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Alexander Graham Bell School

School News

expand View the LSC Survey Results for 2016-2017 Published: 5/22/2017

​Thank you to everyone who took the LSC survey in April. The feedback is appreciated and will be reviewed for actionable items.  If you would like to see the results, please click on the link below.


Bell parent survey  Final .pdfBell parent survey Final .pdf

expand New High School Application to Launch Fall 2017 Published: 5/16/2017

Over the years, we’ve heard from families about the importance of having a choice in selecting which high school provides the best match for their child’s needs. We’ve also heard that applying to high school can be frustrating and confusing. So this year, Chicago Public Schools has completely revamped its high school application process for students that will be freshman in the 2018-19 school year with the launch of GoCPS, a new website where students and families will be able to: 

 

·         Review school and program options in one place

·         Rank these school and program choices based on their preferences

·         Be matched with their highest possible choice for high school

 

The new application process will feature five key phases, the first of which, “Subscribe,” launched this week.

 

1.       Subscribe (May – June 2017): Sign up to receive important updates and announcements

2.       Research (June – July 2017): Conduct detailed research to find the best school for your child

3.       Activate (August – September 2017): Create an account and access your student’s eligibility

4.       Apply (October – December 2017): Complete applications with one system and one deadline

5.       Match (January – June 2018): Get matched and receive high school offers

 

Each month, CPS is planning to open access to the new features listed in the dates above. This will lead up to August 2017, when families will be able to able to begin using the application functions of the site and October 2017 when high school applications will become available.

 

But before then, there’s still a lot to do, so current seventh grade families are encouraged to visit Go.CPS.edu as soon as possible to start reading about the new application process and to subscribe to the GoCPS mailing list. This will allow them to receive important instructions, announcements and advance notifications that are critical to completing the application process.

 

With GoCPS, Chicago Public Schools wants to empower all students to attend the school with the best environment, programs and activities for them while creating an application process is that is more equitable, transparent and simple for everyone. Stay tuned for more updates to come.​ 

expand Bell School Principal Selection Letter Published: 3/27/2017

March 20, 2017


Dear Fellow Bell School Stakeholders,
The Bell Local School Council (LSC) is pleased to announce that Interim Principal Katie Miller, formerly Bell’s Assistant Principal, has accepted a four-year contract to serve as the next principal of Bell School. We are delighted that Ms Miller has agreed to lead Bell into its second century of academic excellence and commitment to educating the whole child.

Ms Miller, who has served CPS for nearly 25 years, joined Bell School in 2007. She brings to the principal position experience as both a classroom teacher and a school counselor, extensive knowledge of the larger school system and CPS budgeting process, and an intimate understanding of the complexities of managing a school with three programs. 

As interim principal, Ms Miller has consistently impressed the members of the council with her ability to forge strong and productive relationships with Bell parents, teachers, staff, and students. As a candidate for the position of contract principal, Ms Miller articulated a compelling vision for Bell’s future. Meanwhile,she has directed significant changes that have improved our school’s performance and environment.

Providing full and transparent communication is an ongoing priority for this LSC. As outlined in prior LSC communications, our principal-selection process included the development of candidate criteria reflective of Bell’s mission and culture, an earnest and thorough review of all submitted resumes, interviews with and detailed consideration of the six most qualified candidates, and solicitation of candid feedback from
Bell community members.

The Bell community spoke emphatically in support of Ms Miller. Bell School parents, teachers, and staff testified to Ms Miller’s accomplishments as interim leader in advancing an atmosphere of collaboration, finding innovative ways to solve problems, and exhibiting a readiness to meet longstanding challenges head on. Equally noted was her work ethic, interpersonal skills, and unquestionable dedication to Bell
School. One letter to the LSC stated that Ms Miller is someone “who commands respect because she is so willing to give it. She is genuinely caring and interested in each of the students. The school that ultimately hires Kathleen Miller will find itself fortunate indeed.”

After long and careful deliberation, the LSC decided that Ms Miller was the best candidate for the position. She is eminently qualified and uniquely suited for the role of Bell School principal; she has earned the endorsement of Bell’s stakeholders.

The LSC now turns its attention forward--toward harnessing our shared commitment to Bell and building on the foundation of trust and mutual respect that Ms Miller has fostered in her relationships with stakeholders and her dealings with colleagues within the broader education community.

The LSC will soon announce the date for a community forum to formally introduce Ms Miller as Bell's new principal and allow her the opportunity to set forth her vision for Bell's future. We look forward to this new chapter at Bell under the leadership of Principal Katie Miller.

Best regards,

The Bell School Local School Council​​
expand Kindergarten Enrollment for 2017-2018 Now Open Published: 3/27/2017

If you would like to enroll your child in our kindergarten program for the fall, you must call the main office to schedule an appointment. Appointments will take place on the following dates:

  • April 18th, 20th-21st
  • April 24th-28th
  • Appointments will continue in May on an as needed basis

Students must be 5 years old on or before September 1st, 2017. Please bring the following documentation with you:

  • Child’s original birth certificate-legal copy
  • Three proofs of address which may include current driver’s license or state ID, current utility bill, deed, voter registration card, paycheck stub, Illinois Department of Public Aid Card, court document, processed US Postal Service Change of Address Form, current W2 or tax return)
  • Emergency contact names and phone numbers including at least two people who can pick up your child in your absence
  • Doctor name and phone number

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact the main office, 773-534-5150. ​​​​​​

expand Kiss & Go Reminders Published: 4/2/2015

​Each morning we need to get over 1000 students safely into Bell. Many students walk, some ride the bus and others are driven to school. The recent construction on Western Avenue has increased the challenge of this morning ritual. If you are driving and use the Kiss 'N Go lane on Grace Street, please keep in mind the following:

Kiss N' Go Reminders:

  • Please pull your vehicle all the way forward
  • NO double parking at any time
  • Do not block any crosswalks
  • Do not turn off your engine in the Kiss N' Go lane. This slows down traffic flow.
  • Do not talk on your cell phone in the Kiss N' Go lane. We need your full attention while dropping off and exiting the lane.
  • Please have you children exit the car on the sidewalk side. Do not let them exit onto the street.
  • Have backpacks ready to exit the vehicle versus storing it in your trunk. Do not exit your vehicle to unload backpacks.

    Thank you for your help!!


expand Helpful Information for Head Lice Published: 3/27/2015

​Head lice is a periodic issue at all schools. Please click here​ for some helpful hints for dealing with this should it become a problem in your household.

expand New CPS Physical Education Policy Published: 1/23/2014

The new Chicago Public Schools (CPS) five year strategic plan, entitled The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children, recognizes the need to prioritize physical education as a core subject. Recent studies illustrate that high-quality physical education can have a profound impact on both student health and academic achievement. Benefits include:  

  • Improved Brain Function: Physically active students score higher in reading comprehension with just 20 minutes of physical activity per day.
  • Improved Test Scores: Active students score higher on standardized tests.
  • Improved Behavior: Suspensions and disciplinary action decrease by 50-60% when PE is offered five days a week.
  • Improved Health: Regular physical activity leads to lower incidence of disease and improved mental health.

In addition to these benefits, the Illinois School Code requires that students receive daily physical education in both elementary and high school. At the high school level, CPS has maintained a state waiver for 11th and 12th grade students since 1997. As a result, the majority of our high school students only receive physical education in grades 9 and 10. This waiver will expire in June 2014 and will not be renewed.


Specifically, the policy requires that elementary and middle schools provide students in grades K-8 with 30 minutes of daily physical education or the equivalent of 150 minutes per week. Additionally, high schools must schedule all students in grades 9-12 in a daily physical education or health course in the same time increments as other core courses. Health education can satisfy the physical education requirement in grades 11-12. Health education can be counted for up to 60 minutes of the weekly requirement in grades 5-8. 

Physical_Education_Policy_Overview[1].pdfPhysical_Education_Policy_Overview[1].pdf

expand Promotion Policy Assessment Changes Published: 12/20/2013

​Please see the attached letter from Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett with changes to the CPS promotion policy as it pertains to the use of standardized assessments.

NWEA and Performance Policy - Parent Letter.pdfNWEA and Performance Policy - Parent Letter.pdf

Spanish NWEA and Performance Policy Parent Letter.pdfSpanish NWEA and Performance Policy Parent Letter.pdf


expand Absence Note Procedures Published: 8/25/2013
​Please call the attendance office (773-534-5157) each day that your student is absent. The first day an absent student returns to school, the parent/guardian must provide a signed “Reason for Absence Note” that identifies the reason and date for each student absence. E-mails cannot be accepted as a signature is required. CPS attendance policies have been revised since our Bell School Parent Handbook was printed.
 
There are only 6 valid reasons for excused absences:
  • Student’s illness
  • Observance of a religious holiday
  • Death in the immediate family
  • Family emergency with explanation
  • Circumstances which cause reasonable concern to the parent/guardian for child’s safety with explanation
  • Other situations beyond the control of the student with explanation

Download the CPS Reason for Absence Note or Nota de Razón de Ausencia.

expand Benefits of Graduating From Bell Published: 8/25/2013

The Many Benefits of Bell School’s Junior High

 

For those parents considering transferring their students to an academic center for junior high, the decision involves a delicate weighing of pros and cons in the context of the individual student and family. It’s not an easy process and sometimes the choice feels like it’s too close to call. If you would like to speak with Ms. Caudill about your particular situation, please feel free to contact her. Otherwise, here are a few of the many reasons you might choose to keep your student at Bell.


Bell School’s 7th and 8th grade program, led by experienced teachers, aims to provide students with a challenging and rich curriculum that enhances students’ prospects for admission to the city’s selective enrollment high schools and prepares them for the rigors of high school. Many of our graduates attend the city’s most selective high schools and succeed--in good part because Bell offers students in the upper grades a program that addresses the social, emotional, and educational needs of junior high students. The more intimate and nurturing setting of the grammar school compared to the high school provides benefits:
    • Students have close relationships with teachers, staff, and classmates, developed over years in the building.
    • Upper-grade students have the opportunity to serve as leaders in the school--directing fine arts productions, running the student council, exploring themselves and the world through the 8th grade Legacy Project, serving as buddies to lower-grade students, participating in special classes such as before-school art history, and competing as senior members of the school’s sports teams, academic teams, and clubs.
    • Overnight field trips, an emphasis on inclusion, and the preparations for graduation bind the members of each class to one another.
    • There’s recess everyday and the chance to play with friends.
    • Bell’s counselor helps families manage the high-school admissions process and provides individual attention and guidance for those families who seek it. Bell’s veteran parents are a valuable resource for families as they navigate the high-school decision-making process; they have connections to and insights about the region’s high school options.

    Bell School has a long tradition of preparing students for life beyond elementary school. Consider having your student remain at Bell through 8th grade and enjoy the benefits of staying part of this caring community.

     

    expand Common Core Standards Published: 8/25/2013

    ​In June, 2010, the Illinois State Board of Education adopted new learning standards known at the Common Core for students in grades K-12.  Development of the Common Core standards is a national effort developed to better prepare our students for college and career readiness.  Currently, 45 states have adopted the Common Core standards and are transitioning now.  As a result of the new standards, there will also be a new standardized assessment.  PARCC (Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness of College and Careers) is the new assessment that is being developed now and will officially replace the ISAT in the 2014-2015 school year.  For more information about the Common Core Standards and the PARCC assessment, please visit the following websites:

    PARCC
    Achieve the Core
    Council of Great City Schools
    Inside Mathematics - MARS Tasks, Problems of the Month, Math Talks, Videos, etc
    Common Core Illinois - Provides parent-friendly information and videos about the move to the CCSS

    expand Parent Portal Guidelines Published: 8/25/2013

    ​The administration and staff at Bell School work very hard to develop open lines of communication with parents, particularly regarding student progress. The Parent Portal can be a helpful tool for monitoring student grades. It does not replace direct parent and student communication with classroom teachers or a student’s responsibility to accurately fill out the assignment notebook. The first and most important method for monitoring student progress is to speak directly to the classroom teacher when concerns or questions arise. Bell School utilizes the portal as an online viewable grade book, not a real-time representation of a student’s current academic status, as assignments are entered at the same time as grades. Teachers work very hard to enter information in a timely manner, and parents are always encouraged to contact teachers if they have questions about the Parent Portal.  Additional information about the technical capabilities of Parent Portal is available in the main office. Please contact the main office if you have any further questions.

     
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