrowded and a bit run down, we are impressed with the faculty, the test scores and sense of community. How are your kids doing at South Loop?
Our son started in Kindergarten there this year. Thus far, we're extremely happy with the academics, and he's thrived there. The only issues we've had have been administrative and not academic. There's the administration, the teachers, and parents; all have announcements, events, etc., and coordination between the three groups has occasionally been lacking. But what matters most is what happens in the classroom, and in that regard, we're very, very pleased with South Loop.
As far as overcrowding goes, South Loop recently discontinued its gifted program. (Obviously, kids already in the program will complete it; they're just not starting new classes in it.) While this decision caused controversy--it's a different subject and I won't get into it--it also allowed the school to free up classroom space, easing issues re: overcrowding.
The school is very diverse, both economically and ethnically. The classrooms look like the United Nations. This is really to the school's and the neighborhood's credit, as so many CPS schools end up being homogenous--all black or all white or all Hispanic, all rich or all poor.
The test scores are very high and are comparable to top tier schools in the suburbs. The school also offers quite good, affordable after-school care. Really, I highly recommend it.
Thanks so much for the feedback. We really want to be a part of our community school and are definitely leaning toward enrolling next year. I have connected with other neighborhood parents who also plan on joining South Loop for K and 1st next year, so classroom sizes may continue to be big. That said, it is also a magnet school, which is great in terms of funding, programs, and diversity. If neighborhood enrollment swells, the school can push that lever, allowing less magnet seats.
We liked the "walking reading" program in the lower grades. Any news on math differentiation?
Re Gifted Programs, the National Teachers Academy is starting a program for K and 1st down on Cermak, so that is a nice option for Selective Enrollment families.
I have two kids in South Loop School, one in neiborhood program, one in gifted, both are straight A students. Both are fantastic, there really is no fundamental difference between the two programs. There is plenty of tutoring for those who need it and enough challenges for those who are up to it. Teachers do appreciate the individuality of the kids and their unique ways of learning. Neiborhood classes are bigger but the school does what it can to deal with it. The best thing is that the school reinvents itself every year and gets better year after year. It has become bigger than just a school, it is a community. It is like miniature United Nations with so many languages, nationalities, races and traditions, all appreciated and accepted.
Agree with everything said. I spent $25k on a private kindergarten for my daughter. She came out of it without being able to write numbers 1 to 10, and a ton of useless knowledge. After enrolling her at South Loop she has excelled. She recently made straight As...something I thought I would never see! Most of the teachers are fabulous and go the extra mile.
Please spread the word about upcoming tours South Loop School for prospective parents.
Starting in January, the Early Childhood Center (also called the Branch Building that has the PK and K programs) will hold tours on the second Friday of every month. So that's Jan 11, Feb 8, March 8, April 12, May 10 and June 14th. The Jan-March tours at the Branch Building will also feature a 45 min Q & A session following the tour for prospective parents to ask questions to current parents and the Early Childhood Center Director. Tours at the Main Building (1-8th grades) are still the 2nd or 3rd Wednesday of the month. Check the school website and school calendar for details: http://www.southloopschool.net/calendar. The South Loop School Preschool (tuition-based) is an amazing program, particularly if you plan to send your children to South Loop Elementary as the curriculum fully prepares them for the academics of South Loop School. The PK (children must be 3 by Sept 1 of the entrance year) accepts applications all year but the acceptance process is a bit different than other schools in that it first asks interested parents to put their names on a list, and only after evaluating the number of spots available for the next school year will the school contact families regarding acceptance and a application deposit. (Most schools seem to require a deposit first--regardless of acceptance. The South Loop Preschool application deposit is only due once a family knows they actually have the chance to attend.) This PK acceptance process begins in January/February so I recommend interested families tour soon as spaces fill quickly. Registration for new K-8 students is in April; early registration is highly recommended. I will try to coordinate with the Sloopin editor to publish this information as it becomes available. Hope this information helps!
I'll throw my two cents in here as well. William covered most of what I feel as well. The communication and organization could really use some work. Because there are two buildings/programs (K and Pre-K at one, 1-8 in another) there can be some confusion for K and Pre-K parents. But with the awesome parent volunteers, usually the confusion and bad communication gets resolved. South Loop was recently ranked by Chicago Mag as the 17th best public elementary in the city. While these rankings aren't the reason we send our children here, it is nice to see that SL Elementary is hanging with some of the big name schools. The Sun Times also ranked the school, but not in the upper echelon. This link is below as well. It is interesting to see the statistics and raw information on this school.
We looked at many of the private and parochial schools in the area. While many are very nice FXW, OSM, Daystar, etc. We felt that the cost was too high, when we had a very good elementary in the neighborhood. We still have reservations on certain days, but the growth of our children and the diversity that we see in this school make us believe we made the right decision. I firmly believe that parents make the most difference, and SL Elementary does everything it can to get parents involved.
Well I am little bit convinced about this Phoenix kindergarten “South loop”. But I need more detail of teaching faculty as well as of the background record of this preschool, before sending my kids there for admission.