Who may attend Bell School?

Bell School has three departments:  

Neighborhood program (K-8)

Options (regional gifted center) program (K-8)

Deaf program (pre-K-8)

How are Options and Neighborhood Programs different (broad sense)? 

The options program is paced differently. Students are typically functioning at least one year ahead of their grade level (ie 3rd grade is working on 4th grade math material).  In addition, there is more allowance for students to take their learning further through projects and open ended inquiry.

What is the average class size?

26. We try to fill options seats to capacity (28 in K-3 and 31 in 4-8)

What are the hours of the school day?

8:15 a.m.-3:15 p.m.  Tuition based, after-school care is available until 6:00 p.m. through Right At School or 21st Century Kids.

Do students wear uniforms?

No, however students are expected to comply with the school dress code which recognizes the need for appropriate dress in the learning environment.

What special enrichment classes do students attend?

What extracurricular activities can students get involved in?

There are many clubs and after school activities (both free and tuition-based) for students of all ages.  Bell School also offers a variety of competitive sports opportunities beginning in fifth grade.  Please see the school website for a comprehensive list of sports and activities.  

Do Bell students take any field trips?

Yes, classes take field trips throughout the year.  In addition, students in grades 5-8 participate in grade-wide (all 3 programs), extended field trips:

What are the school fees?

Student fees are $200/student (max of $600 per family) which includes a $100/student technology fee.  Fees cover costs associated with assignment notebooks, magazine subscriptions, grade level organizers and classroom consumables. Day and overnight field trips are not covered, although financial assistance is available for families that qualify.  

What are the procedures for lunch?  Do you serve hot meals?  Do students have recess?

Breakfast and lunch are offered to students daily, including a hot lunch option.  

Recess is provided for students two times per day, weather permitting.

How long for lunch?

Total period is 45 minutes long, 20 for lunch, 20 for recess and 5 for transition

Are the school lunches healthy?

The school lunch menu is crafted by the Department of Nutrition Services and does include very healthy options. It is a peanut free menu, and every child receives a fruit and vegetable. There are two hot options and a cold option every day.

Are there snacks in the classroom?

Not officially. Kindergarten is the only grade level with an official snack time.

Options Teachers also have some discretion re: snacks b/c the kids are on the bus so long in the morning and afternoons and cannot eat on the bus

How do you handle food allergies?

We have a nut free table in the lunchroom for all students who have nut allergies. We also have a peanut free lunch menu. We do not have a peanut free lunchroom however. The nurse has all medication for students who require it based on their identified allergies and allergy action plans.

How does the school keep parents informed?

The faculty and staff at Bell School work hard to keep regular communications with parents and families via several avenues, including:

Are there aides in the classrooms?

There are no classroom aides. However, there are aides who provide individual support to students who require it based on their Individualized Education Plans. Kindergarten does have two aides who share their time between all the classrooms to assist with preparation and supervision.

When is public speaking introduced?

It is not officially introduced in a specific grade level. Students have opportunities for public speaking in all grade levels via class presentations.

What assemblies do you have?

We have multiple fine arts assemblies each year planned by our Fine Arts Committee. We also have student assemblies in which the students perform for their peers and family members. We also have educational assemblies which are planned by the teachers and tie into the current curriculum. Ms Miller also runs a couple of expectations assemblies during the school year to set and remind kids of what she and the staff expect of them and what the students can expect from the staff.

Why do you have flexible seating? When does this start?

Flexible seating is an option that teachers use to differentiate the classroom setting for various learners. It does not start in a grade level. Several teachers across the building are using a variety of combinations of seating arrangements to best suit the needs of their students.

What other progressive practices do you have in the bldg?

Many teachers promote academic choice in their classrooms which offer students a variety of ways in which to demonstrate mastery of concepts taught. Our STEAM lab is very innovative in terms of providing an experience for students that is not commonly found in CPS elementary schools.

Do all kids learn ASL?

We do not have ASL instruction for all students at this time. Students who are interested in pursuing ASL at a higher level can join the after school ASL club. Otherwise, we have the phrase of the week which is demonstrated to all students each day over Bell TV.