CGS understands that all children learn differently and are open to assisting where ever possible. The school is supportive toward complete independent testing of a child's learning strengths and challenges. Numerous teachers have years of experience with Learning Differences, whilst some need support and education on the specific manifestations of particular types of learners. CGS does give allowances when attention issues are present, balanced with a realistic approach that all children need to learn to cope with the "real world". Strategies to help support the child and family are developed in partnership with the school. In summary, this is a warm and kind environment to be in when you find out your child has Learning Differences to manage.
My daughter, who is generally shy and who we would not categorize as brilliant, is in JK (junior kindergarten) and was in preschool half days last year. To give you a sense of her personality, she's a typical 4 year old girl; she cares a ton more about princesses and Barbie than puzzles, and she is quiet in class. She came home this week and out of the blue explained to us how chlorophyll works in plants and how water evaporates in the atmosphere and creates clouds. The art projects are fantastic, and the art projects always relate to what the class is learning. She has a bunch of good friends from the school, even in different grades. All of the schoolchildren, regardless of their age, seem to be all around good kids. All in all, a great experience.
Chicago Grammar School is outstanding. In the three years my son has attended, the school has moved forward and each change has added to the quality of the facility and educational experience. The curriculum is the best offered by any private or public school in Chicago (in my opinion and that of educators I consulted). The kids absorb the content of this amazing curriculum from wonderful teachers who subdivide the already small classes by ability so that each child is challenged and can succeed on his or her level -- whether that is far above, at, or below grade level. Despite the finely tuned teaching and testing by ability level, the kids study and play together across age groups and grades. As my son says, he knows everyone in the school. The comment from 2009 regarding the principal only teaching his son's grade is not accurate now, and has not been at least for the past 3 years. Phillip Jackson is an amazing educator who teaches multiple grades and subjects each year. The kids love him and love every subject he teaches. Communication from and to the teachers and administrators is constant (through the intellishare web site) and easy (through e-mail or a phone call).
This is our first year at CGS after transferring from another private school. We wanted it all. Art, music, daily physical ed and top academics. We found it at CGS. We continue to be impressed with the positive atmosphere and our daughters progress in these two months has been amazing. The class sizes are half of other private schools and she loves going to school every day much more than last year.
Our daughter has recently begun her second year at CGS and we are happily secure in our certainty that this is the right school for her. It is so important to us to have the serenity of knowing that each morning we leave our daughter in an environment where she is understood, stimulated and engaged with respect, kindness and sensitivity. We were immediately impressed with the intellectual and cultural level of the school's leadership and staff. CGS truly offers a well rounded education stemming from a classical curriculum.
Chicago Grammar offers a first class education. My kids are now entering their third year at the school. Their progress has been amazing. The teachers are great at reaching very student students, and the administration has some really innovative ideas.
When we were looking for a school, we wanted one where the children were at the center" and their individual needs / abilities were considered, supported and developed. CGS is such a school. It instills an amazing love of learning and encourages the children to think and express their opinions and thoughts. CGS surrounds their students in an integrated program so what they do in Language Arts flows onto Ancient History, then Art and so forth. The specific needs of the children are considered and the school is committed to working with the parents and the children in a professional, caring and honest manner. Communication is open and reliable and the extended school community is friendly, kind and diverse. The teachers are amazing! They are caring, thoughtful, enthusiastic, fair and really smart. CGS is a unique school. Consider it as your child is also unique.
Incredibly impressive up-and-coming PK-8th grade school. I'm convinced this school will soon be impossible to get into. Academically it's already on part with Latin, Lab, and Parker. Their test scores are unbelievable! Every single child scored above grade-level in math (some were up to 4 grades advanced). Yet somehow they also find time to do art every day, go on field trips, and have fun while learning (our child loves it!). The emphasis here is on learning, not memorizing. That's why the curriculum is so integrated. All subjects relate to each other and are based on different periods of history. It's brilliant, and the kids learn so much. The school just expanded into new space, and while it's still small, it's got lots to offer. If you want a Latin, Parker, or Lab-caliber education without the social pressures, you can't beat CGS.
We did a ton of research into private schools, and came away feeling that CGS was one of the very best--if not the best--private school in the city. The teachers are caring, incredibly smart, and highly motivated. The school has hired several fantastic new teachers recently, and it shows. Then there's the curriculum. It's amazing--easily the best in the city. Reggio in the early years, then classical after that--it combines the best of progressive and rigorous approaches. Singapore math (by far the best math program in the city--check out their test scores and talk to PhD mathematicians, as I did), integrated history, classic literature, Latin, formal logic, art every day (taught by a working artist!), music by a renowned jazz musician--this school has it all except for a large facility and some of the "bells and whistles" that are frankly not important anyway. The administration is warm and caring and incredibly communicative--they truly love this school, and it shows. Our only initial hesitation was its small size, but we now think of the size as a blessing--our son gets unmatched personal attention. The school recently expanded its space and looks terrific. A true gem!
This school is wonderful and unique in Chicago. Classical education (see school website to learn more), small class size, integration of coursework and INCREDIBLE art/project work. All of our expectations have been met, and even surpassed. The history program is amazing! The topics are woven into art/project time, literature, music, even science. The math program is very strong and the children have been testing at the gifted level. Due to the small class size, the teachers can and do work one-on-one with each child and accommodate strengths and weaknesses so the child is not bored or overwhelmed. Each child gets special attention. Outstanding teachers. A composer for music, a working artist for art/project time (what these kids produce is unbelievable!). A program that ensures the child is developing and using all parts of the brain. And the kids have so much fun!! My child LOVES going to this school.
The school has many qualities. it is adaptive and child-focused, feature a fascinating curriculum and exposes children to arts like no other. I love that the school teaches through history and immerses children in a topic. Children are taught in an environment that values excellence rather than the status quo. Curriculum is often tailored to the needs of a specific child. The results garnered by the school in the past are very impressive.
I love this school. The teacher is more than happy to discuss my knowledge of my child. In many educational settings, parents are ignored as outsiders or interference. I always feel welcomed into the classroom. The style of education is unusual because everything relates to everything else. I love to watch my daughter show me how she was taught to figure things out. The extreme individualization means that each child is met at his own level and taught at his comfort zone. It is rare for every child in a room to be doing the exact same thing. The facilities are too small (although they will be expanding to a new space soon) and the school needs a dedicated outdoor/large motor area and a gym attached to the school itself and not shared with the nearby college because there is almost no gym equipment appropriate to young children.
Parents who really want to have their students at one of the well established private schools (e.g. Latin, Lab, FWP) and "settle" for CGS because of the availability hurdle of other schools may be disappointed. CGS resources are far less than those schools so you won't currently find a recurring public lecture series or interscholastic athletics. Appreciate it for what it is and accept it for what it is not. Academically, I'm convinced most any child, will be able to excel here. So far they have a very good track record. Yet, don't let the high test scores and the advanced material scare you into thinking a transfer or entering child has to be as far ahead in their development as current students. Teachers adapt material to each student's current level rather than forcing all students to be on par with a rigorous equivalency schedule.
I think that this school has some truly remarkable qualities. The curriculum is advanced and challenging. The principal and founder of this school is very passionate about providing a top-quality education to the students. However, we shared the same concerns as a previous parent who posted on 3/31/09. My greatest concern was that the teachers (not including the amazing art teacher) did not share the principal's passion and drive. Our daughter is now attending FWParker and we have noticed a pronounced difference in the quality of teaching in her new teacher, as well as an incredible energy in the overall teaching staff. Again, the principal of this school is amazing, but he seems to prefer to teach whichever grade his own son is in and we felt bad that our daughter would not be able to gain access to his incredible teaching style -- a style not emulated by the other teachers.
We have two kids who attend this school and we couldn't be happier. They love the learning environment, which we have found to be extremely supportive and nuturing. The school has such a low student-to-teacher ratio that the kids get a lot of individualized attention, something that the other private schools we looked at could not offer. Our kids are challenged without being overwhelmed. We also love the other parents that we've met there and feel part of a close knit, fun group. We highly recommend this school and are so happy to have found it.
We were not happy with this school and took our child out after a year. The preschool is OK, but the environment in the oldest grades is competitive and there is no feeling of teamwork or joy in learning. Some of the front desk staff are unprofessional and difficult. Most elementary children only stay one year except for a core who don't take well to new kids. Some of the language arts content is way too advanced for the maturity level of elementary aged children.
I used to send my kid to this school. The pre-school is outstanding. The level of detail in the artwork and individual attention paid to each student in such small classes is incredible and beyond compare. However, we ended up sending our child to a much more established private school simply because we were unclear about the direction of CGS. Would it go through high school or end at 8th grade? Will class sizes get bigger? What other sports/athletics/clubs will it offer? None of these questions were answered for us.
CGS is everything a school should be: challenging, individualized, interesting to both child and parents so that the materieal is engaging, excellent communication with families, daily physical activity and free time, an amazing artist-in-residence so that the children learn art in the most amazing ways rather than as a 'subject', positive discipline and strengths-focused teaching! Plus the Jacksons clearly care about each student, this is a life's mission and it shows in every aspect.
The full circle level of learning at CGS is amazing, the reading pared with art and culture is something to experience! You just do not find this level of teaching everywhere. It is quickly apparent just how much planning and experience has gone into this curriculum. Phil Jackson's talents and passion for teaching are a hidden treasure- hopefully to stay only here for a long time to come. The art and computing teachings surpass any program out there! CGS is a quiet hidden treasure, for now. To be a part of it has to be the greatest thing you could do for your child's education.
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