Trustees Merit Scholarship Opportunity at Chicago City Day School

At Chicago City Day School, students thrive in a culture of immersive academic opportunities in a small, tight-knit community that challenges and supports all of its students. Through the generous support of the school’s trustees, Chicago City Day School will offer a select number of merit-based scholarships for new students entering third through seventh grades in the 2021-22 school year.

“Our Trustees Merit Scholarship program makes transformative educational experiences available to students who qualify,” explains Chris Dow, head of school at City Day. “This is for those families with a strong commitment to their child’s education who may think attending a private school is cost prohibitive and something they can’t access. This scholarship can open the door to the unique experience we offer as a school.”

Unique learning experiences

Differentiated instruction is possible at Chicago City Day School through small group learning where students delve into math, reading and other subjects, led by outstanding teachers who challenge students to think independently and critically.

“One of the areas we focus on as a school is public speaking,” explains Dow. From kindergarten through eighth grade and across the curriculum, students present their work to develop a strong comfort level with speaking in front of peers and faculty. “In the first grade they give speeches to their classmates on topics of their choosing and by the time they are in eighth grade, every student stands up in front of the school, faculty, trustees and families to deliver a speech at graduation.” Students go on to their chosen high schools with a confidence gained from public speaking experiences, Dow adds.

Students at Chicago City Day have access to a wide range of resources to learn in a variety of different ways. They can express themselves through the school’s full theater program, in curriculum-based drama classes as well as afterschool programming. They can experience physics in action in the hands-on Shorey Shop  learning space, and they can dig into STEM through immersive technology and robotics programs.

Mind-expanding travel and service learning

Travel is embedded in the City Day curriculum. Younger students venture off campus regularly for supervised field trips throughout the city. Older students travel to locations across the country and overseas to learn about the wider world.

City Day’s small class sizes allow for more engaged and immersive experiences for both students and teachers while traveling, Dow says.

“Fifth graders go on an outdoor education trip and sixth graders have language immersion in France and Spain,” Dow says. Seventh-grade students head to Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, and the eighth grade “D.C. Trip” is a week-long immersion in American history and civics that begins in Baltimore and ends in Williamsburg, with experiences at the nation’s capital and the Kennedy Center. Other trips include Devil’s Lake State Park in Baraboo, Wisconsin, where students learn about geology and environmental stewardship.

They also engage in service-learning activities in conjunction with the science curriculum to clean and maintain a portion of the Chicago River.

“These are just a few of the inspiring learning experiences that City Day offers, and that we hope more students will enjoy as a result of our Trustees Merit Scholarship program,” Dow says.

Transformative education for lifelong benefit

Because students who attend Chicago City Day School are nurtured academically, socially and emotionally in a culture of kindness and support, they enter high school with confidence, well prepared to tackle new challenges, Dow says.

“They have a better sense of self, and they talk about how they really found their identity at this school,” he says. “They go on to high school and talk about how they find friends easily, can advocate for themselves with confidence and are comfortable talking to teachers because they are used to doing that here.”

Alumni of City Day speak fondly of the school and share openly about their own transformative experiences, Dow says. “We have a number of traditions on campus, like All-School Sing, and when we share videos on social media, we always get comments from former students who remember these traditions fondly,” he says. “That strong sense of community stretches back throughout the school’s 39-year history.”

Enthusiastic learners belong at Chicago City Day School

City Day leaders are both thankful and proud to offer scholarships that make the school’s unique programming and culture accessible to more students. The Trustees Merit Scholarship program is selective, designed to welcome accomplished, enthusiastic young people to the school community.

Dow says he believes students who are a good match for a Trustees Merit Scholarship can be found throughout the city.

“When we evaluate scholarship applicants, we look at cultural fit in addition to academic fit,” Dow says. “We look for young people who are highly motivated and enjoy school. Any students who are bright and compassionate and eager to learn are right for our school. It could be anyone from anywhere.”

Annually renewable need-based scholarships for new students entering grades three through seven in fall 2021 are awarded through a qualifying exam on Feb. 27, 2021, at 10 a.m., followed by an interview with school leaders. Learn more about Chicago City Day School at

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