Our annual Champaign-Urbana Private Schools 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.
Check out our Preschool Guide for area early childhood education options.
Featured listings for the 2020 Private Schools in Champaign-Urbana Guide are sponsors of chambanamoms.com. If your school is interested in having a featured listing in this guide, please check out this form.
Countryside values what makes each child unique – their strengths, their needs, their passions. Students thrive in a school where intellectual stimulation is high and where individual attention is given in a warm, friendly, and nurturing environment. Countryside encourages high academic achievement and emphasizes balanced growth – intellectual, emotional, and social – for every student. The mission is simple: “Joy in Learning, Excellence in Education.”
What makes the school unique: Founded in 1992, Countryside is the only ISACS-accredited, independent school in the C-U area. It is non-profit. Countryside offers an accelerated, highly engaging, hands-on academic curriculum balanced with fine and performing arts, technology, physical education, and character education. Foreign language instruction in Spanish or Chinese begins in kindergarten for all students. A 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. Financial aid is available.
What the director says: “The students who attend Countryside are creative, inventive, and excited about learning, and the faculty and staff are truly dedicated to the excellence of each child’s education. I highly recommend scheduling a personal tour so you can view this stellar learning environment for yourself.” – Krystal Young, Interim 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, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. at the school with childcare available for ages 3 and up. Middle School Information Night (grades 6-8): Thursday, March 5, at 7 p.m. at the school. If you miss the Information Nights, please call the Admissions Director for a personal tour.
Location: 4301 W. Kirby Ave., Champaign
Campus Middle School for Girls has been helping girls succeed since 1994. Their mission is cultivating excellence, empowering girls. 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 the 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
Location: 108 South Webber St., Urbana
Open House Date(s): Feb. 6, 2020, 7-8:30 p.m.
Academy High is an independent, not-for-profit high school. It provides students with an engaging, innovative learning environment that will prepare them for the future. Devoted faculty support and engage students to attain their greatest academic and personal achievements.
What makes the school unique: Simply stated, dedication to each and every individual student is paramount.
What the director says: “We hope that after viewing our website and visiting our school in person, you will begin to see and feel the Academy High difference.” -- Dr. Darren Pascavage, Head of School.
Affiliation: National Association of Independent Schools
Grades Served: 9-12
Location: 2302 Fox Dr., Champaign
Holy Cross School has been educating young people in the CU community since 1912. The school is known for its academic excellence in a Christian value-centered atmosphere.
What makes the school unique: Holy Cross School has a strong history of academic excellence, value-based education, strong fine arts and athletic programs, and a dedication to developing character in our students.
What the director says: Holy Cross School has a strong family atmosphere where teachers and parents work in partnership to create a successful learning experience for our students. Rosemary Costello, Principal
Grades Served: Pre-school – 8
Location: 410 West White St., Champaign
University Primary School (Uni Primary) is the University of Illinois College of Education’s preschool-5th grade Reggio Emilia inspired lab school. Across multi-grade level classrooms, children engage in creative, challenging, and meaningful curricular inquiries alongside literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and Spanish Language instruction. 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. At Uni Primary, “Learning is Serious Delight!”
What makes the school unique: Uni Primary values innovation, creativity, and connectedness across all content areas, with problem-solving and self-directed learning in concert with teacher-guided instruction and activities. Children are viewed as protagonists and collaborators in their learning; at Uni Primary children are active, eager, and competent citizens.
What the director says: "Located on campus at the University of Illinois, Uni Primary students, teachers, and families are inspired by experts in a variety of research fields; we tour museums and archives, visit labs, and make discoveries shared in a young research community." — Dr. Ali Lewis, University Primary School principal
Affiliation: University of Illinois; College of Education
Grades Served: Preschool-5th grade
Location: The Children's Research Center, (lower southeast side of building), 51 Gerty Dr., Champaign
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Prospective families are invited to tour the school at their Community Open House on Wednesday, Feb. 5 between 9 a.m. - noon (preschool) and 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (kindergarten - 5th grade). Prospective families may also schedule a tour by appointment with the school office. Applications for the 2020-2021 school year will be accepted beginning Jan. 13, 2020 through March 2, 2020. Applications submitted by March 2 will be given first consideration for admission.
Next Generation School is an independent private school offering superior educational opportunities in a loving, nurturing environment. A holistic approach to education enables students to realize their fullest potential and become lifelong learners who can successfully navigate the world.
What makes the school unique? For nearly three decades, Next Generation has 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, Next Generation creates an environment where children thrive and flourish. The atmosphere of the school and academic nature of the program has a profound effect on the lives of students. Because they are continually challenged to think critically and explore limitless possibilities, 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 the student’s 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 Dr., Champaign
St. Matthew is the largest PreK – 8th grade private school in Champaign-Urbana. They are fortunate to have a caring and talented teaching staff that provides their students with intellectual and spiritual opportunities in a positive learning environment. They have an extended care program available from 2:30-5:30 p.m. each day, 10 sports students can join, and 17 different clubs.
What makes the school unique? A sense of community and teamwork shared by students, staff, parents, priests, sisters, and parish members is what makes St. Matthew unique.
What the director says: St. Matthew Catholic School provides a rigorous, superior education, while encompassing our Catholic faith, to develop the whole child.
Affiliation: Catholic Diocese of Peoria
Grades Served: PreK – 8th grades
School Location: St. Matthew School, 1307 Lincolnshire Dr., Champaign
The Montessori School of CU has been serving the community since 1962. It is a home away from home for families. Montessori is a school where students (15 months-12 years) are respected as individuals while being challenged and supported in their growth. Montessori is committed to encouraging life-long learners and positively impacting the world — one child at a time.
What makes the school unique: The Montessori method is a unique approach which enables children to discover their true potential and develop an organized, engaged, and focused mind. The Montessori experience prepares them to be curious, lifelong learners, as well as good citizens, future innovators, and able leaders.
What the director says: What makes MSCU truly unique is our professional, caring, and committed staff whose sole purpose every day is to provide an outstanding educational experience for each child.
Affiliation: American Montessori Society (AMS)
Grades Served: 15 months-12 years
Location: 1403 Regency Drive East, Savoy
Judah Christian School (JCS) is a private, ACSI accredited, interdenominational Christian school, for preschool through grade 12, with a 35-plus-year history of providing an academically excellent, Christ-centered education for students in the Champaign-Urbana community. Utilizing a challenging curriculum, their gifted teachers engage their diverse student body of over 450 students in transformative learning opportunities that focus on teaching and growing the whole child.
Judah Christian School is a member of the IESA and IHSA and offers outstanding extra-curricular choices in addition to core academics.
What makes the school unique: JCS educates students from a Biblical perspective and partners with families in preparing students for a Christ-honoring life of service. In addition to rigorous academics, students grow in their relationship with the Lord and develop as the next generation of Christian leaders. The learning environment is safe, engaging, and the genuine family atmosphere truly sets Judah Christian School apart.
What the director says: As a school leader and JCS parent, I can attest to the fact that Judah Christian School is truly a special place for students to learn and grow from our littlest learners to those in high school. The atmosphere speaks of family, safety, care and excellence. With very affordable tuition and the many advantages of private education, JCS is an invaluable investment. – Cheryl Black, Preschool and Elementary Principal
Affiliation: ISBE, ACSI
Grades Served: Preschool and K-12
Open House/Informational Meeting Date(s): Judah is offering Coffee & Tour dates all through the spring for each of their school divisions. Come visit, meet the principals, talk curriculum and more.
Preschool Dates: February 11th, 2020, February 25th, 2020, March 31st, 2020, April 14th, 2020 Register Here
Elementary Dates: February 12th, 2020, February 26th, 2020, April 1st, 2020, April 15th, 2020 Register Here
Jr. & Sr. High School Dates: February 13th, 2020, February 27th, 2020, April 2nd, 2020, April 16th, 2020 Register Here
Location: 908 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign
Enrollment Contact: Kate Mead
St. John Lutheran School provides students in preschool through 8th grade with a safe, secure learning environment where they can gain a solid academic foundation that will prepare them for high school and beyond. All subjects are taught from a Biblical worldview by teachers who have a heart for Christ and His call to serve those around us. They also understand the value of a well-rounded education which is why provide specialized instruction in art, physical education, and music. Band instruction is available to students as early as the 4th grade and they can participate in team sports starting in 5th grade.
What Makes Your School Unique: Small class sizes allow teachers to get to know individual students so they can better meet their academic needs. Kindergarten through 5th-grade students benefit from multi-grade classes (K/1, 2/3, and 4/5) that provide many opportunities for children of different learning styles to grow and succeed. The multi-grade structure also lets teachers utilize flexible, interactive groupings and instruction. Middle-school students in 6th through 8th grade have a homeroom and attend core classes taught by different teachers, each of whom specializes in specific subjects. Middle-school students are also given the chance to help those around them by engaging in service opportunities throughout the community. All students participate in daily devotions and weekly chapel services, and receive in-class Bible instruction.
What the Director Says: “At St. John, our caring and committed staff works 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 are dedicated to providing an outstanding education for each child in preschool through eighth grade.” –Tim Gabbert, Principal
Affiliation: Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod
Grades Served: Pre-K through 8th Grade
Location: 509 S. Mattis Ave., Champaign
Open House: February 25, 2020, 5-6:30 p.m.
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 the 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 Chalfant, Carle Auditory Oral School
Open House Date(s): Please call to schedule a tour.
Location: 805 W. Park St., Urbana
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