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Awards & Certifications

We are proud of the recognition our students, faculty, academic program, and facilities have garnered over the years. Below find just a sampling of some recent GEMS World Academy Chicago successes and certifications.

Academics

  • International Baccalaureate World School: GEMS World Academy Chicago is an International Baccalaureate World School for the IB's Primary Years Program (preschool through grade 5) and Middle Years Program (grades 6 through 10). Being an IB World School means our approach and performance meet the IB's rigorous standards. 
  • Apple Distinguished School: GEMS World Academy Chicago was named an Apple Distinguished School in 2016, and we were reauthorized in 2018. The designation acknowledges the creative way we thread technology throughout the curriculum.
  • GEMS World Academy Chicago is a candidate for NEASC accreditation. 

Student Honors

GEMS World Academy Chicago students have been honored for their work in a variety of ways. Here are just a few recent examples:

  • Photographs taken by two sixth graders were selected as "noteworthy photos" in an international photography class called Phonar Nation, 2015
  • Six middle school Spanish students earned superior rankings at the annual poetry contest organized by the Chicago chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, 2016
  • Three sixth graders were named finalists in global innovation contest, 2017
  • Two seventh graders win first-place prize in Google film festival, 2018
  • GEMS ninth grader part of winning team in Global Design Challenge, 2018
  • GEMS ninth grader chosen to be part of a curated art show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 2018
  • A fifth grader earned multiple honors as a member of the GEMS Math Team, culminating in his qualifying for the Math League National Championship at Texas A&M University, 2019
  • Ivy C. '24 qualified for the National MathCon competition. In total, there were 47,194 students competing online across the United States, and 900 students were invited to advance to finals in Chicago, Illinois, 2019
  • Jeelani S. '24 won Outstanding Delegate at the Model U.N. conference. Eight students participated with four receiving Honorable Mention, 2019
     

Faculty Honors

  • Peg Keiner, our director of innovation, was named an Apple Distinguished Educator. Apple created the ADE program in 1994 to honor those educators who use technology in innovative ways to transform learning.
  • Several teachers have earned National Geographic Teacher Certification or are working toward it: Martha Seixas, Ben Hollister, Heather Prekop, Peg Keiner, and Taneal Sanders.
  • French teacher Suzanne Giacotto won the 2019 Prix d'Excellence du Chapitre award for excellence in teaching from the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF).
  • Spanish teacher Sandra Tapia-Diaz won Golden Apple Teacher-Scholar and National Spanish Exam and The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Scholar. 

Facilities & Design

The striking, vertical GEMS World Academy campus in the Lakeshore East neighborhood has won several prestigious architecture awards and commendations since the school opened in the fall of 2014.

  • The Mies van der Rohe Citation of Merit for Innovation from the Illinois chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
  • The Award of Merit in the K–12 Education category of the annual Engineering News Record (ENR) Midwest's Best Projects Competition.
  • Featured site at the Open House Chicago Architectural Tour, an event organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation.
  • Selected as ASA Chicago’s Outstanding Project of 2014–2015.
  • Featured article in Architectural Record Magazine titled “Schoolhouse Rock: A private day school in downtown Chicago makes the most of its park-side southern exposure to bring light into the building.”

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