Author - Didi Lewis

Npn bio photo

Didi joined NPN in 2010 while researching school options for her son and seeking support from other working moms. When her daughter came along the following year, her fondness for NPN, its activity-packed event calendar, and its active discussion board grew. With a JD and certificate in Family Law from DePaul College of Law, her dedication to the local parent community in her downtown neighborhood, and her passion for advocating family life in the big city (she’s also a proud CPS grad), Didi happily joined the NPN staff in 2013. As School Choice, Programming and Outreach Manager, Didi is excited about helping Chicago parents learn about educational options within the city and discover all of the amazing benefits NPN has to offer for new and growing urban families. After spending her entire life as a north-sider, Didi now lives in the South Loop with her south-sider husband Rod and their city kids, RJ and Rio.

How to apply for CPS preschools

If you’re thinking about CPS for preschool next fall, the time to look into those programs is…now! There are different options available, with programs housed in select public elementary schools across the city. Most have already begun providing tours and scheduling open houses. It’s always best to call each school you are interested in to get the details on how to apply and/or get on their waitlist; some programs have not yet determined the number of seats that will be open for next fall...

Posted on September 26, 2017 at 10:40 AM by Didi Lewis

What it's like to have 2 kids at different schools

Ever wonder what a “typical” day is like for a mom with two school-aged kids attending two different schools in two vastly different neighborhoods? We are a family in the South Loop, with a first-grader and preschooler. When our son received an offer to attend a highly-regarded CPS Selective Enrollment Elementary School on the far South Side last year, we were ecstatic about his opportunity but also had to give much consideration to how accepting that spot would turn our daily routine ups...

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 9:26 AM by Didi Lewis

What to expect from CPS notification letters

For Chicago parents who have applied for seats at Open Enrollment, Magnet, Magnet Cluster and Selective Enrollment Chicago Public Schools for the 2018-2019 school year, the countdown is underway for the CPS notification date. Let the nail-biting begin!

Notification letters for PreK - eighth grade will be released in April (CPS has not yet released the exact date). An email and a robocall will be sent to the contact information on the student’s online application file with directions on...

Posted on March 14, 2017 at 12:06 AM by Didi Lewis

How to apply to a CPS school in 5 easy steps |

Photo credit: Bruno Girin/Flickr

CPS application season is well under way! The Chicago Public Schools application deadline for the 2017-2018 school year is Friday, December 9, 2016.  Students entering kindergarten through 8th grade may apply for open seats at schools across the city, with a limited number of pre-k options available as well (click here for the basics on CPS preschool). 

In CPS, there are two main types of schools to which you can apply:

Magnet schools and pr...

Posted on November 08, 2016 at 8:49 AM by Didi Lewis

CPS Part-Time Preschool Options You Can Apply For This Spring

As you are researching preschools for your little one and weighing your options, did you know that Chicago Public Schools offers a part-time, school-based, and affordable preschool program at select CPS schools across the city?  Perhaps more importantly, if you thought you missed the preschool application boat for next fall, it’s not too late to apply for a seat in this program for the 2015-2016 school year.

It’s called Chicago: Ready to Learn! (RTL), formerly called Preschool For All....

Posted on March 14, 2015 at 10:00 AM by Didi Lewis

Navigating the CPS School Search

If you missed our two CPS 101: Elementary Options seminars this Fall, here's a quick hit list of things to have on your radar at the beginning of the school search process.


Age requirements:  For Kindergarten - your child must be 5 by September 1st of the school year.  For Preschool - children must be 3 and fully potty-trained by Sept 1st of the school year.

Determine your neighborhood school:  Use the CPS School Locator. You are guaranteed Kindergarten admission a...

Posted on September 25, 2014 at 6:00 AM by Didi Lewis

Why I Love Being a South Loop Mom

I grew up on the city’s north side and honestly never imagined I would be living nor raising my two children in the South Loop.  Yet here we are, just south of Roosevelt Road on a tree-lined street that almost feels suburban until I look north and see the Chicago skyline.  And now I can’t imagine any other neighborhood feeling so right for my family.  I’m almost hesitant to share why I love it so much because family life in the South Loop seems to be one of the city’s best kept secrets. 

Posted on May 28, 2014 at 8:00 AM by Didi Lewis