Frequently-Asked Questions About Baker

If you’re here in the Admissions section of the website, you’re probably thinking seriously about applying to Baker. We understand that you have questions and we’re excited to connect with you. Until then, we’ve included responses to a few of the questions that we often hear.

Overview of Baker

What does it mean that you’re a private, rather than a public, school?

Private schools like Baker are funded solely through tuition and donated funds rather than tax dollars. As a private school, Baker is not bound to the regulations of public schools and is free to establish criteria for admission and develop curricula that aligns with its mission and philosophy.

What does it mean that you’re an independent school?

Independence in the truest sense of the word. Independent schools are governed by a board of trustees, not a public school board. They are primarily supported by tuition payments, charitable contributions, and endowment revenue. Independent school teachers have the freedom to create educational experiences that meet each child’s needs, without state mandates on curriculum, textbooks, and testing.

Mission-driven education. Whether co-ed or single sex, day school or boarding school, each independent school is driven by its own unique philosophy, values, and approach to teaching.

High academic standards. Independent schools nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, encourage critical thinking, and promote a lifelong love of learning.

Small classes that allow for individual attention. Low student-teacher ratios encourage close connections between instructors and students.

Excellent teachers. Independent school instructors usually teach in their areas of expertise. They strive to develop a full understanding of each student’s learning style, interests, and motivation. 

Education for the whole child. In addition to academics, independent schools also nurture students’ personal and social growth and civic conscience. Outside the classroom, students participate in school-sponsored athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and leadership experiences.

Inclusiveness. Independent schools foster diverse and vibrant student communities that welcome and respect every family.

A community of parents who actively participate in their children’s education. Independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals.

I understand that Baker is a private, independent school. Is Baker accredited?

Yes. Baker Demonstration School is accredited through the Independent Schools of the Central States as private, independent, pre-K-8th  school and is also recognized by the state of Illinois as a non-public school.  Baker is also a proud member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and Progressive Education Network (PEN).

What is Progressive Education?

While not strictly defined, the proponents of Progressive Education share a set of values that include respect for the child as a complex person, the importance of experiential learning to deepen understanding, and the development of empathy and agency to act as responsible citizens.

Learn more on our Progressive Education page.

What grade levels do you teach?

Baker teaches all levels through 8th grade, starting with pre-kindergarten (age 3 or 4 by September 1).

Daily Life at Baker

What will my child's day look like at Baker?

Short of visiting us, the best way to get a sense of what your child will be doing at Baker is to check out these sections of our website: the appropriate Academics page for your child’s grade, the Baker Life section, and our online student portfolio found under Inside Baker.

Do you assign homework?

At Baker Demonstration School, we believe that children need time to be children and, therefore we do not require homework that does not directly relate to the work in school. We begin in the early childhood program by helping the children develop the habit of following up on school work at home and by encouraging early elementary school children to read at home. Since being read to is one of the best ways to develop reading abilities, reading homework may include listening to stories and discussing them with parents or siblings as well as independent reading.

In the second and third grades, children are expected to read daily at home along with completion of math, language arts, or other assignments, such as small projects.

In fourth and fifth grades, children may have about 40-50 minutes of homework nightly. This may involve following up on a project started during the school day, doing research for an assignment, and working on specific tasks. In addition, sustained silent reading is required daily. Parents are asked to support this homework by providing a quiet time and space where children may concentrate without distractions of media or siblings.

In Middle School, the students usually have about an hour to an hour and a half of homework each night, depending on the projects assigned in the various subject areas. The goal in working with Middle School Students is to have them begin to take full responsibility for their assignments. Students are asked to keep homework assignment notebooks and are offered in-school opportunities to seek feedback and assistance on all assignments. Parents and students can check the school’s homework assignments on Google classroom.

Do you have letter grades?

At the end of first semester and second semester, we provide written narrative reports for parents and guardians of all students that are far more in-depth than a simple letter grade;  When eighth graders begin the high school admissions process, our high school transition coordinator assists with questions regarding narrative reports and how to translate narrative reports for high schools requesting additional information.

What's your approach to testing?

At Baker, our approach to testing includes qualitative and quantitative measures. Quantitative: MAP testing and we use several diagnostics for marking progress in reading and mathematics.

Do you offer special education?

As a small, private school, we have limited support services for students who may meet the criteria for learning support. We make every effort to learn about students in the admissions process to understand any anticipated learning support needs and provide clear communication about  what services may be available for your child. As such, it is essential to provide supporting documentation in your child’s admission file when working through the admission process. If you have further questions, please contact our Office of Admissions.

What extracurricular programs do you offer?

In addition to what we call co-curricular classes such as art, music, drama and technology, we also offer many after-school activities. Learn more in the Baker Life section of this website.

Do you have sports?

Yes! Baker sponsors sports teams for students in 4th-8th grade including interscholastic basketball, flag football, soccer, and track and field. Teams practice after school and compete against peers from other local schools.

Can you support children with food allergies?

Yes! You can learn more about how the Baker community supports children allergies here, including our full-time nurse.

Questions? Contact Admissions

For your questions that may require a conversation for additional details or clarification to responses that you read, please contact us at:

 admissions@bakerdemschool.org or (847) 425-5800.