Frequently Asked Questions
Academic Performance and Ratings
What's your "level"?
The Archdiocese doesn’t have a “level” system, but we often see “level” signage (e.g., Level 1+ through Level 3) on our Chicago Public School neighbors. These refer to the CPS “SQRP” rating system. Since 2016, this rating system has developed a serious flaw. It is based on the normative outcomes of the NWEA-MAP test. While the norms available from before 2015 were considered valid by academic authorities, the latest norms rolled out in 2016 have been shown to be extremely poor predictors of performance on a rigorous standards-based tests (such as NAEP or PARCC). All public and charter schools take the PARCC test, and this is a better indicator of performance. You can check out public school PARCC results and Illinois State Board of Education ratings at www.IllinoisReportCard.com.
What standardized tests do you take and why?
At Our Lady of the Snows we take the ACT ASPIRE each year in the spring. Like the PARCC, the ACT ASPIRE is a rigorous standards-based test that provides feedback to schools and parents on whether our children are currently tracking toward college and career readiness. We believe this test provides the best basis for evaluating whether your child is on track or needs additional support. The ACT company, which also makes the most commonly used College Entrance Exam, has created statistical models that predict whether a child is on track to get an ACT score of 21 or above and therefore be ready for college. When a child is not yet ready, that is, not tracking toward a 21 or better, we use the test to assess what skills are less well-developed, and our teachers work hard to differentiate instruction for each child to help them focus on the areas where they need most help.
Each year in the Fall you’ll receive your child’s ACT results from the previous Spring. On your child’s report, you will see detailed information for English, Reading, Math, Science, and Writing with feedback on many particular skills in each subject area.
We also have implemented the use of iReady. iReady is an individualized diagnostic test to determine where each child is performing in Math and Reading. The diagnostic tests are taken in the Fall, Winter and Spring. In between the testing windows iReady has an instructional component that starts each child off at their individual level and uses individualized online lessons to increase their knowledge and understand. This is used to suppliment what the teacher is doing in the classroom. Unlike ACT/Aspire, iReady is used by grades K-8th.
Special Learning Tracks and Health Accommodations
My child has food (or other) allergies. What do you have in place to keep him/her safe?
Due to the prevalent peanut allergy, OLS is a peanut/tree nut school. Also, when a child is registered and the parent informs the school of their child's allergy the teacher is notified to any and every safety precaution necessary is taken.
My child is an English Language Learner. What do you have in place to help him as he develops English skills?
Many of the students at OLS are English Language Learners, therefore each teacher differentiates their instruction to accommodate all students. We also offer services to those who qualify such as, Title 1, Speech Therapy, and United Stand.
My child is neuro-atypical or needs an individualized learning plan. How does the process work to develop an individualized learning plan?
The teachers at OLS work closely with their counterpart at United Stand to ensure the best education for each student. If your child has or needs a IEP or 504 plan, the teachers collect extensive data to be able to get each child the services he/she needs. Then, use that data and plan to further differentiate instruction in the classroom.
Nurturing the Body
Do you offer a hot-lunch program?
Yes, at OLS we offer hot lunch. The lunches must be ordered a month in advance. Students at OLS get 30 min for lunch each day.
Do you offer a free/reduced lunch program?
Yes, OLS offers a free/reduced lunch plan. The lunch order form needs to be filled out a month in advance in order to ensure your child gets the lunch they prefer, otherwise a member of the lunch staff will pick all one option (A or B) for that child.
Do younger children have nap times?
At Our Lady of the Snows, the Preschool classes take a 1 hour nap every afternoon.
Do children have recesses? Where and for how long?
Preschool has recess everyday for 30 min.
Kindergarten - Third Grade has recess everyday after lunch for 20 min.
Kindergarten and First Grade have morning recess for 20 min.
Fourth - Eighth Grade have recess everyday after lunch for 20 min.
Each grade has Gym twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.
*All Recess is outside as long as weather permits
Safety and Security
What do you do to prevent and to deal with bullying?
Our students care for each other
Our students sign a no-bullying contract during Red Ribbon Week so that they can depend on each other to make the school a safe haven for learning and personal growth.
How do you keep the kids safe at drop-off and pick-up times?
The students are dropped off in the morning in the lunchroom, which is monitored by our Before Care staff. All the students are dismissed at the end of the day in the parking lot of the school. Each classroom teacher waits with their students until a parent or guardian picks up their child. No child is dismissed without the teacher first seeing the parent.
What security arrangements do you have in your facilities?
With our brand new state of the art security system, we are able to monitor our school and ensure our children's safety.
Does our family have to be parishioners of Our Lady of the Snows Church to register?
Are all students Catholic?
What religious requirements are there?
We ask only that your child participate respectfully in our faith instruction and practices. Sacramental preparation (2nd and 8th grade) is only provided to those whose parents intend for them to become or remain Catholic. For more information on Sacramental Prep please look under the Parent Resources.