Our Story

City Elementary was founded by a small group of parents with a vision for a new kind of school for diverse learners.

When simg_9755earching for a school for their older son, Steven and Gretchen Rings wanted what all parents want for their children: a rich and stimulating educational environment that is both nurturing and challenging and that enables each student to reach his or her full potential. They knew that their bright, inquisitive son had tremendous capacity to learn. But they also recognized that his diverse learning style required a particular kind of environment in order for him to thrive. After an exhaustive search, they concluded that none of the existing schools in Chicago provided the right fit.

Leah and Jason Harp found themselves in the same position. They considered leaving the City or homeschooling their son. Instead, they decided to partner with the Rings and a handful of others and build a school where their children and others like them could flourish.

They knew that the school needed small classrooms with no more than 10 students, and a student: teacher ratio no greater than 5:1. And they knew that they needed highly skilled, empathic teachers and staff who would meet students where they are socially, emotionally, and academically and with whom students could develop trusting relationships. They also recognized the importance of offering onsite speech and occupational therapies and a well-equipped sensory gym to enable students to stay regulated throughout the day.

With guidance from an esteemed Advisory Board, they created a classroom environment tailored to the needs of diverse learners so students can be educated along side their peers rather than pulled out of class, and they put into place social supports to help children develop strong friendships and gain skills in conflict resolution, perspective taking, cooperation, compromise, and leadership.

City Elementary welcomed its inaugural cohort of students in fall 2014 and currently serves students from kindergarten through the sixth grade. In keeping with the founding parents’ original vision, we are committed to bringing together the principles of progressive education with gold standard therapeutic supports, providing a unique educational environment that is both nurturing and rigorous.

To learn more about City Elementary and schedule a tour of our vibrant learning community, contact Head of School Christopher Flint at cflint@cityelementary.com.