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What are my Options?

Learn about your school options in Chicago. 

Elementary High School 

Other Options & Resources

Elementary Students


 

1-type.pngTraditional Neighborhood

Every child in Chicago has a traditional neighborhood elementary school and high school. Each of these schools has an attendance boundary. If you live inside that boundary, you can attend that school without submitting an application. If there is a neighborhood school that you like, but you do not live in its attendance boundary, you can apply and students will be randomly accepted through a lottery system.

Note: If you are unsure of which school your child is zoned to, check here by inputting your address.

 

School List  How Do I Enroll?

 

 

 


 

2-type.pngCharter

Charter schools are public schools open to all Chicago children. Each charter school has its own curriculum, schedule, calendar, and admissions process that may be different from other public schools. There are no attendance boundaries, so students from all around the city can apply. Each school has its own application and acceptance is through a random lottery if there are more applications than seats. If there are more seats that applications to a school all applicants will be accepted. 

 

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 

 

 


 

MAG-ELEM.pngMagnet

Magnet schools have a curriculum that focuses on a particular subject area, like math and science, fine and performing arts, or world language. While these schools are specialized, they do not have an accelerated curriculum. Magnet Schools are open to students citywide, with preference given to students living within a certain distance of the school.  Magnet schools require an application through CPS, and acceptance is through a random lottery. Applicants who are siblings of current students will receive priority.

Note: A magnet cluster school also has a specialized, non-accelerated curriculum. However, a magnet cluster works more like a traditional neighborhood school when it comes to enrollment. Students are zoned to the school, just like a traditional neighborhood school, and any student not zoned to the magnet cluster school may apply. 

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 


 

4-type.pngContract

Contract schools are CPS schools that are managed by external operators. Contract schools adhere to all CPS student-related policies. Contract schools are governed by school-selected boards of directors.  These schools typically operate under contractual agreements with the district for five-year terms.

 

 

 

 School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 

 

 


 

5-type.pngSelective/Gifted Options

Selective Enrollment Schools admit students based on test scores along with past academic performance. The curriculum is advanced or accelerated. In order to attend a selective enrollment school or program, your student will have to take an admissions test and submit an application. More information about the enrollment process for these schools can be found here.

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

Note: Sometimes a selective option (program) can be housed in an otherwise non-selective school. 

 

 

 

 

TYPES OF SELECTIVE ENROLLMENT SCHOOLS

  • International Gifted Programs are aimed at students in grades 6-8, the International Gifted (IG) Program at Lincoln Elementary School is designed to allow capable students to be educated in their least restrictive environment and to allow them to learn at an accelerated rate.  The curriculum is accelerated one to two grade levels.
  • Regional Gifted Centers provide an accelerated instructional program that emphasizes thinking, reasoning, problem-solving and creativity. There are 13 Regional Gifted Centers around the city, some for English Language Learners, some are full-site, and others are housed within traditional neighborhood schools. There are no attendance boundaries for Regional Gifted Centers, but an application and entrance exam is required.
  • Academic Centers are housed in a select number of high schools for academically advanced students in grades 7 and 8. Curriculum is accelerated one to two grade levels and students may accumulate up to eight (8) high school credits before they enter the ninth grade.
  • Classical Schools have an accelerated curriculum and are designed for high academic achievement in math, literature, language arts, world language, and the humanities. The classical schools, except for Skinner West and North (which goes to eighth grade), go from K-6. These schools are meant to give challenging liberal arts instruction to students.
  • International Baccalaureate programs are recognized worldwide and offered under the International Baccalaureate Organization. There are three different programs: IB Primary years, IB Middle Years, and IB Diploma. The Primary Years Program is targeted toward children aged 5-12. The Middle Years program is targeted to students in grades 6-8 and prepares students in grades 9-10 at partner schools. Curriculum focuses on world language, English, mathematics, humanities, sciences, arts, physical education and technology. The Diploma program is designed for students in 11th and 12th grade. Students who complete this program receive a diploma and transcript recognized by universities around the world.  

High School Students


 

1-type.pngTraditional Neighborhood

Every child in Chicago has a traditional neighborhood elementary school and high school. Each of these schools has an attendance boundary, and if you live inside that boundary, you can attend that school without submitting an application. If there is a neighborhood school that you like, but you do not live in its attendance boundary, you can apply and students will be randomly accepted through a lottery system.

Applications are available at each school. Application requirements and admissions criteria are variable by school and admissions decisions are determined by the school principals.

Note: If you are unsure of which school your child is zoned to, check here by inputting your address.

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 


 

2-type.pngCharter

Charter schools are public schools open to all Chicago children. Each charter school has its own curriculum, schedule, calendar, and admissions process that may be different from other public schools. There are no attendance boundaries, so students from all around the city can apply. 

Each school has its own application and acceptance is through a random lottery if there are more applications than seats. If there are more seats that applications to a school all applicants will be accepted. 

 

 

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 

 


 

MAG-HS.pngMagnet

Magnet schools have a curriculum that focuses on a particular subject area, like math and science, fine and performing arts, or world language. 

Magnet Schools are open to students citywide, and sometimes preference is given to students living within a certain distance of the school.  Magnet schools at the high school level require an application through CPS and may require additional testing or prior academic achievement to attend. 

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

4-type.pngContract

Contract schools are CPS schools that are managed by external operators. Contract schools adhere to all CPS student-related policies. Contract schools are governed by school-selected boards of directors.  These schools typically operate under contractual agreements with the district for five-year terms.

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

5-type.pngSELECTIVE ENROLLMENT/GIFTED OPTIONS

Selective Enrollment Schools admit students based on test scores along with past academic performance. The curriculum is advanced or accelerated. At the high school level they provide academically advanced high school students with a challenging and enriched college-preparatory experience. Each of the Selective Enrollment High Schools offers a rigorous curriculum with primarily honors and Advanced Placement (AP) courses. In order to attend a selective enrollment school or program, your student will have to take an admission test and submit an application. More information about the enrollment process for these schools can be found here.

School List How Do I Enroll?

 

Note: Sometimes a selective option (program) can be housed in an otherwise non-selective school. 

 

 

TYPES OF SELECTIVE ENROLLMENT SCHOOLS

  • Career Academies are institutions that promote a college-prep curriculum and career-focused education in various fields at each school. Students are prepared for careers in business, communications, construction, health, hospitality/food service, manufacturing, performing arts, and transportation. Students have the opportunity to shadow business professionals in various career areas and there are resources for them to gain hands-on experience. The attendance boundaries vary by school, but test scores are used to determine enrollment.
  • International Baccalaureate programs are recognized worldwide and offered under the International Baccalaureate Organization. There are three different programs: IB Primary years, IB Middle Years, and IB Diploma. The Primary Years Program is targeted toward children aged 5-12. The Middle Years program is targeted to students in grades 6-8 and prepares students in grades 9-10 at partner schools. Curriculum focuses on world language, English, mathematics, humanities, sciences, arts, physical education and technology. The Diploma program is designed for students in 11th and 12th grade. Students who complete this program receive a diploma and transcript recognized by universities around the world.  
  • Magnet Schools are selective at the high school level. 

 

Other Options and Resources


 

Diverse learning Needs & Special Education

The Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services aims to ensure that students with disabilities have the supports they need to attend school with their non-disabled peers, in some cases a family and school may determine that a more specialized environment is a better fit for their student.

In those cases, specialized school options, offer individualized programs and services meant to meet the needs of the child and the family. Some schools have attendance boundaries and enrollment is based on students’ Individualized Education Program (IEP). The Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services helps students and parentes with special education requirements find the school that best meets their needs. 


 

Military Academies (High School)

Military Academies, also called Service Leadership Academies, prepare students for college and subsequent careers in a structured environment. These schools are not intended to prepare students for the armed forces. Rather the “Military Model” creates a school culture that is more cohesive, challenging, and safe through a structured and positive learning environment. There are six military academies in Chicago, and each one focuses on a specific branch of the military. Military academies do not require an entrance exam, but some have pre-requisites around grades and academic achievement. Even more, some require an exam that determines student learning level (but does not determine acceptance) prior to attendance.  More information can be found here.

School List How Do I Enroll?


Options Schools

Options Schools are designed for students who have been out of school for a while and may need additional supports to re-enter the school environment and obtain a high school diploma. Students may require alternative schedules to accommodate work or other needs, may require child care, or may need help earning additional credit. To enroll in an options school CPS will help you navigate to a choice that meets your needs and support you through the application process.

 

More information


 

Small

As the name suggests, these schools have a smaller student body. With no more than 600 students in a school, they create an environment where parents, teachers, and students get to know each other very well. The small size allows for a more personalized learning environment. These schools have attendance boundaries, so families outside of those boundaries will have to submit an application.

CPS School List How Do I Enroll?

 

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