We transferred to CCS from a Montessori curriculum and saw exponential leaps in learning and academic enrichment within a few months. Catherine Cook School (CCS) lives up to its mission and, thanks to its leadership and staff, is by far the most innovative and yet retains a core traditional value that is not found in other private schools. CCS is outstanding!
This school does not live up to their mission statement or philosophy. They say they are an innovative and progressive school but they are very traditional in their approach to education.
If you're looking for elite private Chicago schools, you have a few options. Latin, Parker, British, French, Catherine Cook. Catherine Cook is by far the least stuck up of all of them. Doesn't feel like the typical preppy rich private school the others feel like. And it's cheaper. They're expanding right now, and student to teacher ratio is crazy low. No brainer. Do your kid a favor and send them here.
We moved our daughter to CCS from another program and couldn't be happier. My child loves going to school and has learned so much. It still amazes me when I drop her off that every staff member in the school knows my daughter's name - from the head of school to the maintenance staff. There is a real sense of community, responsibility, social justice, and accountability. The learning goes way beyond mere academics. I am thrilled with our experience at CCS!
yes, you will be paying a steep tuition like all private schools, and a gazillion additional fees for lunches, field trips, early and late drop off ( 20 $/ hour ! ) gym clothes etc..as well as constant solicitation for yearly donations. in exchange, you get small class sizes ( 15 / teachers ), caring teachers, clean school. although it is getting a little cramped. then there is the technology, with computers for kids...but don't all kids have computers anyways nowadays, iphones etc.. ? and has it been shown that computers increases test scores ? not so. at the end of 6 -7 th grade, like most downtown parents, get ready to pay additional tutors ( 100 $/ hour ) to support your kid for the dreaded competition of SE and other tests for HS. Most of 8 th graders had outside tutoring at CCS, yes. did all kids got in WP, WY or Northside ? not so either. actually, some nearby public schools kids ( LP elementary for ex ) got more kids than ever in WP with near perfect scores ! at the rate college tuition are rising, I am not convinced that paying such hefty fees for private schools are worth it. And look at CPS stats: for 2012, 75 % of kids in SE were from public middle schools.
Our child transferred to the school in 6th grade and has done remarkably well from both an academic and a social standpoint. She is happy and has lots of friends and her standardardized test scores went up markedly within two years, (from average to high 90s for math, for example) which is quite remarkable and we attribute it to the excellent teachers and focused attention on her and her learning style. We also enjoy the school community, finding the parents friendly and involved. We are very happy with our decision!
Catherine Cook School has become one of the top schools in the city, and we are proud to have our daughter enrolled there. She started preschool in 2009, and we have been very pleased with our child's education and teachers. Here's what we love: the staff and administration run the school using sound principles that make sense to well educated parents, the academics are outstanding, graduates go on to top-tier high schools, parents are very involved, and the school's mission, vision, and values are not only aligned with our own--they are being carried out with concrete actions in the school. Kids there are happy and polite, as are the staff. Everyone from the maintenance staff to the Head of School and everyone in between expresses genuine joy in greeting our child each day. Parent concerns are taken seriously, with prompt meetings at the highest level necessary. The Everyday Math program, Writer's Workshop, Handwriting without Tears, integrated technology program, foreign language starting in SK, and all the other academic and artistic programs are truly the best we could hope to offer our kids.
I have noticed that most of these less than stellar reviews are from 2007. In the four years since, Catherine Cook School has established itself as one of the leading independent schools in the city. Our oldest daughter started CCS in 2008 and our experience has been overwhelmingly positive. The faculty is top notch and the school stands out in its meaningful integration of technology in the classrooms. The curriculum is rigorous enough but the arts are also emphasized. The visual arts program there is amazing and when you walk into the school, you immediately sense that it is an incredibly art-rich environment. The class sizes are small (about 20 kids to 2 teachers in a class) so teachers are able to individualize instruction and help kids work to their potential. Dr. Roberts and the division heads are all leaders and innovators in their fields. We feel so lucky to be at CCS. It's a wonderful community of people and our kids couldn't be happier at school.
I have two children at CCS and have been pleased with each teacher my kids have had for the last five years. The school is growing through the strong leadership of the head principle Dr Roberts. The teacher retention rate has improved and the school families are awesome. My children thrive at this school and technology is ahead of other schools.
Catherine Cook has a great group of parents, and administrators who have spent a lot of time thinking about the direction of the school. However, the administration spends a bit too much time focused on abstraction and not enough time on execution. Often you have the sense of being in the middle of an experiment that may or may not turn out as planned. There are some discipline issues, in large measure because admission is done when the applicants are too young to assess properly. The school should admit students no earlier than JK, like most private schools in the city.
The first day I toured Catherine Cook I knew that it was the school for us. The children are a happy, happy bunch. This school fosters creativity which is reflected in the children's art posted throughout the halls. My child has had wonderful teachers. She has made life long friends and so have we. You will never met a more dedicated group of parents and staff.
We have been extremely happy at Catherine Cook. I think there have been some growing pains in recent years, but these have put the school in a great position with an amazing technology program, sports program, and teacher retention has never been better. Tuition increases 2 years ago were steep, but were applied 100% towards teacher salaries and I can't think of a better use. The families are caring, and involved with a very active Parent Association. There is a sense of warmth that makes my daughter look forward to school every day with excitement.
We left another school to come to CCS, and we have not been disappointed. The teachers are excellent, the community is outstanding.
I used to work for Dr. Roberts when he was the Headmaster at Topeka Collegiate. I was a member of the faculty. All I can say is that even the teachers that didn't seem to care for him wish that he was back. Everybody misses him very much. He cares about education and about children. Nobody at TCS would disagree with that. He is a wonderful and fair person. In my opinion our current head of school at TCS can't compare to Dr. Roberts at all. We miss you Michael.
I'm a former parent (seems to be a lot of us). Pre-school/Kindergarten is great but beyond that the value is questionable over nearby public schools. I understand test scores are not much better. My kid is now in public school in the same neighborhood and I find it just as warm, nuturing, caring, wonderful, etc. as CCS.
I am the parent of two former students at CCS. We moved to the suburbs when we were unable to keep up with rising tuition costs. I was very concerned about enrolling my children in public school. I've found is that they have actually made gains. Both were behind their grade level in certain subjects. It was especially shocking as they received excellect scores at CCS consistently from year to year. I agree with other parents in this forum that CCS has kind, caring teachers - but I think that their quality and credentials are inconsistent. I don't agree that the CCS community is nurturing and involved. There is a small group of parents who are involved in a positive manner. CCS parents should demand a cohesive program and responsive leadership willing to answer for their decisions.
We have finally given up on this school after 3 years. We hear the kindergarten program is good, but we joined the school in grade 1. We had high hopes when the school hired a 'permanent head of school' after many changes in leadership. However, while tuition has increased dramatically, the quality of the program has not. It is a warm, nurturing school with caring teachers and many positions have been added (and paid for) in the last two years - but nothing really improves and the new head seems completely disinterested. Parents who think the students at CCS are well educated should demand the results of test scores to get the real picture. For the money, a few years ago, CCS was a value. Now, what you pay for is a lot of expensive personnel and a grandiose gymnasium but only an average and very limited program.
From the moment my son walked into the school, he loved it and felt comfortable. The teachers are wonderful...available any time and are really involved in each child. Tuition is getting expensive, but it is still cheaper than other private schools nearby. School is working to keep teacher turnover down. All schools have issues, but this school is a great community of parents who are very active and involved in helping the school move forward into the future to become even better. This is the best time to be a part of the school.
A great place to send a child. The teachers all really care about the success of each child.
I too found this site while researching new schools for my child. My kid did fall through the cracks. Communication (other than mass email) is poor at CCS. The school has too many things going on that have nothing to do with education. It seems like every week an appeal for financial donations goes out. They market themselves as a place that develops your child's individual talents. That is a big stretch.
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