7 schools making the grade in Chicagoland

Are you looking for the best educational journey for your child? Here are seven Chicagoland schools to get you started.


British International School of Chicago – South Loop

    • 161 W. 9th St., Chicago


    • (773) 998-2472


    • Email: admisssions@bischicagosl.org



Grades served: PreK-12th Grade


Total enrollment: 750


Student to teach ratio: 9 to 1


Average class size: 15


College acceptance rate: 100 percent


What sets your school apart from other schools:


Students are part of Nord Anglia Education’s Global Campus, learning with 50,000 peers at 56 schools in 25 countries. They can access partnerships with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Juilliard School and UNICEF for collaborations in STEAM, performing arts and policy and sustainable development. With unmatched opportunities to create global connections and British teachers who take a personalized approach to learning, students ages 3 to 18 can dream big and reach their highest potential.


Extracurricular offerings:


Clubs include music lessons taught by alumni from The Juilliard School, NHS, NJHS, coding, newspaper and much more. Our award-winning teams include IHSA sports, FIRST LEGO League, Science Olympiad and debate.


Community involvement:


We take part in many local charity events, inside and outside of school. We hold collection drives throughout the school year to donate to local organizations such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository, One Warm Coat and Open Books. We also unite our school community for charity walk/runs, like the Aon Step Up for Kids stair climb and Make-A-Wish Walk & Run for Wishes. On top of these activities, we plan community events for students and parents with proceeds supporting Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.


Your message to prospective parents:


You want the best for your child. So do we. Our global family of international schools is dedicated to supporting your child and instilling a love of learning.


St. Benedict Preparatory School

    • 3900 N. Leavitt St., Chicago


    • (773) 509-3814


    • Email: jgallagher@stbenedict.com



Grades served: PreK-Grade 8


Total enrollment:  714


Student to teach ratio: 15 to 1


Average class size: 20


What sets your school apart from other schools:


We are devoted to preparing students for learning, achievement and service in the 21st Century global society. Our commitment to inclusive and rigorous challenge creates a dynamic, innovative and active learning experience. The strengths of each child become an inspiration to others to learn fearlessly, lead responsibly and serve joyfully.


Extracurricular offerings:


Athletics for Grades 4-8, Bitty Sports for Grades PreK-3, Boys & Girls Scouting, Chess Club, Children’s Choir, Dance Classes, Enrichment Clubs for Grades PreK-8, Family Activities, Girls on the Run, Mad Science Parent/Child Activities, Service Learning Opportunities, Strings and Band Lessons, Student Council Summer Camp.


Community involvement:


Class Activity and Event Planning, Bitty Sports Coaching, Family Mass, Field Trip Chaperone, Home & School Association (HSA), Leadership & Committee Opportunities, Lunchroom/Recess Monitor, Room Representative, Parent Ambassador Program, St. Benedict Prep Advisory Board, St. Benedict Prep Athletic Association.


Your message to prospective parents:


Academic excellence, enhanced technology and small class sizes in a vibrant Catholic community. Call to schedule a personalized tour of St. Benedict Preparatory School.


Chicago Waldorf School, Andersonville Campus

    • 5200 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago


    • Lincoln Square Early Childhood Center, 2156 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago


    • (773) 465-2662



Grades served: PreK-12th Grade, also Parent-Child Classes


Total enrollment: 350


Student to teach ratio: Dependent upon grade level


Average class size: 22


College acceptance rate:100 percent


What sets your school apart from other schools:


At the Chicago Waldorf School each student discovers that they are a scientist, writer, mathematician, artist, musician and athlete; empowered to think critically, creatively and collaboratively. Our immersive foreign exchange program, practical internships, year-long research projects and dedication to service-learning prepare our graduates to be global and ethical citizens.


Extracurricular offerings:


Robotics Club (Middle & High School), Athletics (Middle & High School), Foreign Exchange Program (High School), Drama Club, Math Club, Student Ambassadors, etc.


Community involvement:


School-wide service days in local communities, High School Service-Learning Trips (two weeks of service projects every spring), Food Collection, Recycling Drives, etc.


Your message to prospective parents: Chicago Waldorf School is redefining rigor. While traditional schools teach to the test, we provide real-world experience and, with a 100 percent college acceptance rate, get real world results.


Guidepost Montessori at Magnificent Mile

    • 226 E. Illinois St., Chicago


    • (312) 796-9400


    • Email: magnificentmile@guidepostmontessori.com



Grades served: Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, with Spanish immersion options


Total enrollment: 40


Student to teach ratio: Infant 3 to 1; Toddler 7 to 1; Preschool and Kindergarten 10 to 1


Average class size: 14


What sets your school apart from other schools:


At Guidepost Montessori, children are nurtured and cherished, given freedom to explore and offered enticing opportunities to learn, grow and experience inspiring challenges. As students pass through each distinct age and stage, our classrooms offer what is needed for each child to reach the next milestone on their unique journey.


Extracurricular offerings:


Each season, we offer a different extracurricular activity, such as gymnastics, soccer, music or dance.


Community involvement:


We plan and host community events every month, including parent-child yoga sessions, afternoon crafting or cooking events, and even a large fall festival.


Your message to prospective parents:


Give us a call to schedule a tour. You’ll be amazed at how happy, independent and capable children in a Montessori classroom can be!


GEMS World Academy Chicago

    • 350 E. South Water St., Chicago


    • (312) 809-8910


    • Email: admissions@gemschicago.org



Grades served: Preschool-grade 12


Total enrollment: 400


Student to teach ratio: 8 to 1


Average class size:16-22 depending on grade level


What sets your school apart from other schools:


GEMS World Academy Chicago, an International Baccalaureate World School and an Apple Distinguished School, prepares students for success through a globally-minded curriculum taught in a localized context, state-of-the-art STEAM learning and emphasis on world languages. As part of GEMS Education, we offer unmatched opportunities for travel and exchange experiences overseas.


Extracurricular offerings:


Competitive sports, theater, dance, world languages, robotics, music, visual art and more.


Community involvement:


GEMS is a member of the Chicago Loop Alliance and multiple civic organizations. We are a sponsor of Chicago Ideas Week and a partner with the United Nations Association of Chicago. Our students regularly work with organizations like the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Plant Chicago and the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.


Your message to prospective parents:


GEMS Education has placed students in top universities for more than 60 years. We’re preparing the global leaders of tomorrow. Come for a visit!


Sacred Heart School

    • 6250 N. Sheridan Road, Chicago


    • (773) 262-4446



Grades served: PK-8


Total enrollment: 700


Student to teach ratio: 9 to 1


Average class size: 16 in Kindergarten; 20 in Grades 1-8


What sets your school apart from other schools:


Sacred Heart is a Catholic, independent PK-8 school that welcomes students of all faiths in a joyful community. We are excited to welcome 3- and 4-year-olds to our campus in the Fall 2019. Our preschool programs are designed to be cognitively rich and encourage curiosity in a nurturing environment.


Extracurricular offerings:


40 special-interest clubs, academic and enrichment programs; robust sports program including cross country, track, basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, softball and baseball; band; glee club and theater.


Community involvement:


Sacred Heart educates students to a greater social awareness and incorporates projects in which students can explore their own call to advocacy. Our whole community participates in hands-on, hearts-open community service projects throughout the year.


Your message to prospective parents: At Sacred Heart, students thrive in our joyful and loving community. Our remarkable curriculum both supports and challenges students as they discover their best selves.


British International School of Chicago – Lincoln Park

    • 814 W. Eastman St., Chicago


    • (773) 506-2097



Grades served: PreNursery-5th Grade (ages 2-11)


Total enrollment: 550


Student to teach ratio: 10 to 1


Average class size: 20


What sets your school apart from other schools:


BISC Lincoln Park is a private, international school. Our curriculum offers a wide range of hands-on experiences for our students and ensures every child reaches their full potential through personalized learning and a rigorous academic program. We have a diverse community of families and are a part of a network of 56 schools worldwide, providing children a chance to interact globally from a young age.


Extracurricular offerings:


A variety of exciting before- and after-school clubs, athletics and performing arts groups led by school staff and external vendors for children in Nursery through Year 6. Activities offered include: Taekwondo, Soccer, Basketball, Cooking, Mandarin, Bollywood Dance, Orchestra, Zumba and more!


Community involvement:


The BISC Lincoln Park community takes part in many local charity events, both inside and outside of school. We hold various collection drives throughout the year in order to donate to local charity organization such as the Lakeview Pantry, Cradles to Crayons and Open Books. We consistently have one of the largest and highest-earning teams for the Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Step Up for Kids stair climb each year, and even Barkley the Bulldog participates.


Your message to prospective parents:


Your child’s foundation to a love of learning, critical thinking and global perspectives begins at BISC Lincoln Park. We encourage you to come take a look and meet our vibrant community at one of our school tours, open houses or community events.


This article originally appeared in the issue of Chicago Parent’s Making the Grade. Read the rest of the issue.


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