Mind & Spirit

NWQ’s Annual Private School Guide – 2014 Edition


The Rockford area boasts several high-quality private schools that successfully combine college-preparatory academics and the liberal arts, with a focus on individual abilities and strengths, and commitment to development of the whole person. To help with your decisions, we’ve found a few of the best.

Rockford Christian Schools

Rockford Christian Schools

Primary/Intermediate Campus: 220 Hemlock Lane; Jr/Sr High: 1401 Bell School Road, Rockford, (815) 399-3465, rockfordchristian.org

Rockford Christian Schools provide a Christ-centered, college-preparatory education for students prekindergarten (age 3) through grade 12. As the largest independent, non-denominational Christian school in the region, its student body represents nearly 130 area churches and 23 denominations.

It is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International, the North Central Association and the Commission on International and Trans-Regional Accreditation, and is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education.

State-certified faculty members have an average of 15 years of classroom experience, and 37 percent hold advanced degrees.

“Rockford Christian has a committed and caring group of teachers that want to make a difference in the lives of their students,” says Randy Taylor, superintendent. “Each one seeks to educate in body, soul, mind and spirit.”

Rockford Christian students routinely score well above grade level: primary and intermediate, two to three levels above; middle schoolers, three to five above; and high schoolers test at post-high school levels in most learning disciplines. The average Rockford Christian Honors ACT score is 28.3 – well above both state and national averages. Of its graduates, 99 percent attend college.

Rockford Christian curriculum includes a college preparatory program, gifted enrichment and honors programs, 15 Advanced Placement courses, dual-credit college courses, and many academic and extracurricular clubs and organizations. The school recently added Mandarin Chinese to its foreign language program.

Students have access to cutting-edge tools, with a state-of-the-art Science and Technology Center; a distance learning auditorium; five computer labs and five science labs, including a special “dirty” lab for large-project construction and robotics; and integrated technology and SMART Boards in all classrooms.
The school also boasts two libraries, three art studios, a performance stage, three gymnasiums, a lighted football stadium and soccer field, an eight-lane all-weather track, a full-service weight training facility, and baseball and softball fields.

Rockford Christian faculty and staff partner with students and their families in the educational process. “Parents make a huge impact on our team-oriented environment,” says Taylor. “From the classroom to the playground, parents are on the scene.”

Rockford Christian teaches that biblical truths guide behavior and decision-making. Students take part in daily Bible classes and prayer time and attend weekly chapel, and they practice real-world applications of their spiritual lessons through community service projects, yearly mission trips and other service programs.

Through Biblical integration in its Christ-centered academics and activities, Rockford Christian prepares students for responsibility to themselves, others and their community.


Boylan Catholic High School

Boylan Catholic High School

4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford, (815) 877-0531, boylan.org

Boylan Catholic High School is a comprehensive, co-educational diocesan high school in the Diocese of Rockford. Boylan’s curriculum provides individualized programs based on each student’s abilities. Three challenge levels – honors, academic and general – ensure that every student is properly placed academically.

For the 2014-2015 school year, 18 Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered. In 2013, Boylan students took 384 tests covering 19 subject areas; 79 percent qualified for AP or college credit. ACT scores for Boylan students in 2013 averaged 24.3, higher than both the state and national averages. Students of the Boylan Class of 2013 were awarded nearly $13 million in college scholarships; 92 percent have gone on to post-secondary education.

Boylan is accredited by North Central Association and recognized by the Illinois State Office of Education. Of its faculty, 69 percent hold master’s degrees or above; two members are Golden Apple recipients. Boylan is the only high school in Northwestern Illinois to receive three U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards, the highest award for an American high school. In 2005 and 2006, Boylan was named one of the Top 50 Catholic High Schools in the U.S.

On Boylan’s 60-acre campus, the main building houses traditional classrooms, three PC labs, a Mac lab, a CAD lab and a portable iPad lab, as well as a foods lab, a clothing lab, and a chapel. The Arts and Science Complex contains eight science labs, two art studios with kilns, vocal and instrumental music rooms, a 768 seat auditorium, a 175-seat lecture hall and two gymnasiums.

Support services are provided to Boylan students through Natural Helpers, Boylan Wellness Program, Red Ribbon Program, Counselors, and the Academic Support Center. Participating parish subsidies and the school’s Annual Fund provide all families with financial assistance. Additionally, registered families may apply for the need-based Tuition Assistance Program and the Student Work Program.

Boylan offers 24 interscholastic junior varsity and varsity sports, and 28 extra-curricular activities that include foreign language, scholastic and service clubs, theater/music and special interest groups.
Community service is also a tradition at Boylan. All students complete a service requirement before graduating. Students assist others through the Christmas food basket drive, the Haitian Project, and a multitude of community-based service agencies. They also provide educational opportunities for their peers by participating in the annual Speed McCoy Scholarship fundraiser.

Boylan Catholic considers the spiritual growth of each student to be a priority. Faculty and staff embrace and live out Christian values, empowering students to be a positive influence in the world. Essential elements of the spiritual program include the four-year retreat program, formal Theology course work, regular participation in Mass and the sacraments, and the Christian Service Program.

In a community of care, vigilance and challenge, Boylan students discover what it means to be women and men of faith, honor and integrity.


Allegro Academy

Allegro Academy

6413 Forest Hills Road, Rockford, (815) 877-1489, allegroacademy.org

Allegro Academy is a non-denominational Christian school and childcare center that has been providing educational service to the Rockford area for more than 30 years. It is recognized PreK through 8th grade by the Illinois State Board of Education.

“We tailor the educational experience to the child, to accommodate individual learning styles,” says JeanMarie McCormack, principal. “We are passionate about children progressing according to their abilities and not merely age. Each child is assessed and allowed to run on his or her strengths in language arts and mathematics.”

The Allegro philosophy holds that each child is a unique creation of God, blessed with a special set of talents and gifts, and deserves to approach life with a sense of self-worth, respect for others, and a sense of his or her own personal relationship with God.

“Students are given multiple opportunities to explore all of their God-given talents,” says McCormack.
By setting high expectations and allowing students to progress at their own pace, Allegro creates young scholars who are excited about learning. “Our students often progress faster,” says McCormack. “Our kindergarten reads at a second grade level. More than half of our students test two grade levels ahead of their age group.”

Allegro offers a unique combination of progressive and advanced academics and fine arts. Programs include visual arts, music, theatre, accelerated/gifted programs, athletics, after-school programs, clubs and extracurricular activities. Facilities include a science lab, gymnasium, dance studio and music room.

“What sets us apart is the way we’ve integrated fine arts instruction for all students,” says McCormack. “We offer movement and music, art, piano, tap and ballet, and Bible curriculum taught throughout the week, starting at age 4. We offer a classical education that is committed to teaching fine arts and facilitating academic mastery.”

Allegro’s hands-on learning experiences include hi-tech, from computer-integrated classrooms to SMART Boards. “We’re small, which allows us to be versatile and stay on top of current trends and technology,” says McCormack. “Students learn on iPads and laptops. Piano is taught to an entire classroom via use of electronic keyboard pads. WiFi is available throughout the facility.”

Also on-site is the Allegro Learning Center, a DCFS licensed daycare facility for children ages six weeks to five years. It includes six classrooms and three fenced play areas.

A Christian perspective is part of the academic program, including daily prayer, Friday chapel, and Bible curriculum taught four days of the week.

“We help parents to give their children a safe, enticing learning environment where their children develop to their personal level of academic, moral and artistic excellence,” says McCormack.


Rockford Lutheran Schools

Rockford Lutheran Schools

3411 N. Alpine Road, Rockford, (815) 877-9551, rockfordlutheran.org

Rockford Lutheran Schools have been providing quality education in a Christ-centered environment for more than 45 years. Whether at the Academy for grades PreK through fifth, or at the Jr./Sr. High for grades six through 12, students of all backgrounds are challenged both academically and spiritually and encouraged to perform to their potential.

Rockford Lutheran is a member of the National Lutheran School Accreditation, accredited by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges and certified by the State of Illinois. Instructors have an average of 15 years’ classroom experience, and nearly 25 percent hold advanced degrees.

The Academy has a complete computer lab with networked system, advanced rooms with SMART Boards and Elmo systems, a gymnasium and a library. It offers programs in foreign language, art and music, including orchestra. All Academy staff is certified in Gifted Training. In Summer 2012, Academy building renovations included the addition of a media center, as well as all-new flooring, fresh paint and electrical updates.

Rockford Lutheran Junior/Senior High School has three computer labs, more than 30 networked classrooms with complete video presentation and/or interactive whiteboard capabilities, three gymnasiums, extensive science labs, lighted athletic fields and a total fitness facility, as well as a large music room and complete art studio.

Academic programs at Rockford Lutheran provide strong collegiate preparation, offering AP testing as well as college credit courses on campus, and 97 percent of graduates go on to post-secondary institutions. In 2012, Rockford Lutheran graduates averaged well above both state and national averages on their ACTs, and 13 were named Illinois State Scholars.

Clubs and organizations such as Arts Club, Model UN, Eco Club and Student Council provide opportunities for students to grow and develop in areas outside of the classroom. Drama, art, band and choir, three annual theater productions and numerous art and music competitions balance an extensive athletic program that boasts more 2012 IHSA trophies than any other stateline-area school. Affiliations with Kiwanis provide service activities at all grade levels, supplementing an extensive Christian Service program.

While Rockford Lutheran is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, fully half of its student body comes from other faiths. Faculty and staff are deliberate in creating an environment where all students are able to excel academically, athletically, artistically and spiritually.

With challenging college preparatory academics, strong arts programs and varied athletic and extracurricular activities, Rockford Lutheran Schools prepare students to become the leaders of tomorrow, in a nurturing and inspiring Christian environment.


Christian Life Schools

Christian Life Schools

5950 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 877-2600, clschools.org

At Christian Life Schools, faculty, staff and parents are committed to providing a quality education while cultivating an atmosphere where Christian principles are taught, modeled and encouraged. It is an environment that provides a sense of security, constancy and spiritual relevance.

Christian Life has a strong history of excellent curriculum, caring faculty, competitive sports and exceptional learning environments, Christ-centered faith and students that continually test well beyond their grade levels.

The diverse student body comes from more than 140 different churches and 36 denominations. At Christian Life Schools, 100 percent of graduates attend college.

The school is accredited by the Association of Christian Schools International and the North Central Association, and is recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education.

The Christian Life campus accommodates all grades at one location. Technology-integrated education programs featuring Apple iPads are offered for PreK-12th grades, with 1:1 ratio at the middle school.

Thousands of square feet of academic space include six technology labs, computers and iPads in each classroom and an Apple Computer Graphics art lab. There are two gymnasiums, a weight room, and labs for life science, physics, chemistry and language. Of the faculty, 20 percent have master’s degrees and an average of 14 years’ experience.

Academic offerings include AP, Honors classes and dual-credit college courses. Along with athletics, students can participate in Student Government, National Honor Society, Key Club, International Club and Writer’s Club and perform in concert band, jazz band, choir and Limited Edition Select Choir.

The elementary, middle and high schools each put on a spring musical. Trips abroad, community outreach programs and fall retreats are offered in both middle school and high school. All students attend powerful weekly chapel services, and during Spiritual Emphasis Week, they hear motivational speakers offering relevant Biblical lessons.

The Christian Life philosophy is that education must be a cooperative effort between schools and parents, so that learning can take place outside as well as inside the classroom.

The rigorous college-preparatory academics are complemented with strong spiritual training and promotion of a positive self-image. All subjects are taught to prepare students to grow into responsible adult citizens of the world and God’s kingdom.


Eye Level Learning Center

Eye Level Learning Center

4166 N. Perryville Road, Loves Park, Ill.

Eye Level is a highly effective after school enrichment program in Math, Reading and Writing, designed to expand students’ perspectives by encouraging them to become self-motivated, independent and proactive learners.

It begins with the concept that instructors must see the world from the student’s eye level. By understanding learning needs and goals as the child sees them, the instructor can set appropriate goals and a curriculum to attain them, one successful step at a time.

Eye Level allows each child to become the key to his or her success. With ongoing guidance from instructors, each student sets attainable goals and learns at a pace agreed upon by the student, his or her parents and instructor.

Eye Level programs reinforce and enhance school curriculum by adhering to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These are sets of state-led educational standards that define learning expectations in language arts and mathematics for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The English and Math programs are based on U.S. Department of Education curriculum standards, and are recognized by both the National Council of Teachers in Mathematics and the National Council of Teachers in English.

Eye Level’s distinctive curriculum covers topics in the CCSS, emphasizing both basic skills and complex applications in critical thinking and problem solving. Eye Level helps students to become more self-confident in their abilities and self-motivated in their efforts to succeed, both in school and areas outside of academics.

The ultimate goal of Eye Level is to create critical thinkers, problem solvers and lifelong learners, who are empowered to excel, at every level of formal education and beyond.

Eye Level of Rockford Learning Center has helped countless area students to excel academically and earn higher test scores. Says one of many happy parents: “The quality of instruction at the Rockford location is outstanding. Our children look forward to going there to learn. They are highly committed to the development of our children.”

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