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The JK-8 Experience

Preparing students for success in high school, college, and beyond

Our son has been a City Day student for 10 years. He is exceedingly well prepared — academically, socially and emotionally— for high school, and we all feel so lucky to have been a part of such a special community. There really is no other school in the city like it!

jean City Day parent

At Chicago City Day School, we believe the JK-through-grade-8 school model offers an ideal experience of discovery and growth. It gives students a chance to establish roots in our community as early as 4 years old. It allows students in grade 6 and up to be true leaders on campus and act as mentors to the younger grades. And it prepares students for brand new experiences in high school — a transition that builds confidence, strengthens character, and equips students with skills they need to succeed at the university level and beyond. 


Discovery and play: The journey begins in junior and senior kindergarten, where students establish new friendships and develop the foundational skills that support a lifetime of learning. Play is a key component of our program — students build narratives, collaborate with each other, communicate, and hone fine-motor skills. Our teachers ignite each student's innate love of discovery.


Deepening knowledge: In grades 1 through 5, students engage with topics of ever-increasing complexity. They begin to take ownership of their learning, building skills in core academic subjects as well as drama, art, music, and either Spanish or French. Students work together, express themselves, and participate in experiential learning activities outside the school building. 


Making their mark: Starting in grade 6, our students ask deeper questions and assume leadership roles on campus. Through our service learning program and immersive trips overseas, students apply what they learn to real-world situations, developing a sense of the responsibility that comes with being an active member of society. They also begin to mentor their younger City Day peers.


Ready for new challenges: By the time City Day students reach the end of grade 8, they are ready to tackle new challenges, work in new environments, collaborate with new people. The start of high school presents a natural point of change for young people. Historically, our graduates have navigated that transition with poise and confidence, honing their leadership skills and resiliency even further.

The high school placement process

Chicago City Day School takes extra steps to prepare our eighth-graders (and their families) for the high school placement experience.

  • We start the process in seventh grade, with a high school information session in the spring.
  • We host "High School Night" for eighth-graders the following fall to provide them with important admissions information about public, private, and parochial high schools in the area.
  • We include a test-prep class in the grade 8 curriculum. Students learn strategies for succeeding on the different high school admissions tests. They also review other aspects of the admissions process — application forms, face-to-face interviews/shadow days, how to write a compelling personal essay, and more. 
  • We offer one-on-one high school counseling to eighth-graders throughout the process.

We view ourselves as partners of students and families as they make the all-important high school decision!

City Day graduates typically attend a variety of high schools, including public, private, and boarding schools. In recent years, our students have been accepted to the following schools:
St. Ignatius College Prep
Latin School of Chicago
Francis W. Parker School
Northside College Prep
Walter Payton College Prep
North Shore Country Day School
Jones College Prep
Lane Tech College Prep
DePaul College Prep
Wolcott College Prep
Loyola Academy 
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools
Lincoln Park High School — IB