School review Haugan Elementary School (4540 North Hamlin Ave)
Haugan Elementary School (4540 North Hamlin Ave) Comment
My boys are nearing the end of their third year here and I have to say that we LOVE our school. They have had wonderful, involved teachers that go above and beyond. Both of my children receive special education services and I cannot say enough good things about the Special Ed teachers. They work tirelessly, and often without thanks, to serve the most vulnerable population at the school. They love the kids they serve and it shows. Both of my boys have made tremendous progress academically, socially and emotionally due to their support and encouragement. The staff and administration is responsive. The only reason I'm giving 4/5 stars is because the playground/recess grounds are severely lacking. I understand that this is due to a district budget and not the school itself, but it's really a shame that their isn't more importance faced on physical education and the benefits of recess in a fun environemnt. Overall, we love our school and its teachers!
School review Gateway Montessori School (3748 West Montrose Avenue)
Gateway Montessori School (3748 West Montrose Avenue) Comment
Quick note for Great Schools: Gateway is PK to 6th, not PK to K. The school is so great that it's hard not to come across in a review as prone to hyperbole. Some of that awesomeness stems from the fact that they use the Montessori approach. But a bigger reason this school shines is that it has Shelley Torres Aldeen at its helm. She is the director and also "guides" the Community (2-3 year old class). She was like a second mother (plus toddler-life-coach and best adult friend) to each of my children when they were in her class and even now that they have moved on she finds a way to connect with them every time she seems them. She's (a literal and figurative) child-whisperer. She just understands them, knows what they need, what they can do. As my kids have gotten older and moved into the older classes, I have continued to be amazed at how good this school is at providing them (allowing them to explore) what they need (to explore) at each stage in their education. Some other useful things to know about the school: #1) Gateway is quite small. There are four classes total, I think: 1 class of 2-3 year olds, 2 classes of 3-5 year olds, and 1 class of 1st-6th graders. For someone educated in a traditional school, it's hard to understand how a class of 1st to 6th graders works but it does, and the math I have seen the older kids doing blew my mind. #2) School hours during the academic year are 8:30 - 3:30 and during the two monthish-long summer sessions are 8:30-3. #3) There is no after school care, which initially was kind of a bummer but we all just find a way to deal with it. #4) It's one of just two Montessori schools in the city that are AMI-certified through sixth grade (last I checked at least). #5) The school is moving to a new building just north of Irving Park on Pulaski in early June 2017.