For the most current information on Selective Enrollment, Neighborhood and Magnet programs,please visit the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment or call 773.553.2060. Frequently asked questions about the process are also located on their website.

Note that there are separate applications for the Classical and Neighborhood Magnet programs. For the Neighborhood Magnet program, applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

What is the difference between Classical and Neighborhood programs?

The Classical program requires students to apply through the selective enrollment test process, whereas the Neighborhood program has an attendance boundary.

The Classical program curriculum works one year ahead in reading and math, and students are offered Spanish or Mandarin.

The Neighborhood Magnet teaches at grade level or above, depending on the academic readiness of the students.

What does Classical mean?

Classical schools provide a challenging liberal arts course of instruction for high students with high academic potential. Academic coursework is offered in math, language arts, world language, and the humanities.

If I move away from the neighborhood, can I stay in the neighborhood program?

No. The student must live within the boundaries.

Do siblings receive admissions preference?

There is a computerized sibling lottery for the Neighborhood Magnet program only. This is dependent upon space in the programs. Siblings receive preference before spaces are opened up to the general lottery.

How can I prepare my child for the Kindergarten admissions test?

Please refer to the frequently asked questions on the Office of Access and Enrollment website

If my child attends Skinner’s Universal Pre-K, will he or she be given preference or automatically offered a seat in the Classical program?

No, your child must still apply through the selective enrollment test process.

Can a student transfer into Skinner in the middle of the school year?

Yes, but only into the Neighborhood program if they live within the neighborhood boundaries.

What are the boundaries for the neighborhood program?

Beginning @ Ashland Avenue and Kinzie Avenue

East to DesPlaines Street

South to Lake Street

East to the Chicago River

South to the Eisenhower Expressway

West to Ashland Avenue

CPS Skinner Boundary Map

My child has been accepted in the Classical program. When do I receive my registration packet?

Parents will receive a registration packet at Open House, which is typically held in the spring. If parents are unable to attend the open house, please stop by the front office after the Open House date.

My child was not accepted into the Classical Program / Magnet Cluster Program.  How will I know where he/she is on the waiting list?

Please call the CPS Office of Access and Enrollment (OAE) at 773.553.2060 for more information.


How early can my child arrive to school? What are the hours of operation?

Skinner West students may arrive no earlier than 8:00am. The school hours are 8:45am to 3:45pm.

Do you have an afterschool program?

We currently offer the STAR afterschool program and we also partner with the Chicago Park District.

How many students are in a classroom? Are there assistants in each class?

On average there are 30 students in a classroom. In some cases, student teachers work alongside a teacher for a 3-4 month period.

Does Skinner require uniforms?

No, but students must adhere to a dresscode for physical education on gym days only.  Uniforms are available for purchase at the School Spirit site or you can purchase your own.  More information on PE dresscode can be found here.

What languages does Skinner offer?

Skinner currently offers Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. The school currently pays for a vast majority of the program costs for the Neighborhood Magnet students.

What documentation and health records are required for Kindergarten entrance?

We require a current State of Illinois health immunization form and physical no later than October 15th. Please visit CPS Student Health & Wellness for more information about required immunizations and health forms.


Is there a Tuition-Based preschool program??

No.  Beginning for the upcoming school year 2020-2021, Skinner West will transition from a tuition based Pre-K program to a free, universal Pre-K program.   2019 - 2020 pre-schoolers who were already enrolled in our tuition-based program will be grandfathered into the new Universal Pre-K program. 

What is the age requirement for entry?

A child must be 4 years old by September 1, 2020.  Skinner West will host two classrooms with 20 students in each class.

What is the application process?

  • Go to chicagoearlylearning.org

  • Click on Find Locations

  • Enter your address and zip code

  • Enter birth date and click Find Programs

  • Refine Search and select CPS under Program Features to narrow down the choices.

  • Select Mark Skinner Elementary School or other Pre-K sites of your choice.

  • Click More Information and then the Apply Today! button.

  • Complete the application with all of the requested information.

  • If you need assistance with the application, please call the Chicago Early Learning hotline at (312) 229-1690.  Notification for acceptance will be made in mid or late July by the CPS Office of Early Childhood Education (OECE). Applicants are placed based on risk and age.

What is the preschool’s address?

225 South Aberdeen

Where can I find more information?

Additional FAQs can be found through this link for the Chicago Early Learning - FAQs

How do I schedule a visit to the preschool?

Please contact Vickie Dixon, the preschool coordinator, at (773) 534-7790 to schedule a visit.

When will I receive an admission decision?

Notification for acceptance will be made in mid or late July by the CPS Office of Early Childhood Education (OECE). Applicants are placed based on risk and age.