Our son has been at Skinner North for four years now and we are mostly pleased with everything. The previous reviewer nailed it when he or she wrote about the social emotional curriculum and the mellow attitude of the administration and teachers. There is NO pressure on the students when it comes to academic performance or standardized test scores. They are so much more focused on making sure the kids are growing up to be respectful and kind, which I think is the ideal for elementary schools but is rarely realized in this age of testing, testing, and more testing. When you have a selective enrollment school, you can have an environment where the academics (which are challenging, to be sure, and advanced) basically take care of themselves, but it doesn't usually turn out like this (see Decatur and Edison, e.g.) Principal Netterstrom sets this tone. He has also been very responsive to us, as have the rest of the teachers and administrators, always very quickly responding to parents' emails and welcoming respectfully student concerns and questions. The school size is small so that everyone knows each other. Seriously, this school is the dream of what public school should be. I only wish every kid in Chicago could have the experience mine does at school every day (I really, really wish his siblings could, too, fingers crossed for a good testing experience for his little siblings!)
Our daughter is thriving in the early grades at Skinner. She is appropriately challenged and surrounded by stimualting, like-minded peers. We really appreciate the social emotional curriculum and the low key attitude about being the #1 ranked school in Illinois. The Skinner faculty doesn't make a big "to do" about the student body's abilities and really focuses on letting kids just be kids. The diversity of the population is also a big plus to us - it's truly a slice of the greater Chicago population and much less segregated than many neighborhood schools can tend to be. We're very happy at Skinner and have our fingers crossed that our second child will get in too!
The principal couldn't be bothered to arrange a tour for us when we were unable to attend the regularly scheduled accepted student tour date. In fact, he didn't even pick up the phone to respond to the request personally (or welcome us to the school for that matter), but rather had his receptionist call to tell us we could essentially take the school or leave it. Needless to say, we decided not to attend.
I am currently (as of December 2014, winter break) a 4th grade student from Skinner North. I think my school is awesome. Scratch that, it IS awesome :D The teachers are all nice, but also look out for you and make sure you do the right thing. I made lots of friends in the 5 yrs I have went to school here. The staff set rules that allow you to enjoy yourself here while letting others as well. The homework isn't TOO much... it's in moderation, which is fine. The only downside I can think of is the reason I bring home lunch... :) But that's every school, so... :-P This is why Skinner North is an awesome school. PS this is a K-7th school now B-)
Skinner North is an amazing school. The leadership truly focuses on the children learning to be their personal best. We were concerned that there would be a lot of pressure on the students to achieve, but that has not been our experience at all. Our child is thriving and loves going to school. The teachers have fantastic organizational skills, and the students have ample time to work individually, one-on-one with the teacher, and in groups. If you want to volunteer, the school welcomes parents, but there isn't any pressure to do so.. The diversity of the student body is really impressive. We are very pleased that the school celebrates birthdays and holidays without sugary sweets or food! The pricipal also recognizes the importance of physical education, and recently added PE time to the daily schedule. The art teacher is very creative, and comes up with master pieces! It's a really well rounded school.
Skinner North is among the very best public schools in Illinois. We were thrilled when our daughter tested in kindergarten. The principle is approachable, excellent teachers. The students are bright and well behaved. We were worried about homework, and turns out only 15~30min day which is quite reasonable. The school feels welcoming and open. It is located in the middle of a huge vacant land, with a park on the backside. When picking up and dropping off, you can park your car in the parking lot, which is very rare in Chicago. Great school!
Our son is in 2nd grade at Skinner North (started there in kdg). The second we walked in the building for our principal-guided tour, we knew it was something special! The personal attention, transparency, diversity and collaborative nature make this school unique among CPS. Parents are made to feel welcome and have a role in shaping the school--such an involved parent group! Yes, it is an accelerated curriculum, but the teachers and staff never forget that these are 3-D children, with normal hopes, fears and spirit. Every staff member is trained in the Responsive Classroom approach, which helps kids control their own behaviors, develop empathy, work well in a community, & focus on learning. The communication with families is constant and flows in both directions. Our son has made some great friends there. Honestly, we feel that we won the Golden Ticket the day we got word that our son was accepted! One downside that is common to almost all SE schools--you will have to put in some extra effort to get your kids together with their friends outside of school for play dates, birthday parties, etc, since the students come from practically every corner of the city. Great school, indeed!!!
This school is great! At first, we weren't sure whether to send our daughter because we had heard stories about how this school is very demanding of students and how they teach kids one grade ahead and we weren't sure how our daughter would adjust but, it seems as though we made the right choice. She's in second grade now and is receiving very good grades. Whenever I ask her how her day went, she always respond, "Great!"
Skinner North is a truly amazing place. My oldest is entering fourth grade now and has been there since it opened when he was in Kindergarten. My husband and I used to laugh at the assignments he brought home, because we thought they were far above his level. Somehow, they make it happen there. Our youngest went to the British School for two years of preschool and while they did give assignments there that were above what I thought she could do, my amazement has never been to the same degree as at Skinner North. I had a prospective Skinner North parent who is currently at British ask about classroom beauty comparison after she was discouraged on a tour. If that is important to you, you should look at private school options. If you love the idea of a Chicago Public School succeeding on many levels in a somewhat magical way, you should see if SN is right for your child too.
Skinner North is adding one grade per year. I am so amazed at how organized they are. My kids are really comfortable with their curriculum, their homework load is very reasonable. For kindergarten around 10-15 mins per day, and 10mins more every year. The principle, the teachers are so dedicated to the school. The kidst is a good mix, which is very good for my kids. They learn to love everyone.