Tremendous parent and community involvement. Integrates 3 schools under one roof: neighborhood school, gifted program and hearing impaired program - and all are amazingly successful!
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.
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.
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.
Great teachers, great education, great parents and great community. My kids love it!
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.
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.
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!!
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.
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'!
i think bell is an excellent school.it does very well on standardized test scores
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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