Catholic, Independent Elementary Schools Serving Chicago's Children Since 1876

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Frequently Asked Questions: SK-8

Below are some of the questions we often hear from prospective parents. If you have a question, we encourage you to email our Admissions Office or call us at (773) 681-8418.

How diverse is Sacred Heart's student and parent community?

  • We welcome families of all faiths. 30-40% of our students are from Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist families.
  • 30% of our students are children of color.
  • 20% of our students enroll with the support of tuition assistance.
  • Parents and students hail from 30 different countries and 20 different languages are spoken in our students' homes.

What is a Catholic, independent school?

Sacred Heart is a Catholic, but not a parish school. We are financially independent of the Archdiocese and governed by an independent Board of Trustees. With the blessing of the Archdiocese, we offer sacramental preparation for our Catholic students, but are free to chart our own course in terms of academics and curriculum.

Sacred Heart is also an independent school, receiving our academic accreditation from the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), the regional arm of the National Association of Independent Schools. Independent schools are known for rigorous accreditation standards, expansive and challenging academic programs, a focus on faculty professional development and best practice, and low student/teacher ratios that ensure students receive personal attention and feel known and valued by their school community.

As a Catholic, independent school, Sacred Heart guides our students toward lives of purpose and meaning through an education that harnesses the power of both their minds and their hearts.

Where do your students attend high school?

Sacred Heart's graduates have an enviable track record of admission into the area's finest high schools. Approximately 95% of Sacred Heart eighth graders are accepted by their first-choice high school, including Jesuit, independent and CPS selective enrollment high schools. Our High School Placement Counselor assists students and families through every step of the admissions process, focusing on identifying the best program for each student.

Do you accept new students into 8th grade?

Students graduate from Sacred Heart at the close of 8th grade, so we are especially thoughtful in admitting new students at this level. New students who are accepted are most often from families moving to the Chicago area. Students transferring from other Sacred Heart Network schools are often strong candidates. Families wishing to apply for eighth grade must obtain a waiver from the Admissions Office.

I've heard that Sacred Heart is opening a preschool in September 2019. My family is already committed to another preschool, but we hope to join Sacred Heart when our child is ready for senior kindergarten. Will there still be room for us?

  • Yes! Senior kindergarten brings together children from both our JK and other excellent preschools across Chicago. Located on our SK-8 campus, senior kindergarten expands to enroll 80 students in five SK sections. With additional spaces available for new students, senior kindergarten is Sacred Heart’s primary entrance point. All families are warmly welcomed into our admissions process, whether or not they have attended our junior kindergarten.
  • If you are interested in Sacred Heart for SK, be sure to explore our option for Early Decision. We anticipate SK will initially be filled through a combination of children applying via Early Decision and children moving up from our JK program.

What do you look for when you assess preschool-age children?

We look for a range of development appropriate to each child’s age. While the assessment includes activities gauging literacy development and number awareness, it also includes movement, drawing, playing with puzzles, and building with blocks. We also love to just talk with children about their families, their schools and their favorite things! Preschoolers exhibit a range of skills. Two children of the same age can present different combinations of abilities, and both can be completely on track developmentally.

What we hope to discover in our meetings with children is that they are growing in ways that will allow them to enter Sacred Heart ready to engage and flourish.

Who actually makes the admissions decision?

The Admissions Office is responsible for gathering information about each applicant and family and presenting a completed applicant file to the Admissions Committee. The Admissions Committee — comprised of the Director of Admissions, the relevant Division Head and selected faculty —reviews each applicant file and makes a recommendation to the Head of Schools regarding admission. The final authority to admit or deny an applicant rests solely with the Head of Schools.

Are siblings or legacies given preference for admission?

Sacred Heart is firmly committed to our school families, and siblings, as well as children of Sacred Heart employees, are given preference for admission. Children and grandchildren of alumnae/i also receive careful consideration for admission, although acceptance is not automatic for any applicant. All applicants, regardless of affiliation, must qualify for admission.

How are grades factored into the admissions decision for older students?

The Admissions Committee believes in looking at applicants holistically and evaluates multiple factors for admission. However, report cards play an important role, especially for children looking to enter upper grades. Successful candidates typically come to Sacred Heart with an above-average to excellent academic record. An interested family with concerns about their child’s report card should always feel free to call the Director of Admissions for a confidential conversation prior to application.