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!
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.