FAQs About Civitas
What is a charter school?
A charter school is a privately managed public school that is free and open to all students, without entrance exams. If there are more applicants than available seats in a charter school, the school must hold an enrollment lottery. Charter schools offer many benefits to students, parents, teachers, and communities. Charter schools allow educators more freedom to innovate and more local control, which means they can tailor their educational plans to their students’ needs.
What is the difference between Chicago International Charter School and Civitas Schools?
Chicago International Charter School (CICS) is a publicly funded, privately managed charter school with 13 campuses serving more than 8100 students. Chicago International takes a portfolio approach to managing schools. The board contracts with four different Education Management Organizations (EMOs), Civitas Schools being one of those four. Responsibilities are divided among the central administration, EMO staff, and campus educators, allowing each team to focus work efforts within its areas of expertise.
Civitas Schools focuses its efforts on recruiting, training and day-to-day support of the outstanding leaders that run our schools. Beyond recruiting, we support our campuses by providing consistent development and refinement of the school curricula and instructional strategies, coaching, support and mentoring of all teachers, ensuring that our students learn in a clean, safe environment by managing security and maintenance staff, ensuring access to 21st century technology for each student, providing comprehensive educational and counseling services for our special needs population and oversight of the school finance procedures.
What is an EMO?
Education Management Organizations (EMO), works with schools districts or charter schools to develop curriculum and manage day-to-day operations at the schools. Primary functions include curriculum development, assessment design, staff recruitment, professional development, budget management, facilities services, technology, operations, and communications.
How did Civitas Start?
Civitas Schools is an education management organization (EMO) founded in 2004 that operates charter schools in Chicago.
Civitas Schools was originally created as a subsidiary of the Chicago Charter School Foundation (CCSF), a non-profit organization that holds a charter with the State of Illinois for the campuses operating under the name of the Chicago International Charter School (CICS).
In 2002, CCSF received a $4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a small high school initiative. This grant was the catalyst for the creation of Civitas Schools, which began its operations with CICS Northtown Academy in the fall of 2004.
How many schools does Civitas operate?
Civitas Schools operates 3 schools: CICS Wrightwood (K-8), CICS Northtown (K-12) and CICS Ralph Ellison (K-12). Each school is a Chicago International Charter Schools replicated campus.
What kind of student attends a Civitas school?
Civitas Schools are tuition-free open enrollment, college preparatory public schools. Students are accepted regardless of background or academic record via a student lottery held in February.
If you are a parent considering enrolling in a Civitas School, you and your student should be seeking a college-preparatory high school and believe that excellence requires hard work, passion and a thirst for success. Students should be willing to dedicate themselves to high academic achievement and want to be part of a strong, proud community of learners. Read more about the Civitas Student.
How difficult it is to get admission into a Civitas School?
Civitas Schools are open enrollment so there is no selection process. Any student can attend a Civitas School as long as they are a Chicago resident. Some Civitas Schools do have lengthy waiting lists for enrollment, however, ensuring that your application is submitted prior to the application deadline, is the best way to ensure admission.
If you would like to designate your gift for a Civitas campus please make that designation by clicking on the “Add special instructions to the seller” option.
Entering its second year, the CICS Ralph Ellison debate team participated in their first tournament on October 1. Each of the three teams that competed, participated in four rounds of debate. For the first time, all 3 competing teams finished in the top ten! Read more
1033 W. Van Buren St., Suite 640
Chicago, IL 60607