Elementary School Types 

Every child is unique with different educational needs and interests. That’s why Chicago Public Schools offers a wide variety of choices for elementary school students.

Use the chart below to compare the differences among each school type. You can then view more details for each by clicking the corresponding links.

 

  Overview Approximate number of schools Attendance boundary Enrollment criteria
  Application type Entrance exam Details
 
Neighborhood Neighborhood
This is your first option, since they generally serve students who live within a designated attendance boundary.
344
(View all)
Yes
Yes

Standard application
visit cpsoae.org

None
None
Out of boundary students must submit application to be considered.
 
 
Academic Centers Academic Centers
Housed in high schools for academically advanced students in grades 7-8.
7
(View all)
None
None

SEES application
visit cpsoae.org

Yes
Yes
Admissions testing is required. Students must qualify to take the admissions exam.
 
 
Charter Charter
Open to all Chicago children. These schools operate independently from the Board and each other.
54
(View all)
None
None

Contact school for specifics
Contact school for specifics

None
None
Uses random lottery if there are more applications than available slots.
 
 
Classical Classical
Designed to provide a challenging liberal arts course of instruction for students with high academic potential.
5
(View all)
None
None

SEES application
visit cpsoae.org

Yes
Yes
Admissions testing is required. All age-appropriate students applying to grades K-4 are tested. Students applying to grades 5-8 must qualify to take the admissions exam.
 
 
Contract Contract
Contract schools are public schools open to all CPS students. These schools are operated by private entities under contract with CPS to provide an additional education option for students.
3
(View all)
None
None

Contact school for specifics
Contact school for specifics

None
None
Uses random lottery if there are more applications than available spaces.
 
 
International Gifted Program International Gifted Program
Gifted program for academically advanced students in grades 6-8.
2
(View all)
None
None

SEES application
visit cpsoae.org

Yes
Yes
Admissions testing is required. Students must qualify to take the admissions exam.
 
 
Magnet Magnet
Specializes in a specific subject area, such as Montessori, International Baccalaureate, math and science, humanities, or dual language immersion.
36
(View all)
None
None

Standard application
visit cpsoae.org

None
None
Uses random lottery
 
 
Regional gifted center Regional gifted center
Provide an accelerated instructional program that place an emphasis on thinking, reasoning, problem solving and creativity.
10
(View all)
None
None

SEES application
visit cpsoae.org

Yes
Yes
Admissions testing is required. All age-appropriate students applying for grades K-4 are tested. Students applying for grades 5-8 must qualify to take the admissions exam.
 
 
Small Small
Fosters environment in which parents, teachers, and students get to know one another well.
13
(View all)
Yes
Yes

Contact school for specifics
Contact school for specifics

None
None
Out of boundary students may apply when space is available.
 
 
Special education Special education
Schools for students with disabilities who reside in specified geographic locations.
6
(View all)
Varies by school

Contact school for specifics
Contact school for specifics

None
None
 
 
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Page Last Modified on Monday, September 01, 2014