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3730 North Oakley Avenue
Chicago, IL 60618

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(773) 534-5150
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Map of Bell Elementary School address.

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September 03, 2014
I am a 7th grader in the options department at Bell School and I am honestly very happy where I am. Although I do think that the new principal is not as included and well rounded as the old one, I still find Bell to be such an including and wonderful school. I've been here since I was in kindergarten and I have made great connections with the student and the teachers. I would like to make a shoutout to the seventh grade options teacher (Mr. Klein) I think that he has prepared many students to be able to reach their full potential and get ready for high school which is an extremely helpful pro to Bell. The academics are really good for what I am aware of and some of the reviews saying that they aren't, are not really looking at all of the different view points and really looking at the work that their kid is given.

- submitted by a community member
May 13, 2014
I think this school has been a wonderful experience for my children! We moved in district just to go here and have not regretted it one second. It is a great community. The teachers are, on the most part, wonderful and caring and my children are thriving in their academic journey here. We have never experienced any bullying or elitist teaching staff as some have reported. I volunteer often in the school and feel I have a great rapport with the staff. They school encourages parent participation and volunteerism, a part that makes is so great.

- submitted by a parent
May 09, 2014
If you scratch the surface of the hype surrounding this school, you will discover that all that glitters is not gold. I have had 2 kids at this school for the last 6 years and the truth is that this is the most over-rated school in Chicago. The environment is elitist and entitled. Bullying is rampant and not addressed. The "wonderful" education is mediocre at best. Unless you plan on donating a lot of money or spending hours volunteering, forget about your child being treated as anything more than a statistic. While there may be a few teachers who are wonderful, they are the minority and most teachers are extremely passive-aggressive in their attitudes towards the students especially in the upper grades. I moved to the neighborhood specifically for this school and wish I had stayed where we were. . There are a lot of other parents who feel the same way but are afraid to say anything for fear of repercussions.

- submitted by a parent
April 17, 2014
I do not recommend this school for anyone who has a deaf child. The principal is very inexperienced and is just worried about the how everything looks to impress outsiders. They confuse children and families.

- submitted by a community member
September 26, 2013
I am happy that my daughter, who is now in 8th grade, is able to attend and graduate from Bell. It has been mostly a great experience - good teachers, parental involvement, and culturally diverse.

- submitted by a parent
August 29, 2013
With three different "schools" within the same building, Bell has an extremely diverse student population. Neighborhood, gifted and deaf/hard of hearing children have separate curricula but the faculty and administration are extremely creative in finding ways for the children to interact. On top of that, top notch staff, creative and dedicated teachers and an extremely strong parent organization have made Bell a consistently top ranked school not only within the Chicago Public school system but also the state. Academics, sports, fine arts, after school programming and more make this a welcoming school and deliver a great education.

- submitted by a parent
August 19, 2013
Bell school is wonderful. My son has been there for two years and loves it. He has an IEP and we were very concerned about a school appropriately providing for his learning needs (after being at other good school, just to be disappointed). Not the case at this school. The community is wonderful and very supportive to all students.

- submitted by a parent
June 05, 2013
I am currently an 5th grade student at Bell School and I am frustrated with all "spirit" and festivals. In my opinion, they don't really have a real effect on the students' positive thinking and are a complete waste of time. I get that the staff is trying to promote kindness and acceptance, but, really, if they want us to treat each other better, they should work on THEIR leadership skills. I do realize that only we as students can stop bullying and other issues, but, it's really their job to educate us and guide us. With all the "fun" events right now, I think they are taking this issue too forcefully. You can't really "party away" bullying and I think they should take a softer approach towards this issue. Instead of going about into lalaland and planning not-so-creative events, they should listen to the people who are actually being bullied. I just don't think they truly understand what's happening backstage in OUR reality.

- submitted by a community member
April 08, 2013
I am currently an 8th grade student in the Bell school options department, and my experience with bell school has been, on a whole, very positive. I have had some issues with the new principle and slew of new hires - we had two 1st year teachers in three years, both of which had to completely rewrite a curriculum for themselves, leading to a good deal of organizational issues and frustration. (especially considering how wonderful the teachers we would have had were). However, the community involvement, many of the teachers, and the academic and after school opportunities are exceptional and I, as well as my classmates, are prepared for high school next year.

- submitted by a community member
January 29, 2013
We have been at Bell (1st grade) for 4 months now and find it to be an exceptional school. We would love to get our daughter into the Options program but if given the choice between an option program in another school and staying in Bell's neighborhood program, i believe we would make the choice to stay at Bell. The teachers, faculty and community are wonderful and our daughter is thriving.

- submitted by a parent
August 29, 2012
My son is in this school since 2011 and I am really happy to be a part of this school. Teachers are really really great. Their feedback is so helpful. Even Principle is so friendly and open to discuss anything. Good Education flow. Lots of helpful activities for Science, Maths and English. I must say its one of the best school. I took my daugher's admission also in this school ( Preschool), but somehow it not starting this year and we decided to let her go next year but will start with this school only. I do not have enough words but in short this is great school indeed.

- submitted by a parent
April 07, 2012
As a parent with two kids at Bell I can say the school is excellent. All of our teachers, past & present, have been outstanding & truly care. One of the best aspects of the school is the open attitude of the administration and the way they strongly encourage parent involvement. Teachers are easily accessible and available to answer questions. Their personal recommendations for my kids have been on target and obviously geared towards my kids unique learning style. Community involvement is strong as evidenced by Friends of Bell fundraising that generates substantial dollars each year. This allows the school to stay on top of the latest technology. I m always impressed by the regular flow of new computers and AV equipment thanks to these discretionary funds. The bottom line is my kids are thriving in every way because Bell really is as good as it s reputation.

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2012
Things are changing at Bell and not necessarily for the better. The new principal is not being a leader so much as running away from parents. Parents are not welcome into her office as was the case with the old principal. I have yet to see her smile at anyone. When issues have been raised concerning new teachers or program changes barriers are put in place to keep the average parent out of the loop and forget about offering an opinion. As stated before - What does the options coordinator do? She just seems to be 1 more buffer between parents and the principal. She is definitely not an advocate for the program(kids or staff) she is 'coordinating.' Bell used to be ahead of it's time in the gifted program it offered. Now it seems to be stagnant and this is entiredly based on the lack of leadership from the top down. I hope someone in the admin sees this and starts to take the comments to heart.

- submitted by a parent
July 30, 2011
I am a student at bell School. I will be going into the 7th grade options class this year. For me, all my teachers have been great every year. They truly do care about how we are doing academically. The teachers I have had also seem to care about how we are doing emotionally, as well. The one complaint I do have is that the neighborhood and options program seem so segregated. It is rare that the options and neighborhood students will engage in activities together, even during recess. Also, the neighborhood kids all know each other, despite their being 4 different classes because the classes are mixed up every year. In addition, I believe our previous principal was outstanding. But I don't believe the assistant principal that took his place is living up to our previous principal.

- submitted by a community member
June 16, 2011
The education at Bell is good, not great as in some of the North Shore suburbs where I attended grade school, however, based on the attitudes of the faculty, you'd think Bell was the best school in the country. Some of the teachers are very elitist, yet immature in the way they deal with students. One teacher would embarrass students who were too poor to pay for expensive school trips, calling on them in class and asking why they think it is ok not to pay. Another teacher, when asked to write recommendation letters to selective enrollment high schools, would say negative things in his letters about the student or family, rather than just decline writing the letters altogether. There are many stories similar that I have heard over the few years that my children attended A.G. Bell. The lack of professionalism and passive aggressive behavior of faculty is appalling; especially for a school that prides itself on its supposed high level of inclusivity .

- submitted by a parent
November 20, 2010
I am a student of Bell and I would have to say that the teacher are really good. I am in the 7th grade and all the 4 teachers really want you to do your best and succeed, and they help you with that. A down side to this school would be the gifted program and the deaf department. I know that the deaf kids need a little more help but some teacher(mainly specials teacher..gym, art, music, etc.) focus on them more than us. They favor the deaf kids. Also, the specials teachers favor the 'gifties'. It gets really frustrating sometimes! Overall, the school is really good and if you are debating on sending your child here, please do!

- submitted by a community member
October 13, 2010
I do too found out that after a great 1st grade in the Options program my child was learning less and getting bored in 2nd grade with the new teacher. She was not only new to the school but seems to be very new teaching and most likely not "advanced" kids. Was wondering why a more experienced teacher was not hired or they just hired her because she is a Bell alumna. Hardly any work or project to do at home and no word on what our child was learning. Last year principal did not want to do anything because it was his last year. If new principal does take care of the issue of getting qualified teacher, the program and therefore the school will go downhill. Parental involvement very strong.

- submitted by a parent
October 01, 2010
My child attends Bell's "gifted" program. I am not happy with the program. He had a brand new teacher last year that did not follow the wonderful curriculum set forth by the retiring teacher. The Options Program Coordinator (what the heck does this woman do?) did nothing to ensure the curriculum was continuous and to high standards. My son spent nearly two months studying The Wizard of Oz. Really. Now, he is expected to memorize the first 30 elements from the Periodic Table -- in order! His teacher spends much of the day disciplining the kids who get bored by her long lectures. Ditto problems with a new middle grade teacher whose curriculum is non-existent. This program is slip-sliding downhill, and no one is at the helm managing its demise. Word is the options coordinator lost interest in doing a good job when her daughter didn't get in.

- submitted by a parent
no rating May 19, 2010
I love A.G. Bell school! The kids seem genuinely happy when you go there. The parents are warmly welcomed there-- and getting parents to be involved with their kids education is the best way to improve children's performance! Finally, the teachers want to teach----and not just the basics. The approach the WHOLE child. In addition to academics, they help develop the emotional aspects of the kids and get them involved in community volunteering and fundraisers. All of this results in a well-rounded student!

- submitted by a parent
May 02, 2010
With strong academics, social, and physical development of children, A. G. Bell School is the best school! Bell has it all!

- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2010
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- submitted by a parent
April 26, 2010
great sense of community and pride of learning

- submitted by a parent
April 26, 2010
Fantastic environment for children, staff and community members!

- submitted by a parent
April 26, 2010
Excellent teachers and lots of educational activities outside of class to supplement what happens inside the class.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 26, 2010
Tremendous parent and community involvement. Integrates 3 schools under one roof: neighborhood school, gifted program and hearing impaired program - and all are amazingly successful!

- submitted by a parent
March 25, 2010
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- submitted by a parent
March 18, 2010
The best thing I could have done for my child. We have been at bell since 2nd grade my daughter is now in 7th grade. This school has developed my daughter in amazing ways. Not only is it the strongest academically but the sports opportunities are wonderful. Our basketball teams usually got to city championship rounds undefeated. Only principal I've seen that is constantly walking the school.My daughter says out of her 6 teachers so far she cant even eliminate one out of the favorite list.

- submitted by a parent
no rating February 08, 2010
In response to the claim that Bell is below average when compared with the rest of the state (and I'm not even going to respond to the vaguely racist comments about diversity), if you look at this year's Sun-Times ranking, which was based on average ISAT scores, Bell has a state rank of 23 and has moved up 43 spots in the rankings. Not bad. It's also worth noting that the in this list, the top 4 schools in the state of Illinois, period, are found in Chicago.

- submitted by a community member
September 29, 2009
We had heard so many good things about Bell Elementary. That s why we found our experience so disappointing. On the positive side, Bell is a rare Chicago public school with a decent amount of recess. There are also other cool things like Chess Club and Social Center. However, if you have academic aspirations for your child, the Bell Neighborhood program is NOT for you. There was no effort to challenge my child or any of the other above average kids in the class. Expectations were low and learning style was worksheet oriented predominately rote learning. Bottom line, it s a second rate program. We transferred our child out.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 16, 2009
Great teachers, great education, great parents and great community. My kids love it!

- submitted by a parent
May 05, 2009
I am a parent of two children who were in the Options program for eight years. Mr. Guercio sets a wonderful school experience for the children. He is upbeat and positive, expects the best from the children, and as a result gets it. The atmosphere among the children in the school was outstanding. Children were expected to feel good about themselves and the school. It is a great approach in defining a school. The teachers are exceptional. Both of my children had a lot of experience with writing, speaking in front of the class, critical reading and exposure to other classmates ideas and ways of thinking. They were very prepared for both high school and college. In addition to class activities they played on several sports teams, participated in musicals, went on exciting field trips, and benefitted from outside speakers and volunteers brought into the class room. They loved the school.

- submitted by a parent
April 11, 2009
It's an OK school. The staff are caring, but some classes are just a waste of money. Also, my children do not get a lot of homework, which shows that they are not pushed hard enough in education, so I have to push them. The neighborhood department lowers the overall ratings of the school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 20, 2008
I am a former student of Bell. I can honestly say that I have become a well-rounded individual thanks to the education I received in the Gifted Program at Bell. The academic curriculum is priceless (Spanish, Latin and French!). I attended 3rd-8th grade there and it was such a drastic improvement from my previous school. I am forever grateful. Thank you Bell!!

- submitted by a student
October 27, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
September 04, 2008
Attending Bell School has been a fantastic experience for both of my children.The staff is passionate about teaching and the both of my kids speak with enthusiasm about their school.

- submitted by a parent
June 23, 2008
Excellent school, one of the best schools in Chicago.

- submitted by a community member
June 23, 2008
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
June 23, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
June 23, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
June 23, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
no rating March 31, 2008
Compared to the whole state of Illinois, Bell is below average. The payoff is -if you want the 'diversity' quotient, then the school has that with average students and 50% of the teachers entrenched teachers who are more concerned with their unions than treating each child with care. My son for example when in 3rd grade had such an undetailed report at report card night; it made me wonder if the teacher was just another burnt out teacher who good give a damn about her student's education. Pretty typical of another big public school system. But, hey there is 'diversity'!

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
no rating February 26, 2008
i think bell is an excellent school.it does very well on standardized test scores

- submitted by a parent
February 11, 2008
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- submitted by a student
December 22, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
March 24, 2007
We have 7 years of experience with both the neighborhood and the options programs. Academics: Great overall in both. Too much homework in Options primary! Children are truly learning to read with enthusiasm, to write for communication, to reason with their whole minds. Overall, the teachers are excellent. Bell offers a Foreign Language to all students starting in Kindergarten! Plus weekly Art, Gym, Computer Lab, Sign Language, Library. Fully produced Broadway musical every other year, great Talent Show the years in between. Residencies with local arts agencies and in-house opportunities for artistic self-expression. 8-10 professional Fine Arts Assemblies = exposure to performing arts and shared cross-program experience. Family Nights. Heavy parental involvement -including, but not limited to, fundraising. Principal is absolutely outstanding! Talk about above and beyond!!! Discipline and security are good.

- submitted by a parent
February 11, 2007
Bell School has been a wonderful experience for our family over the last 6 years. With one child in the gifted program and one in the neighborhood, we've seen a fair amount of the school. My children have both had excellent academic experiences so far, and Bell offers art, music, and gym every week during school in addition to lots of after-school activities. Every school has room for improvement, and no school is the right fit for every family, but this is a school that seeks to maintain its high standards and benefits from a very high level of parent involvement. Bell does a lot of fundraising, but participation is always optional, and the school uses the money wisely. If Illinois did a better job of school funding, the effort that goes into fundraising could directly help the school, but parents do volunteer in many ways, not just by raising money.

- submitted by a parent
January 30, 2007
Not at all what it's stacked up to be! The Principal Bob Guercio does not concern himself with the future of the school and makes poor decisions without regard to the children's or parent's concerns. Overcrowding is a major issue.

- submitted by a parent
November 07, 2006
We have many cousins and friends in the suburban schools and my children, both at Bell, are always doing more interesting and challenging work than their suburban cousins.

- submitted by a parent
September 28, 2006
I agree with one of the prior reviews that the school is on the verge of becoming overcrowded. This is a major concern. However, I disagree with the comments about our principal. I am convinced that the school is as great as it is because of our principal. He definitely cares about the children, but will not coddle them or the parents. If you go to him with a problem or concern, he will tell you honestly what he thinks and what he will do. I have a child in the gifted program and one in the neighborhood program. The teachers in the neighborhood program are hit or miss. We have had good and we have had bad. The teachers in the gifted program are all excellent.

- submitted by a parent
September 19, 2006
ITBS scores for Bell's neighborhood program are well below the top suburban schools which are much smaller in size. To have your child in an overcrowded school (ex. my 3rd grader has 33 children in his classroom this year at Bell) with only average ITBS scores is unfortunate. It is simple, the standard is against the CPS norm which is even worse than Bell. So, to say that Bell has a strong academic program is incorrect when compared to most state public schools especially those within 20 miles of Bell. But, compared to the whole city, it is a little better. Parents who think their child's school should only be compared against the whole of CPS have low standards. The comparison should be against all of the local suburban schools too.

- submitted by a parent
June 01, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
April 20, 2006
This is one of the top schools in the city of Chicago. The administration and the teachers really care about the students and what they teach. Parents are actively involved and raise money to ensure that all students have the extras they need to succeed. The only problem is class size, which is determined through the City of Chicago.

- submitted by a staff
March 18, 2006
The school is overcrowded. Actual class sizes in the lower grades are 30-32 per class and only one teacher. Playground supervision is inadequate. The school is constantly expecting parents to give money. When concerns are raised by a parent, the school does not adequately or efficiently respond. I heard so many wonderful things about Bell before I enrolled my son, but I have become very disenchanted with the school. I think they need a lot of improvement.

- submitted by a parent
March 14, 2006
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2006
A wonderful city school with a great administrative and teaching staff and outstanding parent support. One of the last schools in the city with recess for kids - vital because Chicago is exempt from daily PE requirements. Has a neighborhood program; gifted magnet program; and a specialized program for hearing impaired children. Does a great job of bringing all three groups together and involving them in activities.

- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2006
Although hard to get in if not in the neighborhood it is a quality school.

- submitted by a parent
February 14, 2006
I am most pleased with the administration at Bell. I think that the programs offered are academically challenging and well researched by school staff. All parents I've encountered are kind and highly committed to the school's success as well as their child's.

- submitted by a parent
November 06, 2005
We've had three children pass through Bell School over the past 14 years and we couldn't be happier with the results. All three were part of the neighborhood program and the foundation they were given has allowed them to the luxury of choice in high schools and colleges. Teachers, administrators and parents all work together wiht the needs of the students as their number one concern. You could not find a better, more inclusive environment anywhere.

- submitted by a parent
October 27, 2005
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
October 10, 2005
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- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2005
Very pleased. My 4th grade daughter has been there since 1st grade and I see how much she has advanced. They also teach the kids sign language so they can interact with kids in other departments. Principal is wonderful, you always see him walking around and interacting with the kids and parents.

- submitted by a parent
August 10, 2005
My daughter has been attending Bell for five years and is entering her final year there in September. She has always been a fabulous student but each year, she has performed more strongly than the last. She is in the neighborhood program and her ISAT scores were an average 99 across all subjects for 7th grade. Those who mentioned the neighborhood program as being substandard, clearly are not familiar with students, teachers and the curriculum in the neighborhood program. Almost all teachers my daughter has encountered expressed strong interest in the children they teach; the children the community trusts them with. Mr. Guercio is an energetic and involved leader who is very approachable and always warm. It would be lovely is CPS could provide him and Bell with more resources for languages and Arts. I am a single mother with biracial child, and guess what, diversity never means substandard!

- submitted by a parent
January 10, 2005
The Bell Options program is excellent and provides an excellent start and the reason why the Bell School rates so well on the Standardized test. Put simply, the Options program brings the overall scores for the school up on the rankings. If the true scores separated out the neighborhood program scores, the school would be rated much more like an average Chicago Public School --well below National average that means. So, in short, the Options program is top notch but academically the neighborhood program academics are still struggling to even match an average suburban public school.

- submitted by a parent
November 13, 2004
I graduated from Bell in 2000 and I am now in one of the best colleges in the country. I still use the techniques I learned from Bell today in many of my classes. Bell is one the best high school prepatory schools in Chicago. The principal is always there for you.

- submitted by a former student
June 02, 2004
I graduated from Bell School. It is a very diverse school and I have to say Thank You to all of the teachers there. I have learned a lot. At the time, I thought the workload was too heavy, but now I realize how much Bell prepared me for high school (Lincoln Park IB) and college. When I moved on to high school, I was very much ahead of other kids in the school and I am very much ahead of my peers today. Highly recommended!

- submitted by a former student
April 28, 2004
Bell School is overated. We had 2 children at Bell while living in the neighborhood. When we moved to a suburban school district we were much happier with the academic quality. I just wish that we had wised up earlier to the low academics at Bell. We were blinded by the 'diversity' thing that people kept talking about. We now understand that diversity is nice but academics is much more important to our children during their formative years. We know that open-mindedness to diversity is taught in the home not by just being in the same classroom with children who are bringing down the academics of the school. Our 2 kids academic education is much more important to us than anything; the other priorities are secondary period!

- submitted by a parent
April 13, 2004
Bell school is a good school. The only caveat is that it is a good school as far as Chicago Public Schools go! The CPS system is horrific but this school is good when set against the rest in Chicago. Most Chicago suburban schools are above and beyond Bell school. But, for those who choose to remain within the Chicago school system for whatever reason, Bell is good.

- submitted by a parent
February 29, 2004
Bell is an excellent school. One of the best schools by far. Teachers not only teach the child they care about the child. The Principal is very involved and makes it a point to get to know everyone. If you want your children to start out right in life and set high goals this is the school to put them in.

- submitted by a parent
February 07, 2004
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a community member
November 18, 2003
The school somewhat rests on its laurels. I don't think teachers are eagerly trying to improve their teaching but rather keep doing pretty much what they've done in the past. Which of course is pretty good.

- submitted by a parent
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Bell Elementary School
3730 North Oakley Avenue, Chicago, IL  60618
(773) 534-5150
Last modified Bell Elementary School is a Public school that serves grades PK-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Bell Elementary School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 71 reviews. Top