• Update From CICS - 4.1.20

    Dear CICS families, 

    As you’ve likely heard, Governor Pritzker has extended Illinois’ Stay-at-Home Order through April 30, which also means that schools will continue with remote learning through at least the end of this month. If you haven't responded already, please complete your school’s device needs survey. The entire CICS team remains committed to our students and our families throughout this time so please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know if there is any additional support we can provide.

    Housing Resources for Families - Apply by TONIGHT
    If you are experiencing temporary financial hardships due to COVID-19, financial help is available, but you need to apply by TONIGHT. Last week, the City of Chicago Department of Housing announced the creation of the COVID-19 Housing Assistance Grant program to support Chicagoans experiencing housing instability. The fund will award 2,000 grants of $1,000 each to Chicagoans. Chicago residents experiencing temporary financial hardships due to COVID-19 can apply online or over the phone through community-based organizations before TONIGHT, Wednesday, April 1, at 11:59 p.m. Applicants will be required to demonstrate their economic challenges by showing a recent unemployment insurance claim or notification of employment status change (i.e. hour or pay reduction) as well as proof of household income at or below 60% of the area median income prior to employment changes.

    CICS Now Offering Hot Meals for Pickup
    We are pleased to share that CICS continues to provide breakfasts and lunches for pickup at all CICS elementary schools and will continue to do so throughout school closure, including during Spring Break. To increase variety, meal offerings have now been expanded to feature pre-cooked, warm-at-home hot options. Drive-through pickup is available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday at all CICS elementary schools or at most CPS schools from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you are unable to travel to these sites, CPS also offers home delivery for families. Contact (773) 553-5437 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for additional info.

    CICS Family Relief Fund
    In response to COVID-19, we have launched the CICS Family Relief Fund to provide resources for students and families across our 14 campuses.  These resources range from basic family needs to technology and art supplies. Please encourage interested families to request relief here. 

    CICS Spring Break -- April 6 through April 10
    A reminder that next week is CICS’ Spring Break for both students and teachers, which means that schools will not be offering remote distance learning. Need help thinking of something to do? Here are 250 activity ideas for kids of all ages!

    I am wishing safety and good health to each of you. 



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  • School closure extended through April 20

    Dear CICS families, 

     Minutes ago, Mayor Lightfoot announced that all CPS schools will remain closed through April 20. Given the necessity of this action to protect the health and well-being of our students, families and communities, CICS will follow suit. Please note that our previously scheduled Spring Break from April 6 through April 10 will continue as planned and we will not provide teacher-directed instruction during that week. We will follow up with more details and guidance as we learn more, but please know that we are committed to supporting our students throughout this extended closure.

    These are unprecedented times and I urge you to please stay informed and take care of yourselves, as we will all be in this for what feels like a very long haul. 

    Take care, 



    [Spanish Translation]

    Asunto:  Cierre de la escuela extendido hasta el 20 de abril.

    Estimadas familias de CICS:

    Hace solo unos minutos, el alcalde Lightfoot anuncio que todas las escuelas de CPS permanecerán cerradas hasta el 20 de abril. Dada la necesidad de esta acción para proteger la salud y el bienestar de nuestros estudiantes, familias y comunidades, CICS hará lo mismo. Tenga en cuenta que nuestras vacaciones de primavera programadas previamente del 6 al 10 de abril continuarán según lo planeado y no proporcionaremos instrucción durante esa semana. Seguiremos con más detalles y orientación a medida que aprendamos más, pero tenga en cuenta que estamos comprometidos a apoyar a nuestros estudiantes durante este cierre prolongado.

    Estos son tiempos sin precedentes y les insto a que se mantengan informados y se cuiden, ya que todos estaremos en esto por lo que parece ser un viaje muy largo.



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  • Meal pickup and additional resources during school closure

    March 15, 2020

    Dear CICS families,

    I am writing to follow up with additional details regarding access to student meals during the school closure, as well as provide information from the Chicago Parks District on additional resources for families needing childcare options.

    In partnership with our food service provider, Aramark, CICS will have free ‘grab and go’ lunch + breakfast for the following day available for pickup 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily for every child under age 18 in your household. There is no student ID or proof of address required to receive these meals. All meals will be distributed outside of the school building by food service staff; no students or family members will be permitted to enter the building.

    Monday, March 16

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Location: All CICS campuses (NOTE: You can go to whichever CICS campus is most convenient for you; you do not need to pick up meals from the campus you attend. Go to for a map and complete list of CICS campuses.)

    Tuesday, March 17 through March 30

    Time: 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

    Location: All CICS elementary schools. See below for addresses and pickup locations. (NOTE: For families with high school students, the list below indicates which elementary school is the closest pickup.)

    Beginning Tuesday, March 17, you may also visit any CPS school from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. if it’s more convenient. CPS will provide free food boxes that contain three days of breakfasts and lunches for every student in the household. There is no student ID or proof of address required to receive these meals. Go to find your nearest CPS school.

    CICS Meal Pickup Locations weekdays beginning Tuesday, March 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    Should school closure extend beyond March 30, we will share updated guidance for meal pickup. We hope these meal pickup options help alleviate some of the burden that school closure places on our families. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 312-651-5000 if you have questions about meal pickup throughout the closure.

    Chicago Park District Resources for Childcare

    While we encourage everyone to stay home during the school closure, we recognize that the reality of our working families may not make that possible for everyone. Please see the note below from the Chicago Park District regarding keeping their facilities open for families: 

    The Chicago Department of Public Health advises everyone to stay home. If that is not an option, all Chicago parks and park fieldhouses, with the exception of our smallest facilities and CPS school parks, will remain open during normal operating hours for basic needs (i.e. washrooms and shelter).

    In response to Chicago schools closing, the District will provide enhanced programming at 18 designated parks (see map below for exact locations). Families in need of these services can expect age-appropriate activities for students. It is important to note, the District must limit capacity at each location to 250 in order to combat the community spread of COVID-19. 

    We will continue to share information and resources with our families as it becomes available, and will post the most updated information on our website at If you have questions or need additional support, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call our main office at 312-651-5000. You will receive a response within 24 hours.

    Thank you,

    Elizabeth Shaw


    Chicago International Charter School

     Meal pickup and additional resources during school closure_Spanish Translation


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  • Closing All CICS Schools: March 16 through March 30

    March 13, 2020

    Dear CICS Families, 

    We have appreciated your support, feedback and patience over the last two weeks as we have worked together to navigate the uncertainty and disruption caused by COVID-19. In alignment with Governor Pritzker’s mandate to close all Illinois schools and under the guidance of public health officials, CICS will close all of our schools beginning on March 16 through at least March 30, with the possibility of a longer closure, depending on the circumstances at the end of the month. 

    Please know that this is not a decision that we have taken lightly, but one that we have made to put the health and well-being of our students, families, staff and communities at the forefront. We understand that the next two weeks, and possibly longer, will be difficult and, in partnership with Distinctive Schools, Civitas Education Partners and ReGeneration Schools, CICS plans to support our students and families in every way that we can. We recognize the incredible burden this puts on our families, and that, while it helps us mitigate the spread of the virus, it creates other significant challenges. Thank you for understanding that this decision was made to support the well-being of our community. 

    CICS and our SMO partners are committed to supporting our students’ continued learning throughout the closure. On Monday, school leadership teams and office staff will be at each CICS campus to distribute virtual learning materials to families that did not receive them on Friday. Individual campuses will communicate instructions for the distribution of these materials to their families no later than Sunday at noon. We are actively working with CPS and our food service provider to determine the method for the distribution of meals for our students throughout the closure. Where possible, we sent students home today with breakfast items for Monday morning in case of a potential closure. We are also working with CPS to create a list of community supports for child care, as we know this closure creates a burden on our families. We will follow up no later than the end of day on Monday with more information about these resources. 

    Throughout the closure, we will communicate with our parents and guardians via email on a weekly basis, or more frequently as needed and we will share updates via the CICS website,

    For the most reliable and up-to-date information, please visit or If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CDPH Coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may also reach out to the CICS COVID-19 Response Team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or CICS Main Office by phone at 312-651-5000.  

    Please know that our CICS team is here to provide resources and support to you and your child throughout this challenging situation. During times like these, we commit to coming together to take care of every member of the CICS community.




    Elizabeth Shaw


    Chicago International Charter School


    Closing All CICS Schools: March 16 through March 30_pdf

    Closing All CICS Schools: March 16 through March 30_Spanish_pdf

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Follow CICS

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    CICS launched its Family Relief Fund which provides support to its students, families and educators during this time in need. Please show your support by making a donation and encourage others to do the same! To make a donation, please visit:…

Press Releases


Media Center Inquiries:

Luis Sanchez
Director of Communications & Public Affairs
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Video Releases

  • CICS: ChicagoRise (Lloyd Bond) Innovation Spotlight Video

    In honor of Black History Month, CICS is highlighting the latest Innovation Spotlight video showcasing ChicagoRise-the bold school model integrating identity-affirming pedagogy with a rigorous intentional curriculum.

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  • CICS-ChicagoQuest, Civitas Community Impact Experience Innovation Spotlight Video

    Our students are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, designers and civic leaders, and they need opportunities to develop and exercise their skills and knowledge through problems in real-world situations and circumstances.

    At CICS ChicagoQuest, seniors are in a 6-10 week long project, the Civitas Community Impact Experience (CCIE), that addresses authentic issues, tasks, and topics proposed by sponsors and community partners. Students earn high school credit and may also have opportunities to pursue professional certifications.

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  • CICS Boy's Lab Innovation Spotlight Video

    Innovation. Empowerment and Academic Achievement.  
    At CICS-Boy's Lab, a unique three-year cohort learning experience for boys, we know what it takes to enhance our scholars’ education.
    Check out the latest Innovation Spotlight video that showcases the unique approach to learning and the top quality faculty makes Boy's Lab more than just a physical school - it’s a life experience.

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  • iHeartRadio interviews Dr. Kenyatta Starks

    iHeartRadio interviews Dr. Kenyatta Starks, Co-Founder of Empowered Schools, discussing why rising 9th graders should apply and rank CICS Longwood #1 on their GoCPS application!

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CICS Documents

Chicago International Charter Schools: Frequently Asked Questions
CICS Our Network One Pager
Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program Information
CICS Longwood

CICS External Newsletter

  • Online Application
  • CICS Network Staff Hub
  • FAQs
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Chicago International Charter School

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