Choose CICS

Why Families Choose CICS

Why Families Choose CICS

Check out our outcomes

  • We want your child to flourish in school and in life just as much as you do.

    We’re passionate about providing abundant opportunities for each of our students to learn joyfully, explore ideas enthusiastically, tackle challenges confidently and collaborate creatively. Our goal is to build the knowledge and skills required to achieve excellence, now and in the future, no matter how our fast-changing world evolves.

  • We value choice.

    We understand that students, families and communities have diverse interests, preferences and needs. Our portfolio of 13 schools across Chicago offers a vibrant mix of school models and learning environments to ensure you can find the right fit for your student.

  • We relentlessly build excellence.

    We believe that providing a quality education to every student, in each of our schools, is simply nonnegotiable. We attract and nurture exceptional teachers, insist on rigorous content, hold our schools and leaders accountable for student success, and encourage and empower innovative thinking in our educators as well as our students.

  • We consistently focus on results.

    We have a 20-year track record of meeting and exceeding Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) average performance standards and outperforming traditional schools in the neighborhoods we serve. We have also made significant progress closing the achievement gap between the performance of our students and their more economically advantaged peers.

  • We enthusiastically innovate.

    We are confident that inspired innovation drives educational excellence. Through our diverse portfolio model, we develop and support new school models and empower brilliant educator innovators to transform learning and student outcomes.
  • We nurture the whole child.

    We combine high expectations with compassionate, individualized support and access to enrichment activities that cultivate the social and emotional competencies students need to reach their fullest potential. Nurturing both mind and body prepares students to be happy, healthy and successful in college and beyond, whatever life path they choose.

CICS By the Numbers

  • 7,400


  • 13


    10 elementary schools
    3 high schools

  • 96

    of students are Black and Latino

  • 3

    School Management Organization (SMO) partners

  • 86

    of students qualify for free or reduced lunch

  • 593


  • 1997

    The year CICS was founded

Student Outcomes

Success means achieving excellence for every child, every day. We believe that the truest measure of that success for our campuses is strong academic performance by our students.

Since our founding two decades ago, CICS performance has surpassed the CPS average. Far from being willing to rest on our accomplishments, however, we continue to seek new ways to further accelerate student performance.

CICS elementary school performance

On average, CICS elementary schools performed better than similar CPS schools as measured by the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) standardized assessments, based on data from the 2017-18 school year:

  • We have 4 of the top 11 highest-scoring elementary charter schools in the city in reading performance.
  • We have 3 of the top 15 highest-scoring elementary charter schools in the city in math performance.
  • 89% of CICS elementary students attend a school that meets or exceeds the reading and math performance of their CPS-zoned counterpart

CICS high school performance

Students who attend CICS high schools are better positioned for college and career success than peers at their CPS-assigned schools, based on Chicago’s School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) scores covering several key performance metrics:

  • All CICS high schools have a better SQRP rating than a weighted average of their comparison schools on:
    • 9th grade SAT growth percentile
    • 10th grade PSAT annual growth percentile
    • 4-year graduation rate
    • College enrollment rate 
    • College persistence rate
    • 1-year dropout rate
    • Average daily attendance rate 
  • The college acceptance rate for students at all CICS high schools is more than 96%.
  • 96% of CICS high school students attend a campus that performs as well or better than their CPS-zoned school in the percentage of students who meet college readiness benchmarks.

Read CICS Alumni Success Stories

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Apply 2024-2025

Excellence for Every Child, Every Day




Chicago International Charter School (CICS) is open to all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status or disability status. When we receive more applications for a school than seats available, students are enrolled in our campuses via a fair, random lottery.  This ensures all students have an equal opportunity to enroll at the campuses of their parents' or guardians' choosing. All CICS schools are charter public and tuition free.

For more information, please see our FAQs section or call (312) 651-5000.

Application FAQs


Open Houses

To view our current open houses for CICS campuses, click the view all button below. 

View All

Application for the 2024-2025 School Year

CICS Enrollment and Lottery Policy

Apply Online

Create an account to begin the application process online, or log-in to view the status of your application.

Early Admission for Kindergarten

Families interested in applying to kindergarten whose student's birthdates are between September 2, 2019-December 31, 2019 and are currently attending a certified Pre-K program, can apply for Early Admission to kindergarten! 

Please read the early admission eligibility process and criteria and if it applies, the parent/guardian can proceed to apply online.

Familias interesadas en aplicar al Kínder con fecha de nacimiento entre Septiembre 2, 2019-Diciembre 31, 2019 y actualmente asisten a un programa certificado de Pre-Kínder, pueden aplicar para Admisión Temprana al kínder! Por favor lea el proceso y criterios de elegibilidad de Admisión Temprana y si aplica, el padre/tutor puede proceder a aplicar en línea.

SY 2024-2025 Early Admission Criteria

Admisión Temprana Para Año Escolar 2024-2025

Rising 9th Graders

9th Grade seats are available!

Log into to apply to CICS high schools for the 2024-2025 school year!

CICS Longwood (1309 W. 95th St)
CICS Northtown (3900 W. Peterson)
CICS Ralph Ellison (1817 W. 80th St)

The next transfer window opens October 23-October 30, 2023.

Visit the GoCPS Website

Apply by Mail, Fax or Email

Download and complete one application (elementary or high school) per student. If you mailed your application, we recommend that you call a week after mailing to confirm its receipt. If you faxed your application, please call 15 minutes after it was faxed to confirm its receipt.
  • Mail

    Chicago International Charter School
    11 E. Adams St., Suite 600
    Chicago, IL 60603

  • Fax

    (312) 651-5001

  • Email

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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  • Online Application
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  • 2022-2023 Asbestos Management Plan Notification

Chicago International Charter School

11 E. Adams
Suite 600
Chicago, IL, 60603
  • P: (312) 651-5000
  • F: (312) 651-5001
  • E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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