Learning & Activities


The 11 Top-Rated Schools in Chicago Today

The 11 Top-Rated Schools in Chicago Today

Selecting the right school for your child can be a difficult decision to make. Even if it looks great on paper, it may not necessarily have that “fit” you're searching for when looking at class offerings and student-teacher ratios. Sometimes, the best way to accurately assess a school is to look at reviews from parents who have had direct experience with the school. We'll help you with schools in Chicago here.

Aside from that, ask yourself relevant questions. Is a smaller class size important? Does the school offer extracurricular activities or sports teams? Are there unique classes or electives available? Does the school have proper resources, and is it up to date on technology and curriculum tools?

Whatever your priorities, you want to ensure the school will meet your child's needs and provide them with a safe learning environment. To help you decide, we've outlined the top 10 schools in Windy City (based on GreatSchools.org) from elementary to high school and all points in between.

Quality education begins with the right school. Take time to research your options and find the perfect fit for your child.


Best Elementary Schools

Columbus Elementary School

1003 N Leavitt St, Chicago, IL 60622

With an enrollment of 263 students and courses ranging from pre-K to grade 8, GreatSchools.org has awarded this public school a high rating of 4/5 rating. That indicates that most children have had exceptional experiences. 

At Columbus Elementary School, math and science are the priorities. Specifically, the school places a significant focus on engaging in hands-on learning experiences. An impressive 37% of students have achieved scores on the state math assessment that meet or exceed their expected proficiency levels, and a further 47% are displaying mastery in reading.

With an average of 19 students per teacher, the teachers at Columbus Elementary School have dedication and passion for their work. The faculty has also received credit for helping many students achieve success academically. 

Moreover, Columbus Elementary School boasts a welcoming and nurturing learning environment for students. According to one online reviewer, “The best experience ever. Love the teachers…great education.” Other reviews echo this sentiment.

Getting the best education for your child is the foundation for success.


Canty Elementary School

3740 North Panama Avenue Chicago, IL 60634

Canty Elementary School is a bustling educational center of 824 pre-K to eighth-grade students. Greatschools.org gave the school a 3/5 rating, and rightfully so.

Its strong focus on literacy and math is evident in its students' success. 50% scored at or above their proficiency levels on the state math assessment, with an even greater 55% reading proficiency.

Furthermore, Canty Elementary School has a student-teacher ratio of 19 to 1 — an enviable proportion that allows students and teachers to interact more meaningfully.

The school's faculty has dedication to its mission to help its pupils reach their full academic potential.

It is worth mentioning that the teachers at Canty Elementary School are exceptionally experienced, with 91% having taught for more than three years. Moreover, the school has been lauded for its inviting ambiance, an ideal environment to help young minds reach their full potential.

Disney ii Elementary School

3815 N Kedvale Ave, Chicago, IL 60641

Serving 442 students, this school provides a comprehensive learning experience from pre-K to grade 6. With an exemplary 9/10 rating on Greatschools.org, many reviews commended its excellence in academics and extracurricular activities. This school has achieved incredible success on state tests, with half of the students demonstrating proficiency or higher in math and 62% demonstrating reading proficiency.

At Disney ii Elementary School, the student-teacher ratio is an impressive 18 to 1, offering teachers opportunities for individualized student engagement. Also, 85% of its faculty boast over three years of teaching experience – a testament to their expertise and dedication.

The school offers many extracurricular activities and programs, including art, music, drama, and language. Parents praise the school for its strong sense of community and welcoming atmosphere. An online reviewer notes that the school had been a wonderful experience for their children, with the teachers and staff very dedicated to their students' success.

Burley Elementary School

1630 W Barry Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Nestled in the heart of its community, Burley Elementary School is a public educational institution serving 553 students from pre-K to grade 8.

GreatSchools.org rates the school 4/5, with many reviews praising its academics and extracurricular activities. Burley Elementary School remains committed to fostering strong academic success. In fact, 50% of its students achieve or exceed their proficiency level on the state math assessment, and 47% are proficient in reading.

Parents and alumni of Burley Elementary school celebrate it for its vibrant sense of community and inviting atmosphere. In fact, numerous alumni have attested to the pleasant experience. A parent recently praised Burley in an online review, noting that it truly is a gem of a school with dedicated teachers and staff who genuinely care about their students' success.

The faculty comprises experienced educators, with over 88% possessing more than three years of teaching experience. Furthermore, the student-teacher ratio allows for individualized attention, standing at 16 to 1. This offers teachers ample time to engage and interact with students. All that said, Burley is one of the top-rated schools in Chicago.

Building a bright future for your child takes research, care, and dedication, but the reward is priceless.


Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center

8101 S La Salle St, Chicago, IL 60620

Lenart Elementary Regional Gifted Center stands out amongst public schools and is a beacon of excellence in the public school system. With 266 students enrolled from pre-K to grade 8, it proudly serves its community by providing them with top-notch educational opportunities.

With a 4/5 rating from Greatschools.org, this school stands out for its remarkable administration. Their commitment to an educational environment that prioritizes academics and student engagement is evident in their superb test scores.

84% of students achieved proficiency in math and 90% proficiency in reading. This school has a student-teacher ratio of 14:1. This is significantly lower than the district average and allows for more individualized attention to each student.

Best Middle Schools

Decatur Classical School

7030 N Sacramento Ave, Chicago, IL 60645

Decatur Classical School is a vibrant learning institution, proudly serving over 284 students across Kindergarten to grade 6.

Boasting a 5-star rating from GreatSchools.org, this school receives praise for its excellent academics and extracurricular activities. Further, the school's performance on state tests is remarkable. 94% of students, specifically, score at or above their proficiency levels in math, and 91% are proficient in reading.

Moreover, the school is dedicated to establishing a solid connection between students and faculty members. While the student-teacher ratio is 18:1, the faculty is highly experienced, with 75% having over three years of teaching experience.

Additionally, Decatur Classical School's well-organized community events and activities have been praised by many former students. One online review noted that the school has a very positive atmosphere; the teachers are friendly and welcoming.

Young Magnet High School

211 South Laflin Street Chicago, IL 60607

Located at the heart of downtown Chicago, Young Magnet School is a public school for grades 7 to 12 and has an enrollment of 2208 students.

The school makes the cut for the best schools in Chicago due to its exceptional performance on state tests. Its students have scored at or above their proficiency levels, with 98% in math and 94% in reading.

The school has a student-to-teacher ratio of 18 to 1. What's more, highly experienced teachers compose the faculty. 90% have more than 3 years of teaching experience.

Reviewers commented on the school's focus on the complete development of its students, with an emphasis on academic and social development.

Find the school that best fits your child's needs and watch them soar!

©Ground Picture/Shutterstock.com

Edison Elementary Regional Gifted Center

4929 North Sawyer Avenue Chicago, IL 60625

While Edison Elementary Regional Gifted Center is a public school, it is geared towards providing education to students who demonstrate a high academic aptitude. It has an enrollment of 264 students and offers classes from grades K to 8.

Primarily a regional gifted center, Edison Elementary Regional Gifted Center also serves as one of the best middle schools in Chicago. It has an enrollment of students and offers classes from grades K to 8.

The school's test scores are way above the average for the city's academic performance. 91% of students score at or above their proficiency in math and 92% are proficient in reading. The school's leadership is also praised for its dedication to the success of its students, with many online reviews noting the positive impact it had on their children. 

Its core curriculum is supplemented with various extracurricular activities such as art, music, technology, and sports.

Best High Schools

Jones College Prep High School

700 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605

This exceptional high school stands out from other schools in the area with its advanced curricula and rigorous academic standards. There are 1908 students enrolled in the school, with grades 9-12.

With regard to college and career readiness, Jones College Prep has one of the highest graduation rates in Chicago, with 96% of its students graduating. 92% of its graduates go on to pursue further education.

It has a rating of 4/5 on Greatschools.org and is known for its focus on academic excellence. Like many of the best schools in Chicago, Jones College Prep is known for its highly experienced faculty and staff—88% of the teachers have more than three years of teaching experience. The student-teacher ratio is also favorable, at 15 to 1.

Jones College Prep in the News

While its academic performance is exceptional, the school has been criticized in recent times by students for having issues with racism. Back in November, the school's principal was suspended after allowing a student to dress as a Nazi and goose-step in school hallways. Chicago Public Schools launched an investigation, but the results of that investigation were not publicly shared.

Students expressed severe disappointment in the school, and staged a sit-in protest to demand better accountability. Three weeks ago, in early July 2023, Jones College Prep's principal announced that he would be leaving his position. While the officially stated reason was health-related, many have speculated that Dr. Joseph Powers was quietly given the option to leave on his own terms or be fired.

The departure of Powers is a first step towards what members of the community are hoping is an effort to control racism in Jones College Prep. The school council, parents, and students have pushed for a long time for Powers's removal, so this marks a victory for them.

Payton College Preparatory High School

1034 N Wells St, Chicago, IL 60610

With an enrollment of 1,153 students and classes from 9-12, Payton College Prep school is one of the creme de la creme in Chicago.

It has a rating of 4/5 on Great Schools. Further, parents laud the school for its focus on academic excellence. In fact, 98% of its students graduate successfully in readiness for college and their future careers.

The faculty at Payton are highly experienced and knowledgeable, with 91% having more than three years of teaching experience. The student-teacher ratio is 15 to 1, ensuring that each student gets individual attention and guidance.

The school also offers extensive extracurricular activities such as music, theater, art, technology, and physical education. All of this makes Payton one of the best schools in Chicago.

Payton College Preparatory in the News

Payton College Preparatory was recently included in an article covering a study performed on small group tutoring in Chicago schools. The study concluded that small group tutoring was critical to help students get back on track after falling behind. By implementing these practices, schools were able to cover gaps in students' education that had been created by various learning disruptions.

According to the study, students who participated in these small group tutoring sessions were able to gain “two to three years worth of extra learning in one year”. The findings of this study can and have been implemented in schools to help students catch up after the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Northside College Preparatory High School

5501 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

With an enrollment of 1722 students from grades 9-12, Northside College Preparatory High School is one of the top schools in Chicago and offers classes from 9-12.

It has a rating of 4/5 on Greatschools.org and is known for its focus on scaling academic heights. 87% of its graduates pursue further studies in college, which is one of the highest rates in Chicago.

Northside College Preparatory High School's faculty and staff are highly experienced, with 93% having more than three years of teaching experience. The student-teacher ratio is also favorable, at 14 to 1.

Northside College Preparatory in the News

Northside College Preparatory has been turning heads lately due to a controversy between Chicago Public Schools and a former student's family. Allegedly, the student's family lied about their residence to allow their child to attend this prestigious institution. CPS is demanding $56,000 from the family over the dishonesty.

Since the former student actually lived outside of Northside's reduced tuition area, the family needs to pay the out-of-area tuition. The student was removed from the school right before her final semester of high school. The family are arguing against CPS's demands, claiming that they took steps to legitimize their residency within Northside's reduced tuition range. The family sued CPS to try to keep their daughter in school, but the attempt failed. The lawsuit is still ongoing regarding the family's attempt to block the tuition charges.

Wrapping Up

Chicago has some of the best educational options in the country. Many choices are available for parents and children, from public to private, charter to magnet schools.

The top schools in Chicago offer advanced curricula, rigorous academic standards, and experienced teaching staff. With their dedication to educating the whole student, these educational institutions strive to prepare students for college and career readiness. 

Each school is unique and offers different advantages, so whatever you choose should be based on what best suits your child's educational needs.

To top