Kids in uniforms at a private school

Choosing the right school for your family is a difficult decision. While the North Shore of Chicago boasts a plethora of high scoring public schools, for many students, that is not always the best option. Fortunately, the North Shore is also home to a number of top-notch private schools that offer a variety of learning environments to suit your family’s needs. Consider this guide as a starting point for your search for the best school for you and/or your child.

Lake Forest Country Day School

145 S. Green Bay Rd.
Lake Forest, IL
(847) 615-6151

Preschool – 8th grade

Established in 1888, LFCDS, offers a rich educational experience grounded in academics, the arts and athletics. Students from more than 30 communities comprise the student body, and laud the warm community, amenities and inspiring faculty.  Two important beliefs form the basis of their teaching philosophy: social and emotional development is inextricably linked with academic achievement; and experiential learning creates a foundation for deeper understanding. The school features a state-of-the-art hands on learning environment that inspires and challenges students to the best of their ability. A 7:1 student to faculty ratio ensures that students get the individual attention they need. Approximately 350 students.

Sacred Heart School

1095 Gage St.
Winnetka, IL
(847) 446-0005

PreK- 8th grade

Nurturing a student’s heart, mind, and spirit, Sacred Heart’s mission is to provide a faith-based, yet competitive education within a close-knit, loving community. They offer a compassionate education enhanced with cutting edge technology in an academically rigorous environment. Their growing STEAM curriculum provides cross curricular projects that demand critical and flexible thinking. In addition, aspiring athletes can choose from many no-cut team opportunities, including football, basketball and volleyball to name a few. It is a strong, involved community of students, staff and families. Approximately 220 students.

Countryside Montessori School

1985 Pfingsten Rd.
Northbrook, IL 
(847) 498-1105

Preschool – 8th grade

At Countryside Montessori, the Montessori philosophy of Respect, Responsibility and Resourcefulness is strongly enforced. While not for everyone, this school offers a community that is aligned in a set of shared values that does more than impart academic content. Learning is a constantly active endeavor placed in the context of real life. As well as academics, students learn what it means to be a competent, self-directed, independent and empathetic young adult; who understand that they can impact the world, not just live in it. At Countryside Montessori you will experience a miniature society comprised of students, faculty and parents who establish a cohesive and unified culture. Approximately 130 students.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help School

1123 Church St.
Glenview, IL
(847) 724-6990

Preschool – 8th grade

OLPH is a vibrant 21st Century Catholic school set in an idyllic eight building campus. This school promotes a deep personal relationship with God and fosters the spiritual lives of families. OLPH does not simply enroll a student, it enrolls a family. The call to service is an integral part of the curriculum, endeavoring to “make service a habit.” Additionally, the school provides a learning environment with high expectations, support and encouragement, where students develop critical and disciplined thinking skills. Although one of the larger private schools, they still maintain a 10:1 student/teacher ratio; average class size is 20 students at the preschool/primary levels; 22 at the intermediate/jr. high levels. Rounding out the experience are strong extra curriculars, including 10 sports and 7 performing arts offerings. Approximately 840 students.


St Francis Xavier School

808 Linden Ave.
Wilmette, IL
(847) 256-0644

Kindergarten – 8th grade

St Francis, a Blue Ribbon Catholic School, strives to educate the whole child by honoring the gifts of its students in their many forms. The early childhood, elementary and middle school programs nurture a culture of innovation within a values-focused environment. Technology is used throughout the curriculum aided by a Technology Integration Specialist. A diverse curriculum ensures that students are ready for the rigors of competitive area high schools. Spanish is taught through 5th grade and Latin in 6th through 8th. Their “Crusader Communities” and commitment to fostering relationships between older and younger students, creates an environment where students learn to serve as mentors and gain responsibility while younger students grow in confidence. Kindergarten through 8th grade come together on a weekly basis for mass, assemblies and team-building exercises. Approximately 440 students.


Baker Demonstration School

201 Sheridan Rd.
Wilmette, IL
(847) 425-5800

PreK – 8th grade

Nationally recognized for excellence in progressive education, the school was founded in 1918 by progressive education pioneer Clara Belle Baker. Not stopping at academics, Baker attends to the whole child, including the physical, social, emotional and cultural development that will give each child the skills, stamina and ethical framework for success in life. Its “learning by doing” philosophy provides students with creative hands on experiences in a thematically integrated curriculum that encourages a love of learning and higher order thinking in an environment where students are comfortable taking risks. Additionally, daily physical activity is emphasized. The campus has an indoor swimming pool and all grades having a daily recess. Approximately 320 students.


St Catherine Laboure

3425 Thornwood Ave.
Glenview, IL

Preschool – 8th grade

Since 1960, St. Catherine Laboure has been offering a program of academic excellence in a family-style, nurturing environment. The school consistently scores in the 85th percentile on standardized tests making it one of the best schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago. The school celebrates its dynamic multi-cultural community with students from over a dozen different cultural backgrounds. Although rooted in the Catholic tradition, the school welcomes students of all faiths and recognizes each student as an individual with their own special abilities and needs. The devoted staff and high parent involvement creates a close-knit, safe environment that embodies a family atmosphere. Service to god and to others are values instilled in all students while small class sizes and individual attention offer an outstanding academic preparation for high school. Approximately 220 students.

The School of Saints Faith, Hope & Charity

180 Ridge Ave.
Winnetka, IL
(847) 446-0031

PreK – 8th Grade

Since 1939, this Blue Ribbon school has been offering a superior academic education which has developed progressively through the years while preserving and promoting its deep-rooted Catholic traditions of faith and family. Students are encouraged both spiritually and academically. Faith Hope offers a solid curriculum that prepares students for high school and beyond. This includes an executive functioning curriculum as well as a social emotional curriculum, with a strong foundation in academics, moral values and leadership. Average class size is 16.6 with an 8:1 student to staff ratio. Some additional activities include competitive and intramural sports as well as band and drama club. Weekly all school mass, grade-level retreats and active participation in community service enhance the experience for their students. The school also offers an inclusive Pre-K program, enabling students of different needs to grow in the language, social and play skills they need to succeed in school; enriching the lives of all their students. Approximately 350 students.


Solomon Schechter Day School

3210 Dundee Rd.
Northbrook, IL
(847) 498-2100

Kindergarten – 8th grade

Solomon Schechter Day School is an independent Jewish day school that offers a unique combination of general and Judaic studies that imparts a deeply-rooted values system to encourage critical thinking, a love of learning, self-advocacy and a strong sense of identity. The school is supported by a vibrant and involved parent/family community. Enrollment comes from more than 30 different communities in the Chicagoland area and the student/teacher ratio is 8:1. Approximately 475 students.


St. Norbert School

1817 Walters Ave.
Northbrook, IL
(847) 272 – 0051

Preschool – 8th grade

St. Norbert School is an award-winning Catholic school who partners with parents to educate the whole child and to help its students find God in all things through learning, faith and service. While faithful to its Catholic identity, the school’s “think ahead” mission eagerly incorporates progressive educational tools and best practices, and empowers teachers to lead interactive classroom discussions about human values, spirituality, and God to open students’ hearts and minds to ideas and thinking far beyond tests and textbooks. Students leave well prepared and with a strong send of community. Approximately 200 students.


North Shore Country Day

310 Green Bay Rd.
Winnetka, IL
(847) 446-0674

Junior Kindergarten - 12 grade

North Shore Country Day School is known as an academic powerhouse. Its small class size ensures no student falls throw the cracks and that each student gets the personalized attention they need. The school prepares students with a challenging education that requires them “to think critically, communicate effectively and engage fully in their intellectual and personal development.” Their aim is for students to become “self-confident, ethical citizens of the world,” with a strong emphasis on service, diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, participation in interscholastic athletics is required from 6th – to 11th grades. Approximately 530 students.


Northridge Preparatory

8320 Ballard Rd.
Niles, IL
(847) 375-0600

Grades 6 – 12

Northridge is an independent, Catholic all male middle and high preparatory school. It offers a strong liberal arts curriculum with an equally strong focus on personal character formation. Its advisory program pairs each student with a member of the faculty, who, together with his parents, mentors and facilitates his full development (academically, spiritually, physically) both as a student and young adult. Communication and collaboration with parents is abundant and transparent and serves as a cornerstone to the Northridge experience. Students and staff alike are held to a high degree of professionalism and proper etiquette, yet it is a safe environment where students are supported and challenged to take risks and taught to respect each other and give back to their community. Approximately 260 students.


Regina Dominican Catholic High School

701 Locust Rd.
Wilmette, IL
(847) 256-7660

Grades 9 – 12

Regina Dominican is an all girls college preparatory Catholic school that provides a challenging, yet empowering learning environment. Its smaller student population provides more opportunities for students to participate in advanced classes and have more active roles in extra-curricular activities.While the administration strictly enforces rules ands dress codes, students are well supported and encouraged to grow and achieve their best in a diverse atmosphere. The school’s mission is to provide a supportive, spiritually based, educational environment that encourages compassion for others, inspires self-confidence, cultivates curiosity for what the world has to offer and promotes the value of lifelong learning, leadership and friendship. Additionally, Regina Dominican has one of the largest all girls’ athletic program in the state. The school offers 13 competitive sports and interscholastic sport teams include Cheerleading, Cross Country, Golf, Swimming, Tennis, Volleyball, Basketball, Bowling, Fishing, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Track & Field. Approximately 300 students.


Loyola Academy

1100 Laramie Ave.
Wilmette, IL
(847) 256-1100

Grades 9 - 12

Loyola Academy is a very large private, co-educational college preparatory high school in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago. With a strong focus on academics and athletics, as well as a multitude of clubs, students have ample opportunities to explore various interests. The student body is more diverse than most private schools with students coming from all over the Chicagoland area, including the city. The school strives to be the leading Jesuit college preparatory faith and education center in the United States and describes itself as “a diverse and committed community responding to our God-given call to become women and men for others who are religious, intellectually competent, physically fit, loving, open to growth and committed to doing justice.” Approximately 2100 students.


Lake Forest Academy

1500 West Kennedy Rd.
Lake Forest, IL
(847) 615-3210

Grades 9 - 12

Lake Forest Academy fuses rigorous academics, a global outlook and Midwestern values. Fostering a culture of participation, this school, with both day and boarding options, encourages students to meet new challenges with openness and curiosity, and to develop the confidence to stretch beyond comfort zones. All students are encouraged to participate in sports and the arts. At LFA, you’ll find small class sizes, a beautiful yet intimate campus, students from all over the country and an engaging staff (most live on campus with their families) that provides students a unique and challenging experience that extends beyond the classroom. The school focuses on global leadership, and every year conducts an all school symposium on a particular theme or topic. Approximately 430 students.


Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart

760 East Westleigh Rd.
Lake Forest, IL
(847) 234-4300

Grades 9 - 12

Established in 1858, Woodlands Academy is a diverse, all girls independent Catholic day and boarding school. Although a small school, the Academy has global reach. The Academy is a member of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, which spans 41 countries, including 22 schools in the United States, and provides unique educational resources and collaborative opportunities for students and staff to prepare young women to be confident citizens of the world. All Network schools commit to educate to these 5 goals: a personal and active faith in God, a deep respect for intellectual values, a social awareness which impels to action, the building of community as a Christian value, and personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom. Although a small school, a wide selection of courses, athletics and other activities are offered with ample opportunities to take on leadership roles. Additionally, their recently launched Global Odyssey program, provides every Woodlands Academy student with an international experience, either immersive or through a special class, to foster global curiosity and develop global competence. Approximately 145 students.

Rochelle Zell Jewish High School

1095 Lake Cook Rd.
Deerfield, IL
(847) 470-6700

Grades 9 – 12

Previously known as Chicagoland Jewish High School, Rochelle Zell is a relatively know school (established in in 2001) whose founders sought to create a school that combined the very best of humanities, science, fine arts and Jewish studies together. While the school continues to grow, it has already gained national recognition for academic excellence. It has a strong focus on critical thinking that carries over well in its dual curriculum. In addition to academics, the school fosters a vibrant, spirited student life and a tight-knit community where faculty and students support and look out for one another. Despite, its smaller size there are an abundance of clubs and athletics to choose with more being added as warranted. Approximately 170 students.


Private schools for children with different needs:

Hyde Park Day School

1980 Old Willow Rd.
Northfield, IL 60093
(847) 446-7025

Grades 1st – 8th

Hyde Park Day serves bright children with learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and language impairments, to prepare them for successful transitions back to mainstream education. Its goal is to give students the tools and strategies they need to recognize and compensate for their learning challenges and to build up their self-esteem, self-confidence and a genuine interest in learning. A 5:1 student to teacher ratio ensures that each child gets the personal attention and customized program of academic support they need. The school also offers speech, social work executive functioning and occupational therapy for a fully integrated approach. In addition to their full day school program, the school also offers personal tutoring, summer programs and after school activities. Approximately 60 students.


Fusion Academy

Grades 6 – 12

840 S. Waukegan Rd., Ste. 224
Lake Forest, IL
(847) 295-4039

847 Chicago Ave., Suite 200
Evanston, IL
(847) 868-8693

Part of a nationwide network of private schools with more than 30 campuses countrywide, the Fusion Academy serves students who are not thriving in a traditional academic environment. Fusion Academy offers a unique 1:1 teacher/student ratio where the educational experience is completely customized and paced to fit each student’s needs, interests, strengths and challenges. Whether college bound or on a different path, students with various backgrounds including ADHD, accelerated/gifted learners, dyslexia, dysgraphia and learning differences, social and emotional challenges, school anxiety and challenges with schedules have enrolled. Another unique staple is Fusion’s Homework Café – in between class sessions or after the school day, students complete their “homework” in a relaxed and comfortable space. They can obtain teacher assistance or meet with other students, but all homework is completed there to avoid nightly battles, improve the quality of family time and keep students motivated.


Thinking of moving to the North Shore of Chicago?

If you’re new to the area, I’d love to give you my “Tour of the Shore.” I’ll show you the villages, neighborhoods, schools and amenities, so you can decide which community is right for you. Call 847-867-5957 to schedule. Or send me a note here.