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Frequently Asked Questions

When you are considering a new school for your child, it is only natural to have many questions. We have compiled below some of the more common questions we field. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any other questions you may have. We are here to help!

Frequently Asked Questions

GEMS World Academy Chicago, an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, is the only private school in Illinois authorized to offer the full IB continuum from preschool through high school. Our student-centered program fosters academic readiness through a transdisciplinary, inquiry-based approach that concurrently builds critical thinking and communication skills. Core to our mission is preparing students to be true global citizens, starting with being good local citizens, and to understand the power of one in effecting change. Living and learning in Chicago is critical to our students’ worldview and together with our robust Field Studies program, students gain invaluable authentic experiences, all culminating in creating the mindset needed to succeed in a connected world.

The International Baccalaureate curriculum framework is a vertically integrated and inquiry-based program of studies. This sequential international education experience integrates best practices in teaching with the most current research into how learning takes place at each stage of child development. IB students at GEMS develop the critical-thinking skills needed to succeed at leading universities in the United States and around the world.

The average class size at GEMS World Academy Chicago is 16 for preschool, 18 for junior kindergarten, 20 for kindergarten, and 22 for grades 1 and up. Our current student to teacher ratio is 7:1.

All programs, including preschool and kindergarten are full-day programs. The school day starts at 8:15 AM, and dismissal times are staggered by grade level:

  • 3:00 PM for preschool through kindergarten
  • 3:15 PM for grades 1 and 2
  • 3:30 PM for grades 3-5; and 3:15 PM for grades 6 and up, with 3:15-3:45 for consultation.

We offer before-school care starting at 7:15 AM at no additional cost. Our new afterschool program for Lower School offers a range of additional learning opportunities for students at all age levels. Our afterschool care and extracurriculars go no later than 6:00 PM (with some athletic events being the exception).

Tuition is set in January for the coming year.

The application process begins in the fall of the year prior to enrollment. Apply now.

Preschool students must be three years old by December 31 of the school year in which they are enrolled.

The majority of openings will be available in our entry points of preschool, junior kindergarten, kindergarten, and grade 9. Select seats are available in most grades.

We are committed to creating a school community that supports socioeconomic diversity. Our financial assistance program provides need-based grants. We also award merit scholarships to students in 6 grades and up.

GEMS World Academy Chicago does not require any fundraising by families.

Parent engagement is one of our strongest assurances of providing the best educational experience for families. Our web-based portal offers access to newsletters and announcements, instructional content, and links showcasing student work as well as providing parents with direct contact to teachers. In addition, we have a robust Parent Teacher Organization that organizes cultural events and assists our faculty in numerous ways.

A key differentiator of GEMS World Academy Chicago is that we offer a choice of one of three languages daily in all grades. Students choose French, Mandarin, or Spanish. Daily instruction begins in preschool.

Yes. Beginning with the 2019–2020 school year, we require all new enrollees to have all vaccinations required by the state of Illinois.

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