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Old 06-15-2011, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Southwest Florida
2 posts, read 3,589 times
Reputation: 10

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Greetings and salutations! I am a Chicagoland native, born and raised in the Southside suburbs, and after ten long years, it's now possible for me to move back home. however, quite a lot has changed in the intervening time, and I come to y'all for some help.

The most significant change is location. I'm looking at moving to the city proper instead of the suburbs for a variety of reasons. The most important one is probably that my roommate, who's already in Chicago, is a student at Paul Mitchell ETA: on the UIC campus. Moving her to the suburbs isn't possible right now. I am, unfortunately, relatively unfamiliar with the area, so I don't know which neighborhoods are good ones, or at least safe enough for two women and a seven year old boy.

Which...would be the other major thing that's changed. I'm a single mom with a young kid, so I need to know where the better schools are. Scores only tell you so much, and it's so much better to talk to parents, if there are any around that are willing to help me out. I'm graduating in December with a bachelor's in English, and will have my teaching certification by then as well, so proximity to schools to teach are also important.

Right now, my biggest questions are 1) decent neighborhoods? 2) decent schools? and 3) anyone want to hazard a guess how much seed money would be wise? I know how much I'm likely to be able to scrape together, but I"m also trying to figure out how much I should "ideally" have. Consider it an exercise in "I would have liked..."

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by ssjohnson32683; 06-15-2011 at 09:27 AM..
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:10 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 80,051,593 times
Reputation: 18643
Where is the Paul Mitchell place? Where would you like to work? Is your Florida certification going to be possible to get endorsed in Illinois for the coming school year?

Are racial factors an issue? Sexual identity? Would you rule out Oak Park or Evanston if that would give you access to better schools?

Last edited by chet everett; 06-15-2011 at 09:22 AM..
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:13 AM
 
12,904 posts, read 17,468,317 times
Reputation: 9038
Yes things have changed, after all it HAS been ten years. There is a new mayor, a new Governor and new President. The CTA rapid transit has a new color: Pink. The Sox won the world series, the Blackhawks the Stanley Cup, leaving the Cubs as the only major team not to go all the way. Oprah is gone. Millenium Park is here.
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Southwest Florida
2 posts, read 3,589 times
Reputation: 10
Chet, Paul Mitchell is on UIC's campus. My apologies, i'd intended to put that in the original post.

I intend to teach at the high school level, though I'll sub at any level. Grad school is a couple of years away, so that doesn't really impact this much. As far as whether my certification will transfer, it is my understanding that once I am certified to teach in any state, it's only a short sideways step or two to be certified to teach in Illinois. Even if it takes more effort than I've been led to believe, I'll have several months to get things in line before the 2012-2013 school year starts.

ETA: I have no issues with race, but as I'm a very pale skinned Caucasian, and so are my roommate and son, I suspect there are some neighborhoods where we wouldn't be safe. I grew up near Joliet, so I've no delusions about that. Sexual identity is not an issue for me either, though I'm personally not strictly straight. I would not rule out Oak Park or Evanston, if there was an unbeatable price; however, I'm concerned that they might be too far out for comfortable commuting for my roommate.

Pvande, yes, I'm aware of all of those things, thanks. You forgot that Pluto's no longer a planet. I've been in Florida, not under a rock.

Last edited by ssjohnson32683; 06-15-2011 at 09:34 AM..
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Old 06-15-2011, 09:29 AM
 
1,325 posts, read 3,952,162 times
Reputation: 510
Welcome back to Chicago. I googled and see the Paul Mitchell school appears to be in the 1200 block of South Halsted in the University Village neighborhood. That is actually an ok neighborhood.

We have tons of great neighborhoods in the city and I always tend to point folks to the ones along the lakefront on the northside (for example, Lakeview).

However, the challenge is that you need a good public elementary school in the city. So many city folks send their kids to private schools or move to a close in suburb like Oak Park (which really is close to South Halsted St) where the schools are decent.

Someone else on the board may be able to help you with info about good elementary schools. I have heard great things about Nettlehorst in Lakeview but know little about others. Here is a link to the CPS boundary map: http://schoollocator.cps.k12.il.us/

The other thing is that as a new teacher in the City of Chicago you may only be able to get a job at a horrible high school in a high crime area. You can go the suburban or private route, but that presents commute issues and in some cases residency requirements (but not usually).

good luck to you

Last edited by soulful; 06-15-2011 at 10:30 AM..
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:18 AM
 
14,394 posts, read 15,912,357 times
Reputation: 8662
There are very good public schools in the City. If you are renting, it will not be an issue to get your child into one of these non-magnet schools. Bell, Blaine, Audobon, Lincoln, Peirce, Coonley, Nettlehorst, etc are all neighborhood schools that if you live in the area, you get in. All are are good to excellent.
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Old 06-15-2011, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Chicago
422 posts, read 763,925 times
Reputation: 421
There is a magnet school called Gallileo in Little Italy which is very close to UIC. I say rent in that area, lots of things for a kid to see and do in that area not to mention all the amenities downtown and the museums if he/she is old enough to enjoy that.
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Old 06-16-2011, 12:07 AM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
3,396 posts, read 6,786,800 times
Reputation: 3725
Since getting to UIC is a concern, looking along the Blue line will most likely be your best bet. University Village is a decent area, but I'm not sure about the schools in that area. Your best bet for getting info on Chicago Public Schools is NPN Forums. You're right to be more concerned with first hand experiences than with test scores. There are plenty of schools that you can rule out by extremely low scores, but that still leaves plenty of schools in Chicago that are in the top 50% statewide, and many of them may be a better fit for your son than a school that is in the top 5% (the homework loads at some of the selective schools can be really crazy for the elementary levels, and the attitude of the parents and kids can be kind of intense).

Chicago is pretty good about school choice, but it can be kind of confusing. There are three basic school types - Selective Enrollment, Magnet, and Neighborhood. Selective Enrollment admission is based on testing, and even if your kid scores in the 98th percentile they may not get in. Magnet is done by lottery, with the lottery being weighted to favor kids within a 2 mile radius of the school as well as socio-economic factors determined by the census tract you live in (i.e income, English as first language, and home ownership of the tract). Neighborhood schools are just that - if you live in the attendance area you are in. Even if you live outside the attendance area you can enter a lottery to get into any open spots a neighborhood school has. To make it more complicated, many Magnets are also Neighborhood schools.

Vlajos' list is solid. I'd also add Ravenswood, Burr, and Pritzker (both regular and selective) to the list (based on personal experience). Pulaski and Goethe also seem good, but I haven't had much direct experience with those schools, but have met parents I trust who are happy with both schools.
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