Where Learning Has No Boundaries.

Polaris Charter Academy

Where Learning Has No Boundaries.

Polaris Charter Academy

Where Learning Has No Boundaries.

Polaris Charter Academy

Application Process

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Polaris Charter Academy is accepting kindergarten through eighth-grade student applications for the 2023-2024 school year.  Any student who lives within the Chicago city limits is eligible to apply to Polaris Charter Academy regardless of race, ethnicity, language of origin, disabilities, or living situation.  Enrollment is limited to 50 students per grade level.  If grades are fully enrolled, applicants will be placed on our waiting list if a current student transfers. Click here for our full Annual Application and Lottery Procedures

Who are we?

We are Polaris Charter Academy, a dynamic EL Education school on Chicago’s West Side. We exist to support students to become academically successful life-long learners with a strong sense of personal and civic responsibility. With 450 students grades K – 8, Polaris promotes an expanded definition of student achievement, putting both academic excellence and character development equally at the forefront.

We are CREW!

Polaris was founded in 2007 by three Golden Apple Award-winning teachers whose mission was to transform education by creating a school deeply rooted in the best practice of “learning by doing.”  Their partnership with EL Education brought about a rigorous community-based curriculum called “expeditions” (long-term projects), experiential learning methods, and the importance of developing character through a core set of values that we call the Points of Polaris.  Polaris is one of the 33 credentialed EL Education schools and one of 14 EL Mentor Schools in a national network of more than 150 schools that work together with EL Education to challenge students to think critically and take active leadership in their classrooms and community.  We are the only EL school in the City of Chicago.

If your child is eligible to enroll at Polaris, the following criteria will need to be met to complete enrollment:

– Parents/guardians must provide a copy of the student(s) birth  certificate, proof of Chicago residency, and completion of all enrollment forms

– Parents/guardians must be committed to helping their child be successful at Polaris Charter Academy, which includes overseeing the completion of all homework assignments, getting their child to school on time every day in uniform, and helping their child adhere to Polaris Charter Academy rules and policies.

If you are interested in enrolling or transferring to Polaris or have questions regarding the application process, please contact our Director of Community Engagement, Tammy Vance, at 773-534-0820 ext. 804


Apply Online Below!

Polaris Charter Academy  

Annual Application and Lottery Procedures

2023-2024 School Year

Polaris Charter Academy is a free charter public school.  In accordance with federal laws, no student will be denied admission to Polaris Charter Academy based on race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, aptitude, or athletic ability.  The school shall be open to any child eligible under Illinois’s laws for admission to a public school. 


Eligibility – Residency

Polaris Charter Academy is open to any child who resides within the municipal boundaries of the City of Chicago.  All enrollment applications will be subject to residency verification before the student is considered enrolled.  Proof of residency is required during the enrollment process.  Proof of current address includes, but is not limited to and two of the following documents


  • Current utility bill
  • Illinois driver’s license or State of Illinois identification card
  • Passport
  • Other identification cards issued by a federal or state agency
  • A deed or rental agreement
  • MediPlan/Medicaid Card
  • Voter registration card
  • Illinois Department of Public Aid Card
  • Illinois state aid check/social security check


Eligibility – Age

To enroll in Kindergarten, a child must have turned five years old on or before September 1st of that year.  Proof of age can be but is not limited to the following documents.


  • Child’s birth certificate
  • Child’s baptismal record
  • Passport
  • Court document
  • Medical records


Application Process

All students who reside within the city of Chicago are welcome to apply to Polaris Charter Academy.  Applications can be completed online on our website. Paper applications can also be completed and either mailed to our main office or completed in person in our main office.  Polaris begins accepting applications for the following school year on January 1st of each year.  The application window ends on the third Friday in March, and the lottery is held the following Wednesday.  Only applications submitted to the school or postmarked within the application period will be added to the lottery.  Any applications received after the deadline will be added to the waitlist.


Lottery Process

Admissions into Polaris Charter Academy are through a blind lottery process. Polaris will conduct a public lottery if, by the date of the application deadline, there are more eligible applications for enrollment in the school and grade level than there are spaces available.  The application deadline and lottery dates are listed on the application and posted on the Polaris website. 


The only preference given in the Polaris lottery is sibling preference.  Any sibling of an enrolled student will be given preference in the lottery.  The sibling preference also encompasses siblings who enter the lottery in the same year.  If a child’s name is drawn in the lottery and that child has older siblings in the lottery, the older siblings will be given priority on the enrollment list for that grade level.  The siblings will be accepted for enrollment, provided space is available at the appropriate grade level.  If a child is selected through the lottery process, but there are no openings for siblings, the siblings will be placed at the top of the waitlist for admission in accordance with the sibling preference statute in the law.  Siblings are defined as students who share one or more parents/legal guardians.  


The Polaris lottery takes place at school and is open to the public.  The lottery is a random process run by the main office staff.  An independent third party witnesses it, records it, and time/date stamped.   Lottery results will be announced to applicants within 48 hours of the lottery.  Applicants will be notified of results by mail, email, and/or phone call.  Applicants will have 7 days to accept.  Enrollment instructions are included in the notification mailing.


A waitlist will be established as part of the lottery process.  If there are additional openings, students will be enrolled in the order of the waitlist.  The waitlist is determined by the number of applicants for each grade minus the number of available seats and students who have applied after the stated deadline.  Once the initial lottery process has taken place, sibling preference is turned off in the system, and the waitlist is created.  An email and a phone call will be made to parents/guardians advising them of their application status.


Students selected in the initial lottery process have seven days to accept or decline their effort.  Once the deadline to accept or decline the offer has expired, parents/guardians of students on the waitlist will be notified. Waitlisted students have seven days to accept or decline the offer of enrollment.  The offer is rescinded if there is no response within the seven-day time frame.  Extending offers to waitlisted students will continue until all offers are accepted based on availability.  The waitlist is maintained for the entire school year.  If a seat becomes available, the parent will be notified based on the contact information they provided on the application.


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Application Process