What is Options for Knowledge?
Options for Knowledge is the "umbrella" term that is inclusive of all of the specialty schools/programs that students can apply to outside of their neighborhood school. These consist of elementary and high school magnet schools, magnet cluster schools, high school magnet programs, open enrollment schools, regional gifted centers, classical schools, academic centers, international gifted programs, International Baccalaureate schools, and selective enrollment high schools. The application, selection, and notification process for these schools is managed by the Office of Access and Enrollment.
How do I apply to Options for Knowledge schools and programs?
You may submit an online application or a paper application. You are encouraged to submit your application using the online application process, which is provides for faster processing and improved communication. To apply online, visit www.apply.cps.edu and request a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to begin the process. To apply with a paper application, visit www.cpsoae.org and download the application of your choice under "Apply" and "Application Materials." The application process starts October 1st each year and ends in mid-December for the following school year.
Does my child have to take a test to get into an Options for Knowledge school?
Most schools select students through a computerized lottery – no testing is required. However, we do have schools designed for academically advanced students – Regional Gifted Centers, Classical Schools, Academic Centers, International Gifted Programs, and Selective Enrollment High Schools. For these schools, admission testing is required.
In addition, for Academic Centers, International Gifted Programs, and Selective Enrollment High Schools, the selection process includes the student's prior year's standardized test scores and final grades.
Schools that require testing do not conduct a computerized lottery.
Students with disabilities are encouraged to apply to these schools, and testing accommodations will be provided in accordance with the student's IEP or 504 Plan.
What is the difference between regional gifted centers and classical schools?
Both regional gifted centers and classical schools serve academically advanced students at the elementary school level. Both types of schools accelerate learning so that there is time for projects, term papers and group work that takes the learner deeper into the subject matter, and the curriculum for both types of schools includes a world language component.
Regional gifted centers place an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity. The test for regional gifted centers assesses the student's critical thinking skills and reasoning abilities.
Classical schools place an emphasis on scholarship with a liberal arts focus. The test for classical schools assesses the student's reading, language arts, and mathematics abilities.
Do I have another chance to apply if my child isn't accepted into to any Options for Knowledge schools?
Yes. If additional spaces are available after the fall application process has ended, an end-of-year application process is conducted in the spring. This applies to magnet schools, magnet cluster schools and open enrollment schools only.
Can students with disabilities apply to Magnet or Gifted Schools and Programs?
All students with disabilities are eligible to apply to magnet and gifted schools and programs. Appropriate services within these programs will be provided to meet individual needs. If a student is selected by lottery for a magnet school or program that is not accessible, transportation will be provided to a comparable magnet program at an accessible school.
Are students with disabilities required to meet entrance exam requirements for enrollment?
Students with disabilities are required to take entrance tests at schools that require them. Applicable test accommodations described in the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan will be made available. For example, if a child has a fine motor impairment and cannot fill in the bubbles on the answer sheet, a person will be provided to scribe for them. A child with a visual impairment may require large print or Braille. The goal is always to measure the student's knowledge or ability, and not the disability. However, to be considered for any program for academically advanced students, all applicants need to earn a score that demonstrates they can compete and succeed in an accelerated program. Depending on the applicant pool, some students with disabilities may be accepted with lower test scores than general education students. However, no student will be admitted whose score is not representative of a student who can succeed in an advanced environment.
Can English Language Learners (ELL) apply to Magnet and Gifted Schools and Programs?
Yes. All ELLs are eligible to apply to magnet schools and programs. Additionally, there are several Regional Gifted Centers that are designed specifically for ELL students.
Who should I contact if I have more questions about getting into an Options for Knowledge school, or if I want more information about the programs?
For further information, call the Office of Access and Enrollment at (773) 553-2060 or firstname.lastname@example.org.