Welcome to the annual Champaign-Urbana Area Private School Guide! This guide focuses on area private schools for elementary, middle school and high school students. Listings are not recommendations; we offer this list as a community service.
Featured Listings for the 2017 Champaign-Urbana Private School Guide are sponsors of chambanamoms.com.
The mission of Academy High, an independent college-preparatory secondary school, is to inspire students to discover and pursue their passions; to become exceptionally well-educated, academically and personally; and to lead lives of excellence, purpose, and joy.
What makes your school unique?: Our school’s academic program is founded on four pillars: a Core Curriculum of Traditional Academic Courses; a Parallel Curriculum of Modules (mini-courses); a Collaboratorium for Discovery, Exploration, and Innovation; and a unique Blended Schedule.
What the director says: The Academy High education will produce six powerful outcomes essential to the 21st Century learner and prized by their future colleges, professions, and the world they will inherit: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Character, and Cosmopolitanism (cross-cultural competency).
Dr. Darren J. Pascavage, Founding Head
7th Graders may apply to be freshman for Fall 2018
8th Graders may apply to be freshman for Fall 2017
9th Graders may apply to be sophomores for Fall 2017
Affiliation: ISACS (Applying for Membership)
Location: Academy High, 2302 Fox Drive, Champaign
As a non-profit school, we put children first. We believe that students thrive in a school where intellectual stimulation is high and where individual attention is given in a warm, friendly, and nurturing environment. We encourage high academic achievement and emphasize balanced growth – intellectual, emotional, and social – for every student. Our mission is simple: “Joy in Learning, Excellence in Education.”
What Makes Your School Unique: Founded in 1992, Countryside is the only ISACS-accredited, nonprofit, independent school in the C-U area. We offer an accelerated, highly engaging, hands-on academic curriculum balanced with physical education, fine arts, and character education. Foreign language instruction begins in kindergarten for all students. Our unique, nontraditional structure features multi-age, team-taught classrooms with low student-teacher ratios. The school’s beautiful 13-acre campus in west Champaign includes a full size gym and performing arts stage. We offer financial aid.
What the Director Says: “Countryside is the school that you wish you could have attended as a child. Our classrooms are filled with joyful, intrinsically motivated, bright children who are eager to learn. Our superior faculty challenge our students to be the best scholars they can be while instilling a joy of learning that stays with them well after they have graduated. I recommend coming to see our dynamic, rigorous, and exciting learning environment in action by scheduling a tour.” – Stephanie Harman, Head of School
Affiliation: Independent – Accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS); Illinois State Board of Education
Grades Served: K-8
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Elementary Information Night (grades K-5): Thursday, February 2, at 7:00 p.m. at the school. Childcare available for ages 3-8. Middle School Information Night (grades 6-8): Thursday, March 9, at 7:00 p.m. at the school.
Location: Countryside School, 4301 W. Kirby Avenue, Champaign
Preparing the leaders of tomorrow to have the courage to lead, the curiosity to discover, the wisdom to learn, and the inspiration to initiate change. Next Generation School is an independent, private school offering superior educational opportunities in a loving, nurturing environment. Our holistic approach to education enables our students to realize their fullest potential and become lifelong learners who can successfully navigate the world.
What Makes Your School Unique: For nearly three decades we have been guiding students on a journey of discovery while instilling in them the courage of conviction and the tenacity to be outstanding. By celebrating the uniqueness of the individual and uncovering the unlimited potential of each student, we create an environment where children thrive and flourish. The atmosphere of our school and academic nature of our program has a profound effect on the lives of our students. Because they are continually challenged to think critically and explore limitless possibilities, our students are well prepared for the challenges that await them in higher education and beyond.
What the Director Says: Next Generation School dedicates itself to educating the whole child – ensuring his or her academic growth as well as fostering social and emotional development. By providing a multitude of learning experiences in core academics in addition to Physical Education and the Fine and Performing Arts, students grow into accomplished and confident individuals. This richness of experience sets the stage for a lifetime of learning and leadership that Next Generation School is proud to foster.
Grades Served: K-8
Location: Next Generation Primary and Middle School, 2521 Galen Drive, Champaign
Judah Christian School is a private, interdenominational Christian school (PreK-12th) that has a 30+ year history in the C-U community. The school offers excellent academics taught by caring, certified teachers. The school is a member of the IESA and IHSA and offers outstanding extra-curricular choices, including fabulous fine arts. JCS is in the midst of a campaign and efforts to move to 51 acres in southwest Champaign at the intersection of Kirby and Rising Road.
What makes your school unique?: JCS strives to educate students from a Biblical perspective and focuses on teaching children the way God has created them to learn. Further, JCS is a fun and safe place to learn where teachers spend their time teaching the whole child. Classrooms and hallways are controlled and the family atmosphere truly sets JCS apart.
What the director says: ““As the CEO and Judah parent, I can attest to the fact that Judah is truly a special place. Immediately upon entering the school you know something is different. The atmosphere speaks of family, safety, care and excellence. With very affordable tuition and eternal rewards, JCS is an invaluable investment.” –Mike Chitty, Chief Educational Officer
Affiliation: ISBE, ACSI
Grades Served: Preschool & K-12
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Join us for Fantastic Friday Open Houses from 9am-2pm every Friday school is in session from Feb-April. Tours will be given every hour on the hour (9, 10, 11, noon and 1pm)
School Location: Judah Christian School, 908 N. Prospect Ave, Champaign
University Primary School (Uni Primary) is The University of Illinois; College of Education’s Preschool-5th grade Reggio Emilia inspired lab school. Across our multi-grade level classrooms, children are engaged in creative, challenging, and meaningful curricular inquiries using The Project Approach alongside literacy, math, science, social studies, and the arts . Uni Primary’s democratic classroom communities make effective use of cooperation, negotiation, and choice as a means to foster children’s intellect, curiosity, and love of learning.
What Makes Your School Unique: We value innovation, creativity, and connectedness across all content areas, with problem solving and self-directed learning in concert with teacher guided instruction and activities.
What the Director Says: Located here on campus at The University of Illinois, Uni Primary students, teachers, and families are inspired by experts in a variety of fields; we tour museums and archives, visit labs, and make discoveries shared in a young research community. Come over for a tour, and see our motto “Learning is serious delight!” for yourself. -Dr. Ali Lewis, University Primary School Director
Affiliation: University of Illinois; College of Education
Grades Served: Preschool-5th Grade
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Wednesday, February 8 or call for a tour/Applications Due by March 10 for first round consideration in preschool-5th grade
Location: Children’s Research Center, 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign
We provide individualized instruction according to each child’s age, abilities and interests following the Montessori philosophy and the Montessori method of education. Each classroom is a carefully prepared environment allowing children to learn through action.
What makes your school unique?: We follow Dr. Montessori’s philosophy through the use of her method of education which remains relevant to today’s children and studies regarding social and cognitive development.
What the director says: “Come and visit us to learn more about our passion for educating children in an environment that is supportive and encouraging of self direction.” –George Cook, Administrator
Affiliation: American Montessori Society Grades Served: 1st – 6th
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): TBA
Location: Montessori School of Campaign Urbana, 1403 Regency Drive East, Savoy
St. John Lutheran School provides a Christ-centered education for students in preschool through eighth grade. Our teachers get to know their students individually and use a variety of teaching strategies, helping each child remain engaged and excel. At St. John, we know the value of a well-rounded education and provide specialized art, physical education, and music instruction in K-8th grade, as well as the option for band beginning in fourth grade and team sports starting in fifth grade.
What Makes Your School Unique: Our multi-grade classes (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5) provide many opportunities for children of all learning styles to grow and succeed. Because of the multi-grade structure, our teachers are able to utilize flexible, interactive groupings and instruction. Above all, our focus is on teaching each subject with a Biblical worldview, and our students participate in daily devotions, weekly chapel, and class Bible lessons.
What the Director Says: At St. John, our caring and committed staff work to provide for the spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of our students. As a school, we are grounded in the Word of God and we are dedicated to providing an outstanding education for each child in preschool through eighth grade. -Faith Block, Principal
Affiliation: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
Grades Served: Pre-K – 8
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Kindergarten Open House on February 28th, 5-6:30pm. We are happy to give personal tours for any grade! Please contact the school office to make an appointment.
Location: St. John Lutheran Church and School, 509 S. Mattis Ave., Champaign
The mission of Campus Middle School for Girls is to promote academic excellence in a nurturing environment where girls can become confident and enthusiastic lifelong learners. In service to this mission, CMS provides: a challenging curriculum that encourages girls to set high expectations for themselves; small class sizes that allow a high level of student participation and teacher attention; diverse curriculum offerings that allow girls to explore an array of subjects, express themselves creatively, and work toward mastery in a variety of disciplines; a safe and positive social environment that enables adolescent girls to achieve a sense of emotional and physical well-being; community service opportunities that encourage students to become reflective, responsible global citizens; and close ties to the University of Illinois and surrounding community that expose students to working scholars, laboratories, museums, libraries and other resources.
What makes your school unique: CMS is the only single-gender middle school for girls in the Champaign-Urbana area.
What the Director Says: Campus Middle School for Girls provides a rich, challenging curriculum in a small environment that allows girls to take risks and responsibility for their learning. –Tami Adams, Executive Director
Grades Served: 6-8
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): March 2, 2017, 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: First United Methodist Church of Urbana, 304 S. Race Street, 3rd Floor
Carle Auditory Oral School (CAOS) is a private school program focused on listening and spoken language development. Originally founded as a school for children with hearing loss, it was quickly discovered that the hands-on, language-rich learning environment has tremendous benefits for children with normal hearing as well. Small class sizes, highly-skilled teachers, thematic lessons and environmental learning give students the edge they need to be successful both in and outside of school.
What Makes Your School Unique: At Carle Auditory Oral School, children with hearing loss learn alongside those with normal hearing, creating an ideal environment for developing communication and social skills.
What the Director Says: CAOS strives to provide children with a solid foundation of self-confidence, concern for others, academic readiness and enthusiasm for the learning process. –Danielle Darcy, Director, Carle Auditory Oral School
Affiliation: Carle Foundation Hospital
Grades Served: Preschool to 2nd grade
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Please call to schedule a tour.
Location: Carle Auditory Oral School, 805 W. Park Street, Urbana
Holy Cross School, a pre-K through grade 8 Catholic school, offers an academic environment like no other in Champaign-Urbana. Nationally accredited by stringent AdvancED standards, our focus is on academic excellence. Our outstanding curriculum provides a solid foundation in core academics, with test scores significantly higher than the national average. Our curriculum includes full-time art, music, and physical education programs, and our school features a 9,000 volume library, an updated computer lab, and smart-board equipped classrooms.
What makes your school unique?: Holy Cross is more than a school; it’s a joyful community. Reflecting the diversity of the CU community, students of numerous faiths and backgrounds come to learn in a Catholic setting.
What the director says: Parents often tell us one reason they choose Holy Cross School is the sense of community they feel when they walk through our doors. Their children feel welcome, cared for and safe. Many students and families build friendships that last a lifetime. From athletic competitions to family events, school activities and liturgical celebrations, we learn, play, pray and grow together. — Mrs. Chris Ellis, Principal
Affiliation: Holy Cross Catholic Church (Catholic Diocese of Peoria)
Grades Served: Preschool (age 3-4) up to 8th grade
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Tours available anytime
School Location: Holy Cross School, 410 W White Street, Champaign