Programs and Admissions
Each of the three programs at Bell has different entry requirements and starting grade levels; all programs run through eighth grade.
The Neighborhood program begins in Kindergarten. Students must live within the attendance boundaries. To see a map of the boundaries or check whether a particular address is within our attendance district, please use the CPS School Locator website or call the Chicago Public Schools at 773-553-1000. You can also pick up a copy of the attendance district map by visiting the Bell School office.
Children begin kindergarten the year in which they are 5 on September 1. Kindergarten enrollment begins in spring of the prior school year. Please check the website calendar starting in January for the exact date. CPS policy requires parents to provide proof of their child's age, such as a birth certificate, and two proofs of address, such as a current utility bill and a driver's license, in order to enroll.
Regional Gifted Center
The Regional Gifted Center, known at Bell as the Options program, begins in kindergarten (new in 2018-19). All Regional Gifted Centers in Chicago require testing for admission. Children are selected for entry based on their performance on an aptitude test administered by the Office of Access & Enrollment (OAE). Your child is eligible to apply for kindergarten during the fall application period of the year they are 4 by September 1. Fill-in spots in the Options program may be available in first through eighth grade. Click here to access the Options website.
Bell normally offers tours for parents interested in learning more about the Options Program during the fall. Click here for tour dates and to access the sign-up form.
Apply to Bell's Regional Gifted Center using the SEES application from Chicago Public Schools. The application process is described on the CPS OAE website and you can also download an application there during the application period, usually October through mid-December.
The application process can be tricky, so please read the following tips for applying to Bell's Gifted Program:
The Deaf Department offers a pre-kindergarten program for children who are 3 years old on or before September 1 and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) indicating a need for the specialized services that Bell offers. If your child is deaf or hard of hearing and you need information about how to obtain an IEP, please contact your neighborhood school. If you are unsure which school is your neighborhood school, please call the Chicago Public Schools at 773-553-1000 or use the CPS School Locator website.