Mission & History

Chicago International Charter School (CICS) was founded on the belief that every child has the right to a high quality education. The mission of CICS is:

Our vibrant network of diverse Chicago charter schools enables students to thrive every day, puts them on a path to success in college and life, and empowers entrepreneurial educators to pursue excellence through innovation.

CICS is a pioneer—one of Illinois’ first charter networks to manage a portfolio of talented and autonomous school operators with a wide range of school models. Our schools are designed for our communities, with approaches as diverse as the communities we serve.

Charter schools began as an innovation lab for public education, and our structure allows us to pursue innovation at a scale that serves students across Chicago. CICS’ size, financial stability, and commitment to diverse student and educator experiences allows us to be creative, take more risks, and prioritize new ideas.

This strategy is new and yet rooted in our history. The CICS portfolio model allows us to tap into an incredible existing resource: Talented and entrepreneurial educators who crave empowerment and leadership to do more for students. We partner with school operators—education entrepreneurs—who join our network for the opportunity to autonomously design, launch, and manage new schools, and want the support and resources of a large successful charter network. CICS provides them with effective back-office services, external engagement, actionable data and feedback, and a vibrant network of like-minded innovators they can collaborate with and learn from. With these supports in place, we can expect powerful breakthroughs and better results for our 8,600 students and for the Chicago public education ecosystem.

CICS is raising the bar and committing to achieve excellence across our portfolio: Employees, partners, programs and schools. Over the next three years, we will stay true to the model CICS has used since its founding, and we’ll also evolve to better serve students and their families. We will start by establishing and recommitting to a shared and ambitious vision of what is possible for our schools and students, and reorient our organization to deliver on that vision. We’ll reimagine how we support and share responsibilities with operators to optimize resources and performance, and offer high value and efficient back-office services. We will continue to support current operators that are succeeding, exploring opportunities for them to grow and replicate while taking aggressive action to improve the performance of operators who have not met our expectations. Additionally, we will enhance our network by incubating single-site operators who offer families new and better innovative school models. 

Apply Today

Enrollment in Chicago International Charter School is open to all students, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, or disability status. For more information, visit our applications page.

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