Local schools offer excellent choices in education, programs
August 2, 2019

St. Jerome Catholic School continues to advance its use of technology in teaching. Teachers and administrators are committed to providing STEM Education to their students.

By Dolly Duplantier

“Back to school” is on the minds of students, parents, and teachers.
Gazette Chicago offers a guide to  primary/elementary, secondary,
and specialty schools in this area. Local schools are vital to a good education, and this area offers many educational options for learning in a great environment and preparation for future success.

PRIMARY/ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

Children of Peace Catholic School, 1900 W. Taylor St., (312) 243-8186, info@childrenofpeaceschool.org,
lnantwi@childrenofpeaceschool.org, www.childrenofpeacechicago.org, Facebook, Instagram (@childrenofpeaceschool).

Located in the heart of the Illinois Medical District on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus, Children of Peace Catholic School is a diverse community of learners providing an academically challenging curriculum in an environment that is culturally sensitive and emotionally supportive. Their students represent five continents and live in 34 different zip codes in Chicago and suburbs.

In addition to their traditional educational program for grades Pre-K to 8, Children of Peace School has a Montessori program for three-to-six year-olds and a program for deaf and hard of hearing students Pre-K to 8. It is the only Catholic school in the state of Illinois with an educational program for deaf and hard of hearing students.

Children of Peace educates students both academically and spiritually. Though it is a Catholic school, students from all faith backgrounds are welcome. The school’s goal is to provide a spiritual space where students learn from each other’s experiences in an environment that is accepting of others’ beliefs and differences.

Through small class sizes (15:1 student to teacher ratio), students foster special relationships with their teachers and classmates. The teachers’ main goal is to encourage all students to strive for the best and to create a culture of effective and meaningful learning appropriate to the various needs of all students.

Children of Peace is a dual language school providing a unique opportunity for all students to learn sign language starting in Pre-K as a way to connect with the deaf and hard of hearing students.

The school’s affordable and dynamic programs invite families to be part of a thriving community. Children of Peace also offers extended care and services before and after school. Athletic, cultural, and academic after school programs and clubs are also offered.

Call the school office to schedule a tour. Tuition assistance is available to families who qualify.

Intercultural Montessori Language School, 114 S. Racine Ave. (312) 265-1514 www.interculturalmontessori.org, Facebook, Instagram.

Intercultural, located in the West Loop, serves children from Pre-K through eighth grade. The unique program combines dual-language education with the Montessori approach. Students become global citizens, ready to succeed in the multicultural, multilingual world of the future. 

In a carefully prepared Montessori environment, students learn to speak, read, and write in Chinese, Japanese or Spanish, as well as English. Thanks in part to the many neurological benefits of language learning, students consistently demonstrate high levels of academic
achievement. 

Intercultural’s international teaching staff is comprised of Montessori certified, native-speakers, dedicated to celebrating culture in the classroom. The average student teacher ratio is 9:1. The individualized and child-centered   approach of Maria Montessori, allows students to move at their own pace through the curriculum and inspires them to tackle new challenges with enthusiasm.

Intercultural offers a variety of extra-curricular activities including dance, theater, swim team, choir, soccer, conversational language clubs, scouts, STEM programs, robotics, singing, and more. In addition, students participate in local field trips, as well as cultural exchanges across the globe.

Beyond becoming bilingual and biliterate, Intercultural students demonstrate academic excellence, confidence, compassion, and an intrinsic desire to learn. Intercultural students are skilled at navigating culturally diverse environments. They emerge bilingual, biliterate, and academically prepared for the rigor of high school and beyond.

To schedule a tour, attend an Open House, or for more information, visit the school’s website.

Mother McAuley offers a combination of college-prep and liberal arts programs to assure young women’s academic success.

Saint Gabriel Catholic School, 4500 S. Wallace St., (773) 268-6636, www.saintgabes.com, Facebook (@SaintGabrielElementarySchool).

For over 135 years, Saint Gabriel has been a creative, faithful, and challenging school for students in Pre-K through eighth grade. Located in the heart of Canaryville, Saint Gabe’s has a long history of tradition and excellence in the community and is nationally accredited.

The small class sizes and nurturing faculty and staff prepare the students to be life-long learners with steadfast moral character. Saint Gabriel students possess not only a solid scholastic footing, but a strong ethical foundation as well. The school is committed to being diverse, inclusive, and open to anyone. The alumni and community are dedicated to the school. Saint Gabriel families partner with the school in supporting the mission. The loyalty of the community has allowed Saint Gabe’s to thrive since 1881.

Saint Gabe’s graduates are sought after and accepted at many top ranking high schools in the Chicagoland area. With a comprehensive curriculum, one-on-one technology, and inquiry-based learning, Saint Gabriel is dedicated to offering developmentally appropriate curricula that speak to the individual needs of each child. The teachers welcome diversity in the classroom and provide a safe and friendly environment.

Saint Gabriel believes in educating the whole child with an outstanding athletic program including football, basketball, and volleyball, a variety of clubs such as chess, music, and drama, and an active youth group. After school care is offered until 6 p.m.

Tuition assistance and scholarships are available. For admission and application information, visit the website or call.

St. Jerome Catholic School, 2801 S. Princeton Ave., (312) 842-7668, www.stjeromeschool.net, Facebook, Instagram.

For more than 95 years, St. Jerome Catholic School (SJCS) has preserved its tradition as a leader in education. The school’s motto is, “Great beginnings last a lifetime!”

SJCS continues to advance its use of technology in teaching. Teachers and administrators are committed to opening up the world of STEM Education to their students. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) encourages students to be competitive in an ever-evolving world.

Students at St. Jerome work on Chromebooks (grades 7 and 8), iPads (grades 3 through 6) and Tablets (Pre-K through grade 2) enhancing an already rigorous curriculum, which includes interactive whiteboards, as well as desktop computers in all classrooms. This technology helps create new learning opportunities.

St. Jerome School also offers Italian and Spanish language classes, art, music, athletics (basketball, volleyball, soccer, and running club), and enrichment programs. These contribute to SJCS students consistently testing far above the national average on standardized tests, granting them access to the best selective enrollment and private high schools. SJCS administrators know there is no better way to invest in your child’s future. For more information or a personal tour contact the school.

St. Malachy School, 2252 W. Washington Blvd., (312) 733-2252, info@stmalachychicago.com, www.stmalachychicago.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

St. Malachy is a Catholic school committed to integrating the Catholic faith tradition and justice education with academic excellence. Teachers are dedicated to nurturing young minds by creating a collaboration of love between family and school. Every student is challenged academically, respected socially, and enriched spiritually.

Using assessment data from interim and annual Aspire tests and AIMSWeb, St. Malachy teachers differentiate instruction according to the strengths and needs of every student. Through the support of Title I math and reading, and individual tutors and mentors, each child is given the extra help needed to remediate any learning difficulties.

Faith is at the core of St. Malachy, teaching the gospel through daily prayer and religion classes, and monthly school and family Masses. Technology is integrated across the curriculum with interactive white boards and computer stations in each classroom. Middle school has Chromebooks for language arts instruction. Ipads are utilized throughout the grades. A fully updated science lab is available for students and teachers to use school-wide with updated curriculum materials focused on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

St. Malachy leadership believes in developing a complete child with enriching extra-curricular activities such as basketball, lacrosse, Girls on the Run, Gospel choir, praise dance, instrumentals, and opportunities for student leadership. The school also arranges for free inoculations, eye exams and glasses, dental cleaning, and hearing checks.

Graduates attend top Catholic and selective enrollment high schools. Many qualify for high school academic scholarships. St. Malachy offers financial aid and also assists students in securing financial aid for high school.

Parker’s Upper School Advanced Topics in Chemistry students studied a topic and worked to master a demonstration they could perform for younger students at the second annual Chemistry Spectacular.

HIGH SCHOOLS/COLLEGE PREP

De La Salle Institute, 3434 S. Michigan Ave., (312) 842-7355, www.dls.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. 

Founded in 1889 by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, De La Salle Institute (DLS) celebrates its 130th year of providing a quality Catholic and Lasallian education to young men and women from  across Chicagoland.

A Catholic high school with deep roots in the Lasallian tradition of faith, service, and community, De La Salle offers its students a multitude of opportunities to explore, grow, and share their faith through participation in the Eucharist, retreats, and service. The school is co-educational, with all students attending classes at the Institute Campus.

With three levels of academic programming, DLS offers individualized educational programs to maximize student potential. Advanced Placement and PACC (Program for Advanced College Credit) courses are available so students may earn a semester’s worth of college credit.

As the first high school in Chicago to integrate one-to-one Tablet PC education into its curriculum, De La Salle features students who are fully competent and prepared to compete in the ever-changing arena of global technology.

De La Salle continues to expand and strengthen its curriculum with “Project Lead the Way,” offering classes in engineering and robotics. Engineering students will have an opportunity to earn college credit. An integral part of the engineering class will be the usage of De La Salle’s 3-D printers.

Growth outside the classroom is also a vital part of De La Salle. The school provides a constantly expanding variety of over 40 clubs and activities, including such specialty areas as drone, aviation, and underwater robotics clubs, in addition to 35 sports.

De La Salle Institute provides an environment where students from diverse backgrounds can thrive academically, spiritually, socially, and athletically.

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, 3737 W. 99th St., (773) 881-6500, www.mothermcauley.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Mother McAuley has been a pioneer in educating young women for more than 170 years. Offering a combination of college-prep and liberal arts programs, the school’s rigorous curriculum raises the bar for academic success. 

McAuley is one of the first all-girls’ schools in the nation to create a partnership with the Amazon Future Engineers program, putting students on the ground floor for internship and scholarship opportunities. The new Advice Beyond the Classroom program connects business executives with students to assist them with time management, interviewing, and goal setting. McAuley’s renowned visual and fine arts programs allow girls to explore their creativity and express themselves artistically. Experiential learning programs include opportunities to attend four study abroad trips each year.

McAuley is committed to the Catholic faith and rooted in Mercy principles. Students deepen their faith and are challenged to grow both spiritually and personally. Each student develops her own character through classes, service experiences, retreats, and leading school Masses. Last year, McAuley girls completed more than 17,000 hours of service.

A total of 37 student-led clubs and organizations offer opportunities to cultivate leadership. The school’s athletic program has a rich history of producing championship teams. Eighteen of the 2019 graduates signed to play their sport at the collegiate level.

The school’s comprehensive college-counseling program prepares students and families for the college application and decision process. A total of 100% of McAuley students are accepted into college. Graduates in 2019 were awarded $50 million in college scholarships.

Grade school girls are invited to visit McAuley and attend an Open House on Sunday, Sept. 29; Thursday, Nov. 7; or Thursday, Dec. 5; and Girls Night Out on Friday, Oct. 18. The High School Entrance Exam is on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Francis W. Parker School, 330 W. Webster Ave., (773) 797-5107, fwparker.org, facebook.com/parkerchicago, twitter.com/fwparker.

Francis W. Parker is a school where inspired teachers, a dynamic curriculum, and a diverse community of learners thrive. Parker students are provided with an exceptional educational opportunity in an inclusive community, where diversity in every form provides a global perspective. It is a unique and special place where enduring values and new ideas benefit individual and collective growth.

Guided for over 100 years by a profound educational philosophy, Parker School strives to cultivate students who have the curiosity, self-discipline, independence of mind, and collaborative spirit necessary to apply their values, skills, knowledge, and ideas to challenges. At Parker, students learn to connect reflection with action, insight with innovation, deeds with consequences, and character with citizenship.

Its small class sizes and interdisciplinary approach to teaching set the stage for a challenging and meaningful educational experience.

Students learn and grow within a diverse community of passionate teachers, parents, and peers. As the only independent school in Chicago where students from 14 grades share one building, the school offers collaborative opportunities among grade levels as part of the curriculum.

Academic programs include math, science, history/social studies, and English. Exposure to foreign languages and world cultures begins in the early grades and is part of formal studies starting in sixth grade. In addition to academic curricula, students have physical education, visual arts, drama, and music classes.

Upper school students have a large number of elective courses available in addition to the required core of courses. Elective choices are offered in all departments and include approved independent studies, computer programming, and advanced literature studies in foreign languages.

Learn more at fwparker.org or register for an open house at fwparker.org/openhouse.

Saint Ignatius College Prep, 1076 W. Roosevelt Rd., (312) 421-5900, fax (312) 421-7124, www.ignatius.org, Facebook, Twitter.

A Jesuit Catholic school, Saint Ignatius offers a diverse community dedicated to educating young men and women for lives of faith, love, service, and leadership. Through outstanding teaching and personal formation, the Ignatius classroom sets the foundation for intellectual excellence, integrity, and life-long learning. Inspired by the gospel, this community strives to use God’s gifts to promote social justice.

Fall recruiting events are coming up. For anyone who is a potential future Saint Ignatius student, the Campus Visit Program is recommended. On a typical day, 20 eighth grade students visit the campus to “shadow” a current freshman. They follow a freshman schedule, eat lunch in the dining hall, and see first-hand what it is like to be an Ignatian.

There will also be an opportunity to meet other students, teachers, club moderators, and coaches. Campus visits take place on regular school days from mid-September to mid-December. Registration should be completed online.

Saint Ignatius will host its annual open house on Sunday, Nov. 10, from noon to 3 p.m.; the last tour will depart at 2:40 p.m. Guests should arrive at Holy Family Church, where a brief presentation will be given by members of the school’s administration, followed by a journey through the school where teachers, club moderators, coaches, and current parents will be available to meet attendees and answer questions. Reservations are not required.

The Saint Ignatius entrance exam is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8 a.m. to noon. The High School Placement Test will be given to eighth grade students only. A $25 testing fee is required. No calculators are permitted.

Photo by Jasmine Shah
Merit Music’s Early Childhood Program is developmentally appropriate and musically rich. Merit provides youth with equal access to music education.

SPECIALTY SCHOOLS

Daystar Academy, 1550 S. State St., (312) 791-0001, www.daystaracademy.org, Facebook.

Established in 1997, Daystar has been serving students in a faith-based, culturally engaged, globally minded environment for over 20 years. Faculty and staff are excited to launch the school’s expansion into a Pre-K through 12th grade school, with the inaugural 9th grade class beginning this fall.

As Daystar continues to grow, the combination of its unique learning practices with the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework offers a world-class education to its students. The school’s diverse student body is composed of a variety of cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds, strengthened through its need-based financial aid program.

The Daystar curriculum allows students to engage with subject matter in experiential ways and promotes curiosity, problem solving, and respect of differences. Daystar believes the city is the students’ classroom; the cultural richness of Chicago and the surrounding area is an exciting and practical arena for students to explore and learn.

The growing student body has a current enrollment of 325 students from Pre-K through ninth grade. Student-to-teacher ratio is kept intentionally low so the needs of every student can be met. Teachers come alongside students as they learn together through projects, collaboration, problem solving, inquiry, and exploration. Starting in Kindergarten, extracurricular activities are also viewed as learning opportunities with clubs such as Karate, Chess, Theatre, and athletic teams building soft skills for students.

As a faith-based school, Daystar teaches students that all are loved and valued in God’s eyes. As a result, the student body is composed of students of a wide range of backgrounds of belief, each loved and valued by the Daystar community. To schedule a tour, visit the school’s website.

Merit School of Music, 38 S. Peoria St., (312) 786-9428, www.meritmusic.org, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

Founded in 1979, Merit School of Music is a nationally accredited community music school providing equal access to music education of the highest caliber. Stop by Merit’s West Loop home and you’ll see young musicians of all ages (newborns through high school seniors) from all over Chicago (145+ zip codes to be exact) coming together to make music.

Merit School of Music offers Early Childhood classes, group classes, private lessons, and conservatory-level instruction for all band and string instruments, as well as guitar, voice, and piano.

Merit’s instruction is high quality and the location is convenient. But, one of the best things about this West Loop gem? Your registration supports Merit’s amazing mission to remove barriers to music education. The school spends close to $1 million every year on financial aid alone. And that is just one of the many ways Merit is making a difference in Chicago. Check out the Merit website to learn more or stop by Merit’s music center right across from Mary Bartelme Park to talk with the school’s friendly staff.