Nonpublic Elementary and Secondary School Recognition
The School Code (105 ILCS 5/2-3.25o) requires ISBE to “provide for the voluntary registration and recognition of nonpublic elementary and secondary schools.” (A nonpublic school is ”any non-profit, non-home-based, and nonpublic elementary or secondary school that is in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and attendance at which satisfies the requirements” of 105 ILCS 5/26-1 of the Code.)
This program also includes the approval of ethnic language schools and nonpublic drivers education programs.
Detailed information about the program has been organized below in the form of questions and answers. Most of the answers contain links to forms and documents that are a part of this program. Before becoming a recognized nonpublic school, however, a school must have been registered at least for the school year preceding the recognition application. The program for nonpublic school registration is housed in the Data Analysis Division.
What's New? (12/8/14)
1. What nonpublic schools are currently recognized?
Below are links to lists that supply this information in two ways: alphabetical first by county name and then by school name for each county or alphabetical by school name. More than one year of data is supplied, so one will want to select both the desired year and the desired alphabetical list.
- Directory of Recognized Schools
2. What are some benefits of being a recognized nonpublic school?
- Assurance that the school's educational program has been approved by ISBE and meets at least minimum state requirements.
- Required for student entrance in many colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions and training programs.
- Requirement for school membership in the Illinois High School Association and for student participation in Illinois Elementary School Association sanctioned sports, contests, tournaments, etc.
- Required for student acceptance/assignment to most military training programs.
- Required for students taking licensing examinations in fields covered under the Illinois Nursing Act.
- Required for partial cancellation of National Defense Education Act student loans.
- Required for student teachers
- Often required for placement on a salary schedule when nonpublic teachers transfer to other schools.
- Student transfers are expedited and credits are more-readily accepted by other schools.
3. Besides the School Code, what else governs this program?
- While there are some specific requirements noted in the Code language, the details of the program are found in the administrative rules (23 Illinois Administrative Code Part 425).
- Please note that while some nonpublic schools have affiliations, such as to a Catholic Archdiocese, requirements due to these affiliations are in addition to, and not in place of, state requirements.
4. What steps and forms are required by the recognition process?
5. What other resources are available about this program?
6. What is the program for approving foreign language study in ethnic schools?
Sometimes foreign language instruction is offered at an “ethnic school.” An ethnic school is a part-time private school that teaches the foreign language of a particular ethnic group as well as the culture, geography, history, and other aspects of that ethnic group. The school may seek approval to show that the language instruction offered is equivalent in content, rigor, etc. to foreign language instruction offered at a public high school. This program provides for that approval under 105 ILCS 5/2-3.44 in the School Code.
- A minimum of 120 hours per student of instruction in language (and culture) is required for this approval.
- Application for Ethnic School Foreign Language Program Approval (39-16)
- List of approved programs—not currently available
7. What is the program for approving nonpublic driver education study?
- Nonpublic high schools can receive approval of their driver education programs in order to help students meet license and insurance requirements. The requirements for driver education programs are found in 105 ILCS 5/27-24.2 in the School Code.
- Only recognized schools can apply for this approval.
8. What is the contact information for these programs at ISBE?
Title Grant Administration, N-242
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777-0001