Who We Are
Mission: Chicago Jesuit Academy is a loving and academically rigorous tuition-free Catholic elementary school for students and families from resilient communities impacted by historical disinvestment. We accompany our students and alumni from enrollment through the start of their careers as they develop their gifts and grow as men and women for others.
Means: Located in Austin on Chicago’s West Side, CJA admits students to all grades in our lower and middle school without regard for their race, ethnicity or religion, and CJA enrolls 3rd-, 4th- and 5th-grade students without regard for their past levels of academic achievement.
We use small class sizes, extended school days and an 11-month school year to give personal care to our students and help them develop as whole persons.
We accompany our alumni on their unique paths to meaningful employment and support them throughout high school, their post-secondary education and the start of their careers, always welcoming them back as leaders at CJA and in the broader community.
CJA students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, volunteers and benefactors listen to and learn from one another and make disciplined sacrifices to accomplish our shared mission.
We partner with other schools and the broader community to create access to better educational resources, confront systemic racism and remove obstacles to educational equity.
We call one another to find God in all things and be men and women for others who are open to growth, loving, religious, seeking intellectual excellence and committed to doing justice.
In order to qualify for admission to CJA, each student needs to have passed their previous grade and qualify for the free or reduced lunch program or his family must be experiencing an extraordinary financial hardship. CJA seeks to serve students who could not otherwise afford a private education.
Chicago Jesuit Academy serves students regardless of their past academic achievement. CJA has enrolled students spanning the 1st to the 99th percentiles on their standardized basic skills tests at their prior schools.
Nativity Model Schools
In 2005, the Archdiocese of Chicago agreed to partner with the Jesuits in Chicago to create Chicago Jesuit Academy – the sixteenth Jesuit Nativity school in the country – as a demonstration project in urban Catholic education on Chicago’s West Side. Like students at other Jesuit Nativity schools, our students use small classes, extended academic days and an 11-month school year to prepare themselves for success in college prep high schools, colleges and positions of community leadership.
The sixteen Jesuit Nativity model middle schools operate throughout the country in cities including New York, Boston, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Baltimore and Washington, DC. Nativity alumni have earned admission to outstanding universities including Boston College, Brown, Georgetown, Holy Cross, the University of Chicago, Johns Hopkins and Marquette University. Ninety-four percent of Nativity alumni earn their high school degree. Eighty-nine percent of those who earn their high school degree enroll in a college or university. Within the Nativity model, the Jesuits have been able to work in partnership with Catholic dioceses across the country to replicate this innovative model of urban Catholic education.
Like St. Ignatius College Prep, Loyola University Chicago, Loyola Academy and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School before it, Chicago Jesuit Academy educates students in Chicago to be “men and women for others” in the Jesuit tradition. Chicago Jesuit Academy students receive a level of personal care or cura personalis that is the hallmark of Jesuit education.
Students at Chicago Jesuit Academy benefit from a special relationship with Loyola Academy and St. Ignatius College Prep. In addition to hosting CJA students for frequent visits to their campuses and including CJA students in their camps and summer programs, Loyola and St. Ignatius stand ready to support graduates of Chicago Jesuit Academy when they continue their college prep education in high school. This includes commitments by Loyola and St. Ignatius to meet full financial need for any academically qualified graduates of Chicago Jesuit Academy who earn admission to Loyola or St. Ignatius.
For more information about the Jesuits and their commitment to living a faith that does justice in the service of others, please visit: https://www.jesuitsmidwest.org/.