What is a charter school?
Charter schools are public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the restrictions found in traditional public schools. Parents and teachers typically choose charter schools for educational reasons – high academic standards, innovative approaches and educational philosophies.
Charter schools are open to all students, including those with disabilities, and are non-selective – meaning that tests, interviews, and other selection criteria are not used to determine admission.
Charter schools are free, public schools.
What is CICS ChicagoQuest?
CICS ChicagoQuest, a campus of the Chicago International Charter School (CICS), is an innovative school designed to prepare its students for college, career, and sophisticated participation in our digitized world. During the 2012-2013 school year, the school will serve grades 6 through 8, and will grow by one additional grade per year to serve grades 6 through 12.
Like its sister school, New York’s Quest to Learn, CICS ChicagoQuest offers a rigorous, engaging, and interactive curriculum that is organized around systems-thinking and game design.
This curriculum is content-rich and aligned with both the Illinois State and College Readiness standards.
Like its CICS network schools, CICS ChicagoQuest will provide a safe and structured environment that sets the stage for deep learning.
How is CICS ChicagoQuest different from other schools?
CICS ChicagoQuest is designed to prepare its students to be the thinkers and leaders that tomorrow needs, so it is unique in several ways:
- Our rigorous, problem- and project-based curriculum requires students to design solutions to complex problems
- Our focus on critical thinking helps our students develop an analytical approach to understanding how things work
- An inter-disciplinary team of educators collaborates to enhance learning, including teachers, curriculum and intervention specialists, game designers, and social support staff
- Our integrative approach to academic subjects supports our students in thinking about how math and science are connected and how English and history are connected
- Our belief in "Wellness" helps students understand the importance of physical and emotional health and what that means to be part of a healthy community
- We use and help students use multiple tools and media to support learning and help students create products to demonstrate what they have learned and communicate their ideas
The mission of CICS ChicagoQuest is to engage, challenge, and prepare our learners to impact their communities and the world as problem-solvers, inventors, designers, and innovators.
Where is CICS ChicagoQuest located?
CICS ChicagoQuest is located at 1443 N. Ogden Avenue, Chicago, IL 60610 in the Near North Side neighborhood. The school is located in the old Sojourner Truth building.
Is transportation provided?
Transportation to CICS ChicagoQuest will not be provided. This is consistent with all CICS schools.
Parents can arrange for shared transportation (hired busses or shuttles) to transport students to and from CICS ChicagoQuest. This would be paid for by the parents who use the service.
What grades are served initially and what grades will CICS ChicagoQuest serve at full capacity?
CICS ChicagoQuest will serve grades 6 through 8 in the 2012-2013 school year, and will expand by one grade each year until it becomes a 6th – 12th grade high school. The school will eventually serve approximately 800 students.
If you attend CICS ChicagoQuest for middle school, are you guaranteed a spot in the high school?
All CICS ChicagoQuest middle school students will automatically have a seat in the high school grades as the school expands. The goal of CICS ChicagoQuest is to provide a continuum, where students and families entering at 6th grade can rest assured that they will have a place in a high-quality high school from entry through to graduation.
What are the class sizes at ChicagoQuest?
ChicagoQuest is committed to smaller class sizes. We anticipate that we will have 26 students in a class. We will have an advisory program, that we call "Home Base", that may be comprised of even smaller groups.
What unique resources will the school have?
The ChicagoQuest team will be collaborators with the Quest to Learn team in New York. This relationship will enable both schools to develop and share curriculum and learning materials. We also will have access to some specialized technological tools, like SMALLab, that will enable us to use some truly innovative approaches to teaching.
Will there be after-school programming?
We and CICS are committed to ensuring that our students have opportunities for productive and enriching activities after school. We are developing partnerships with local universities, cultural and civic organizations, and community-based organizations, to provide a rich array of after-school programs.
Who is able to attend this school?
Any child residing within the city of Chicago and in 6th – 12th grade (starting with 6th and 7th) is eligible to attend CICS ChicagoQuest.
How do I enroll my child?
Visit the Application Information page for details.
How are students admitted?
Admission to the school is random. All students are selected by a lottery. If there are more applications than spots available, a public, computerized lottery will be held. Students not accepted during the lottery will be placed on a waiting list in the order their name was selected in the lottery. Students with siblings accepted through the lottery will be given preference, although there is no guarantee that all children in a family will be accepted.
Who will be running the school?
Dr. Michael Donhost is the Director, or Principal, of CICS ChicagoQuest. Dr. Sybil Madison Boyd is the Director of Education and Leadership of the new School Management Organization (SMO) known as ChicagoQuest that will be responsible for day-to-day management of the school, principal, teacher and staff hiring, professional development, curriculum delivery, and instruction. The school’s academic operations will be overseen by Chicago International Charter School (CICS), which is the largest charter school operator in Illinois.
Does CICS ChicagoQuest offer academic services for children with special needs?
We will have a strong intervention team comprised of a school social worker, exceptional needs teachers, and intervention specialists who will work with administrators, teachers, and families to ensure that students receive the supports that they need and that are indicated by their Individualized Education Plans (where applicable).
What motivated the founding of ChicagoQuest?
The students of today will soon be the scholars, scientists, entrepreneurs, writers, designers, and leaders of tomorrow. The goal of ChicagoQuest is to educate children for college and career success in the 21st century. In a world that is increasingly networked, collaborative, global, and systems oriented, it is critical that we help our students develop into critical, creative, and independent thinkers who collaborate productively, use technology and media wisely, and possess a sense of social responsibility.
Is CICS ChicagoQuest an online learning school?
No. In fact, technology is used only when we believe that it will facilitate learning. Our Wellness philosophy has led us to put a lot of thought into what students are doing with both their minds and bodies during the school day. We believe in creating a learning environment that speaks to the multiple ways that kids learn – physical, through touch, visually, through movement, etc. – so that all of our learners can be successful.
Do students spend their day playing video games?
No! We use the principles of game design to think about how to better engage students in the content of their learning. Like games, our curriculum gets more challenging over time, provides students with ongoing feedback, and requires students to show what they know. We do use games to teach content and students create games to share what they have learned.
What is the track record of CICS?
Closed achievement gap at elementary campuses.
- During the 09-10 school year, the average student who attended a CICS elementary campus that had been opened for 3 years or more was achieving at or above the national average as measured by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) Measure of Academic Progress (MAP).
Increased college acceptance and retention rates.
- Over 97% of CICS graduates were accepted into college.
- Of CPS’s non-selective enrollment schools, CICS Northtown ranked 3rd in 2009 college enrollment statistics, and CICS Longwood ranked 5th.
Recognized for fiscal responsibility. Chicago International is considered to be one of the most financially sound charter school networks in the country.
Who are the key partners involved in supporting CICS Chicago Quest?
CICS ChicagoQuest has been provided with generous support from Quest to Learn and the Institute of Play in New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the Digital Youth Network (based at DePaul University). We expect to engage more local partners as the school develops.
How will the community be involved?
We believe that schools must have strong family and community relationships and partnerships in order to be successful. We look forward to working closely with our families and community stakeholders to build a shared vision for the school and to ensure that each and every one of our students is successful.