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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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!
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.
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.
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!
With strong academics, social, and physical development of children, A. G. Bell School is the best school! Bell has it all!
Excellent teachers and lots of educational activities outside of class to supplement what happens inside the class.
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!
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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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