students in the field


“At Elgin Academy, my son learned to be in charge of his learning under the guidance of a great faculty, and he grew into a responsible and autonomous learner.”


“Students are allowed to make up their minds and engage in discussions that get them to think deeply about concepts. This environment improves learning, develops communication skills, and increases self-confidence. Because of all of these factors, my son does not shy away in trying new opportunities presented to him.”

Independent Thinking

“Elgin Academy fosters independent thinking skills in the classrooms and the capacity to continue to learn for life.”

Independent School Advantage


Elgin Academy is an independent school, not a private school.

What it means to be an independent school:

Independent schools are independent in philosophy: each is driven by a unique mission.

Independent schools offer a transformative educational experience that empowers students by instilling traits or characteristics that open up future possibilities for students.

Independent schools are non-profit schools without ties to any public, parochial, or commercial entity.

Independent schools are governed by an independent board of trustees and each is primarily supported through tuition payments, charitable contributions, and endowment revenue.

Independent schools in Illinois are accountable to their families and are accredited by the Independent School Association of Central States (ISACS), a regional association of like schools.

Elgin Academy is unique in Chicago’s northwest suburbs:

We are the only preschool through twelfth-grade independent school in the area.

Other non-public (private) schools in the area are faith-based schools, or they are schools whose primary focus is to graduate students to the next academic or artistic level. We provide students with a transformative educational experience while moving them to the next academic level.

We are a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) – the national organization that sets standards and oversees private schools nationwide.

Other independent schools--and fellow NAIS member schools--are located in the Chicago Metro area. They are Francis W. Parker School, Latin School, Morgan Park, North Shore Country Day School, University of Chicago Lab School, and Woodlands Academy.

Elgin Academy and the above NAIS schools are members of the Independent School League Athletic Conference.

Like other Chicagoland NAIS schools, Elgin Academy is accredited by the Independent School Association of Central States (ISACS).

MS Students working together

Why choose an Independent school for your child?

Independent schools are independent in the truest sense of the word.

  • Teachers have the freedom to create educational experiences that meet each child’s needs, without state mandates on curriculum, textbooks, and testing.

Independent schools have high academic standards and nurture intellectual curiosity, stimulate personal growth, encourage critical thinking, and promote a lifelong love of learning.

  • More students in independent schools enroll in advanced courses than in public, parochial, and other private schools.

Small classes in independent schools allow for individual attention. Low student-teacher ratios encourage close connections between instructors and students.

  • The median ratio in NAIS schools, according to recent statistics, was 8.6 students to each teacher.

Independent school teachers usually teach in their areas of expertise. They strive to develop a full understanding of each student’s learning style, interests, and motivation.

  • Graduates of independent schools have a greater likelihood of completing a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree.
Students on trip week

In addition to academics, independent schools also nurture students’ personal and social growth and civic conscience.

  • Outside the classroom, students participate in school-sponsored athletic competitions, artistic pursuits, and leadership experiences.

Independent schools foster diverse and vibrant student communities that welcome and respect every family.

  • Students of color were 26 percent of independent school enrollment, while 3.2 percent of students were from other countries, according to 2015-2016 statistics.

In an independent school, a community of parents actively participate in their children’s education. Independent schools promote regular communication among students, parents, and teachers to ensure everyone is working toward the same goals.

  • As a parent, you can actively engage in your student’s education, because the staff and teachers want and value your participation.