Top Largest School Districts In Chicago

Top Largest School Districts In Chicago

Chicago boasts some of the largest school districts in the nation, providing educational opportunities for a diverse population of students. From magnet schools to charter schools, there is a wide range of options for students to explore and excel in.

With such a varied student body, Chicago schools are able to offer unique programs and resources to meet the needs of all learners. This diversity not only enriches the educational experience for students but also fosters a sense of community and understanding among the city’s residents. Chicago truly stands out as a hub for education and innovation in the United States.

Largest School Districts In Chicago

Let’s delve into the top largest school districts in Chicago, each playing a significant role in shaping the educational experiences of thousands of students.

1. Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third-largest school district in the United States, serving over 340,000 students across more than 600 schools. With a diverse student body representing various cultural backgrounds, CPS is committed to providing equitable educational opportunities for all learners.

Noteworthy Features:

  • CPS offers a wide range of academic programs, including magnet schools, selective enrollment schools, and career academies, catering to diverse student interests and talents.
  • The district focuses on initiatives to improve student outcomes, such as the implementation of personalized learning approaches and increased access to advanced placement courses.
  • CPS actively engages with parents, community organizations, and stakeholders to foster collaboration and support student success.

2. Township High School District 211

Township High School District 211 serves several suburban communities northwest of Chicago, including Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, and Palatine. With an enrollment exceeding 20,000 students, it ranks among the largest high school districts in Illinois.

Noteworthy Features:

  • District 211 comprises five high schools, each offering comprehensive academic programs, extracurricular activities, and support services to meet the diverse needs of its student population.
  • The district emphasizes college and career readiness, providing students with opportunities for advanced coursework, vocational training, and partnerships with local businesses and universities.
  • District 211 prioritizes technology integration in education, equipping classrooms with modern tools and resources to enhance teaching and learning experiences.

3. Naperville Community Unit School District 203

Naperville Community Unit School District 203, located in the western suburbs of Chicago, serves the city of Naperville and surrounding areas. With a student enrollment exceeding 16,000, it stands as one of the largest and most respected school districts in Illinois.

Noteworthy Features:

  • District 203 is known for its academic excellence, with consistently high student achievement scores and a strong emphasis on rigorous curriculum standards.
  • The district places a significant emphasis on innovation and personalized learning, leveraging technology and research-based instructional practices to meet the diverse needs of its students.
  • District 203 fosters a supportive and inclusive school culture, promoting social-emotional learning, cultural competence, and community engagement initiatives.

4. Elgin School District U-46

Elgin School District U-46 serves the communities of Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, and surrounding areas in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. With over 38,000 students enrolled in its schools, it ranks as one of the largest school districts in Illinois.

Noteworthy Features:

  • District U-46 offers a wide array of academic programs, including dual-language immersion, gifted education, and career and technical education pathways, to meet the diverse needs and interests of its student population.
  • The district is committed to equity and inclusion, implementing initiatives to address achievement gaps and provide all students with access to high-quality educational experiences.
  • District U-46 prioritizes collaboration and partnerships with families, community organizations, and local businesses to support student success and enhance the overall educational experience.

5. Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools

As one of the largest private school systems in the nation, the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools network encompasses over 200 schools serving tens of thousands of students. Rooted in Catholic values and teachings, these schools offer a holistic approach to education, emphasizing academic excellence alongside spiritual and moral development.


6. City Colleges of Chicago

For those pursuing higher education or vocational training, the City Colleges of Chicago provide a comprehensive array of programs designed to prepare students for success in their chosen fields. With seven campuses spread across the city, the City Colleges offer affordable pathways to degrees and certificates in various disciplines, from healthcare and technology to business and the arts.


7. Noble Network of Charter Schools

Dedicated to closing the achievement gap and preparing students from underserved communities for college success, the Noble Network of Charter Schools operates a network of high-performing charter schools across Chicago. With a focus on rigorous academics, character development, and college readiness, Noble schools boast impressive graduation and college acceptance rates.


8. UNO Charter School Network

Another prominent player in Chicago’s charter school landscape is the UNO Charter School Network, serving thousands of students across multiple campuses. With a mission to provide high-quality, college-preparatory education to students of all backgrounds, UNO schools prioritize academic excellence, personalized learning, and community engagement.


9. Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)

Focused on transforming underperforming schools and driving educational innovation, the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) manages a network of schools in partnership with Chicago Public Schools. Through intensive professional development, coaching, and support, AUSL equips educators with the tools and strategies needed to improve student outcomes. 


10. Chicago International Charter School (CICS)

Rounding out our list is the Chicago International Charter School (CICS), a network of diverse, tuition-free charter schools serving students from kindergarten through high school. With a focus on academic rigor, cultural diversity, and community engagement, CICS schools prepare students to succeed in a global society.

Through innovative teaching methods, personalized learning plans, and partnerships with leading organizations, CICS equips students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in college and beyond.


From the urban setting of Chicago Public Schools to the suburban districts, these institutions are committed to providing students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to thrive in an ever-changing world. These may not be all, but these are the largest school districts in Chicago.


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