Applying for Admission
All Chicago Public Schools Regional Gifted Centers require testing for admission. Children are selected for entry based on their performance on an aptitude test administered by the Office of Access and Enrollment (OAE). The test measures critical thinking skills, reasoning, and problem solving.
The Bell School Regional Gifted Center, known as the Options program within the school, begins in first grade. Your child is eligible to apply for first grade during the fall application period of the year in which he/she is five years old by September 1. This is typically his/her kindergarten year. Fill-in spots in the Options program may be available in second through eighth grades.
Bell School offers tours during the school year for parents interested in learning more about the school and the Regional Gifted Center. Click here for tour dates and to access the sign-up form.
To apply for enrollment in the Bell School Regional Gifted Center, use the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools application form from Chicago Public Schools. The application process is described on the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment website. You may also download an application there during the application period, usually early October through early December.
Eligibility Highlights from the OAE Site:
Grades K-4: All age-appropriate students applying for kindergarten through grade 4 will be tested. Note that students must be able to separate from their parents to walk with the examiner to the assessment room. Parents are not allowed to accompany their children into the assessment area.
Grades 5-8: Testing eligibility for students applying for grades 5-8 (except for the RGC-ELLs) will be based on the student’s NWEA MAP scores in reading and math.
Students with an IEP applying for grades 5-8 must score at or above the 50th percentile in one subject (reading comprehension or total math), and at or above the 40th percentile in the other subject (reading comprehension or total math) in order to be eligible for testing. In order to be eligible for testing, general education students and students with a 504 Plan applying for grades 5-8 must score at or above the 60th percentile in both reading and math.
More information regarding testing requirements and the CPS tier process can be found here.