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Baker Demonstration School

Private | PK-8 | 350 students

We are best known for creative master teachers.

 
 

Living in Wilmette

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $560,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,440.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 8 ratings
2013:
Based on 6 ratings
2012:
Based on 4 ratings
2011:
Based on 16 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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75 reviews of this school


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Posted November 21, 2014

Baker leaves a lot to be desired! All three of my children are performing at below grade level because of a lack of educational integrity at this school. Please look closely before you pay for this school. Many children require tutors to keep advancing. We agree, buyer beware!!!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 14, 2014

Our children all attended Baker and our experience with the school spans from PreK to 8th grade. Each section has tremendous strength. While not every day was perfect, the vast majority of teachers "got" each of the kids and their learning styles, personal strengths and weaknesses which allowed the kids to be kids and learn what they need to know to succeed. I am not talking about "special services" for a learning challenged child, I am talking about meeting each kid - smart, middle of the road or otherwise - at the place they are to allow them to grow and succeed. The classes were small and the friendships forged were life long. Our kids moved on to New Trier where they were very successful in such a differently structured environment. Middle school prepared them for the rigor and their years at baker prepared them as thinkers and leaders. Our HS son recently wrote at paper on educational philosophies and schools. He thanked us for sending him to Baker after he studied other schools in Chicago and the North Shore (both private and public). He and his NT classmates agreed that Progressive Education at Baker better prepares students for HS (and life).
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 9, 2014

For the last 7 years our daughter has found in Baker an exceptionally caring and nurturing environment that embraces her as an individual, fosters her creativity, and has made her love to learn. As parents, we have found in Baker the personalized attention, academic rigor and results that make us realize we were right to choose Baker over public school. The best part about the school is that while our daughter is excelling academically, she also has access to robust arts and physical education programs, and is being taught by teachers who also value and foster social-emotional growth. This all contributes to what we believe is a very unique educational experience for which we are extremely grateful.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 7, 2014

I have two children attending Baker school in grades 1 and 2 and I can say that for the first time, they love going to school every day. They are challenged, stimulated and educated in ways that allow them to learn at their ability level, which appears to be very high... and also to tend to their individual interests. Daily swimming in the school's indoor pool and PE gives them athletic and team sport education together with creative art and music departments. They create colonial families of their own to understand American history; have created butterfly atriums in the centre of the classroom to understand evolution and science... create their own businesses to experience math and business management. They learn through experience and creative expression. There is also a strong emphasis on reading, vocab and understanding not only mathematical equations but why and how they attain the right answers. I can only account for early years, but it is definitely the right school for children that are explorative, inquisitive creative and want to understand the why and how not just the formulae!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 7, 2014

Baker is an amazing place, an oasis in a sea of schools trapped in the teach-to-the-test, less arts and PE trends so prevalent in schools these days. We've had two children at Baker for the past 8 years, one about to graduate, so we have been through the ups and downs as the school found its equilibrium after going independent. Some of challenges Baker faces are what I'd call high-class problems: ensuring parents fully understand the progressive mission of the school, demonstrating how well graduates perform in high school (very well indeed), and balancing the need for teacher autonomy with curricular oversight. But make no mistake: the vast majority of parents I have spoken to in my 8 years at Baker are passionate advocates of the school, whose kids are actually glad to come to school every day. Both my kids' classes have several transplants from local public schools where they were not challenged enough, not truly seen by their teachers, not asked to dig in and learn vs. memorize, and not understood and respected for who they were. I thank my lucky stars every day that my kids are at Baker, taught by these wonderful teachers and surrounded by such an extraordinary community.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 29, 2014

Ah Baker -- so much potential, so much disappointment. Bottom line is that too often, Baker does not deliver what it promises in terms of progressive practices and academic excellence. Teachers have neither adequate support in nor oversight of their classrooms. Yes, Baker has many excellent teachers skilled in progressive practice and who really care about their students. If you're lucky, your child lands in one of their classes and has a phenomenal experience. However, pockets of academic mediocrity persist throughout the school. The lack of consistency in curriculum noted by many reviewers is real and quite stunning, especially in the middle school, where for the most part, one teacher is IT for his or her subject for 6-8 grades.. When a teacher who has developed a strong curriculum leaves, that curriculum vanishes with the teacher, sometimes to disastrous effect. Most families seem happy with the early childhood experience but as kids progress through the grades, more and more parents become disillusioned with the school. I know many parents who are gritting their teeth writing those big tuition checks, just "sticking it out" until their kids graduate. Look hard before you come.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 2, 2014

BE CAREFUL! At the end of first grade I was worried abut my child's reading (or lack there of). I decided to have him tested independently and found out the issues were much worse than I thought. I brought my specialists and their reports to a meeting with school administration. All Baker could offer for academic support (weekly) was 60 minutes of group reading support (the recommendation was 120 minutes individual support) and zero speech and language (recommended was 60 minutes weekly). Baker admins sat in that meeting and told me they would turn my child away if they could not meet his needs and yet they cannot even do half of what was recommended by experts and now it is too late to pull him out for this year. So we are THRILLED to be scraping by financially to pay for a school that can't give my child the resources he needs to be successful as a student. BUYER BE WARE!!!!!!!!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 29, 2014

We could not be happier with the experience our daughters' have had at Baker. This is a truly progressive school, where education is about meeting the WHOLE child where she is an leading her forward from there. I applaud the school's ability to assist children with social and personal growth as well as intellectual. As middle-class Chicago parents, we were nervous choosing a school with a North Shore address, but Baker is also a dynamic, diverse community of parent's from all over. I could not imagine a better place for our kids to grow.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 6, 2013

My children have loved attending Baker Demonstration School. One of them is now in high school and succeeding at every turn. Because of Baker's emphasis on really learning, not just memorizing facts, he feels he is quite ahead of many of his classmates who are working for a grade instead of working to learn new and interesting facts and processes. My kids have especially enjoyed the math curriculum and the arts offerings. The advisory program in the middle school creates a well-balanced, community-oriented student body. Every child is important and at the same time, every group of children is important, too. Teachers go the extra mile to teach and coach the children. If you want your child to succeed in life and be a well-rounded person, Baker is the place for you. We have never regretted our choice (or our commute) to send our children to Baker.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 2, 2013

No school is perfect but we like what we see at Baker. This school is probably best suited for kids who do not struggle academically and thus can afford to have a school focus that is based on encouraging creativity, problem solving and social-emotional development rather than needing a primary focus on learning of the fundamentals to pass yearly exams. Yes, some years a Baker kid will have a teacher that leans a bit to the mainstream and yes some other year the kid will have a teacher that may have too much focus on creativity rather than fundamentals, but for the somewhat above average kid, they will be able to weather such variance and by eighth grade will probably come out as a confident, well spoken, creative problem solver that nonetheless still does very well on high school entrance exams and higher level high school classes. Baker is a school for parents who believe that creativity will be the currency of the future and who have the confidence that their children will be able to afford this type of focus and still thrive academically in a traditional high school -- 'tiger moms' need not apply, as the Baker educational experience is decidedly not for everyone.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted October 11, 2013

Too much variation between teachers...they are given too much leeway to direct their own destiny to the detriment of the students. Need some kind of standards for measurement. Not a great bridge to high school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 19, 2013

This is a terrific school! The community is amazing and the children actively participate in their own learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 7, 2013

Baker is an oasis, teaching in a way that helps children find their passion, enjoy the process of learning, and learn to problem solve in the way that adults do in their jobs. Academic outcomes of Baker kids are very strong, and yet children still learn to problem solve, to find their interests and pursue them, and to self-motivate.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted March 1, 2013

A focus on socialization, progressive learning models, small class sizes. It sounds like a dream come true, right? The only problem is that not all teachers adhere to the standards. My experience has been we'll have three great years, then we'll have a year stuck with a new teacher who still thinks they're at a Chicago Public school--rigidity and lack of creativity. Luckily, we've had more good teachers than bad. A couple of people complained in comments that it's not academically challenging enough for their kids. I know these parents and they're the ones who want rocket scientist kids--I assure you they don't have rocket scientist kids; my son has a child in his class with a genius IQ and he is challenged every day. Baker meets the demands of above-average to incredibly gifted students. I would say that kids who are "average" students tend to flounder at Baker. Most kids are reading proficiently by Kindergarten and leave eighth grade with an excellent grasp on Latin, high level math and science. And the reason I chose Baker in the first place? Daily P.E. and recess. The kids need it and the schools which provide this are fewer and farther between every year.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 27, 2012

Like the other poster, we are waiting for additional change to move this school back to what it was 10 years ago. Our kids are more creative based but we worry that they won't get the basics for high school. The teaching approach varies, with some so focused on being out of the box they don't prepare kids for basic science, math, reading, etc. At some point kids have to move to high school and the real world. I would compare curriculum carefully...and look at test scores.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 22, 2012

Our kids love Baker. They are excited about learning. When they leave school, it is apparent, they have found ways to continue to hold on to the lessons learned.It's not unusual to hear Spanish songs being sung from the kitchen or to observe the recreation of an innovate game from phys ed. When I found myself engaged in a discussion with my 7 year old about whether any other penguin, but an Emperor penguin would meet the height requirements for rides at Great America, I knew he was making the information his own. And when my older son was as excited about the "Battle of the Books" as he was to compete in a basketball game, I knew Baker was the right place for our kids.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 2, 2012

We're surprised at the teacher turnover in the past few years and the difference in the way teaching is applied. Some classes are good, while others are lackluster. It really depends on how your child learns, but there is such a wide gap from grade to grade. Not sure what middle school holds, as many teachers there are new.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 11, 2012

We have two children at Baker - a middle schooler and one in the elementary grades. The Baker experience for both my kids has been amazing. The middle school structure - with traveling groups, advisories is a wonderful way to prepare kids for high school. Middle school is a rigorous program that really prepares Baker kids for high school. Many Baker kids move straight to honors and AP classes in high school. I am surprised at the comments that mention free flowing and lack of testing and weak math programs at Baker. I have found that there is a lot of rigor in the curriculum. Baker fosters creativity and an integrated comprehensive approach to learning. Thematic units allow for deeper exploration of key topics, weaving in language arts, drama, music, art, math and social studies. Writing workshops at the 2nd and 3rd grades are "fun" because kids create their own stories and write poetry but in the process are taught to think and reflect. Math homework includes problem solvers and playing math games with friends and parents which ensure that you build critical thinking skills and review basic fundamentals in an effective manner. Baker has been an fantastic experience for us.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 2, 2011

This is our third year at Baker, and we have been impressed with the quality of education; dedication of teachers, staff, and the board; and the emphasis on how the "whole child" learns. My children are still little, but they get to interact with older kids, and I have seen how Baker faculty and staff foster kindness, generosity, and service each year in each kid. Not only that, but children are taught *how to think.* I was a good student when I was in school, but "book smart." I would have loved to go to a school that got me thinking creatively from Day One, and I am so glad my kids get to experience that at Baker.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 15, 2011

This school works for those of us who don't want a lot of academic pressur. The focus is on free flowing creative work, but not on testing and keeping up with the North Shore school systems. My kids like it, but I do wonder how we fare without much testing. Could be a concern when we get to middle school and have to think about study habits, high school, etc.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

What is the GreatSchools Rating?

The GreatSchools rating is a simple tool for parents to compare schools based on test scores, student academic growth, and college readiness. It compares schools across the state, where the highest rated schools in the state are designated as “Above Average” and the lowest “Below Average.” It is designed to be a starting point to help parents make baseline comparisons. We always advise parents to visit the school and consider other information on school performance and programs, as well as consider their child's and family's needs as part of the school selection process.

 
 

Breaking down the GreatSchools Rating

Unfortunately, this school doesn't have sufficient data to generate an academic rating.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 77% 60%
Two or more races 11% N/A
Asian 6% N/A
Hispanic 5% 16%
Black 2% 20%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 0%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander N/A 3%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% N/A
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

Teacher resources

Foreign languages spoken by school staff French
German
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Russian
Spanish
Hebrew
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by school officials and community members.

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Arts & music

School facilities
  • Art room
Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra
Performing and written arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production
Clubs
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Latin
  • Spanish
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Gym
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
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School basics

Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • After school
  • Before school
School Leader's name
  • Mr. Dan Schwartz
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
Gender
  • Coed
Special schedule
  • Extended/longer school day
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Nonsectarian
Associations
  • NALS
Fax number
  • (847) 425-5801

Programs

Foreign languages taught
  • Latin
  • Spanish

Resources

Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • French
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Remediation
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Art room
  • Auditorium
  • Cafeteria
  • Computer
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Library
  • Playground
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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School leaders: Help your school shine on GreatSchools
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and more! Get started »

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Flag football
  • Soccer
  • Track
  • flag football
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Cross country
  • Flag football
  • Soccer
  • Track
  • flag football

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Ceramics
  • Painting
  • Photography
Music
  • Band
  • Choir / Chorus
  • Instrumental music lessons
  • Orchestra
Performing arts
  • Dance
  • Drama
Media arts
  • Video / Film production

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Yearbook
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

School culture

Dress Code
  • Neither uniforms nor dress code
Parent involvement
  • Baker is truly a community. baker parent organization is comprised all of students' parents and guardians. * to promote the welfare of children and youth in home, school and community. * to bring closer the relationship of home and school so that parents and teachers may cooperate intelligently in the education of the child. * to enhance the educational facilities and opportunities for the students of baker demonstration school that are not otherwise provided for in the school corporation budgets. * to promote the sense of community among baker families. http://bakerdemschool.org/parents/pto.htm
More from this school
  • As a laboratory school, Baker Demonstration School remains an important part of the teacher-education program at National Louis University, and regularly hosts interns and student-teachers from Northwestern, DePaul, Loyola and the Erickson Institute. Most of our teaching associates are attaining their Masters in Education at one of these institutions. As an independent school, Baker attends to the learning experience of each child while fostering students' sense of being part of something larger, and preparing them for successful paths beyond middle school.
Note: Data provided by school administrators and community.
School leaders, update and verify information here.

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What are your chances?

Students typically come from these schools
Chicago, Evanston and Wilmette preschools
Private schools out of state
Home

What does it cost?

Financial aid offered
Yes.

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Evanston Township High School
CPS Selective High Schools
Loyola Academy
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

201 Sheridan Road
Wilmette, IL 60091
Website: Click here
Phone: (847) 425-5869

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