Applying for Admission

All Chicago Public Schools Regional Gifted Centers 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). 

The Bell Regional Gifted Center, known as the Options program within the school, begins in first gradeYour child is eligible to apply for first grade during the fall application period of the year in which he/she is five years old by September 1. This is typically his or her kindergarten year. Fill-in spots in the Options program may be available in second through eighth grade.

Bell School offers tours during the school year for parents interested in learning more about the school and the Regional Gifted Center.  Click here for tour dates and to access the sign-up form.

Use the Selective Enrollment Elementary Schools application form from Chicago Public Schools to apply for enrollment in the Bell Regional Gifted Center. The application process is described on the CPS OAE website. You can also download an application there during the application period, usually November through February.

Grades K-4: All age-appropriate students applying for kindergarten through grade 4 will be tested. Note that students must be able to separate from their parents to walk with the examiner to the assessment room. Parents are not allowed to accompany their children into the assessment area.

Grades 5-8: Testing eligibility for students applying for grades 5-8 (except for the RGC-ELLs) will be based on the student’s NWEA MAP scores in reading and math.

Students with an IEP applying for grades 5-8 must score at or above the 50th percentile in one subject (reading comprehension or total math), and at or above the 40th percentile in the other subject (reading comprehension or total math) in order to be eligible for testing.

In order to be eligible for testing, general education students and students with a 504 Plan applying for grades 5-8 must score at or above the 60th percentile in both reading and math.

More information regarding testing requirements can be found at

Specific information regarding PINs and TIERs can be found at

  • Remember that Bell School does not have a kindergarten as part of the Regional Gifted Center. We start our program in first grade.


  • The application process can be tricky. You are encouraged to apply online at


  • If you do submit a paper copy, please write as clearly and neatly as possible and include current and reliable contact information. If CPS does not have the correct address or phone numbers, you may not receive important information about testing times and locations.