A brand-new school has just launched in Chicago! City Elementary welcomed its first students on September 8th, 2014. Our school offers an educational program tailored to kindergarten through second-graders with diverse learning styles and developmental needs. City Elementary represents an extension of the philosophy and methods of pediatric therapeutic services center LEEP Forward. Like its sister school, City Elementary provides a strong education while simultaneously encouraging regulation, social engagement, and peer interactions.

Using a range of teaching modalities based around the unique needs and interests of each student, City Elementary is a safe and nurturing place for learning and growing. Through an understanding of the inner life of each student, City Elementary fosters empathy, confidence, kindness, and a life-long love of learning. Students learn the core curriculum and strive to meet the benchmarks established by Illinois State Standards and Common Core Standards. The school’s project- and play-based experiential approach allows children to co-create the learning experience by following their passions.


The Staff


Lead Teacher Amanda Skinner

Lead Teacher Amanda Skinner is a certified special education teacher and learning behavior specialist. She has an MS in Special Education from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City. She taught most recently at Giant Steps Therapeutic Day School in Lisle, where she developed lesson plans and IEPs for students with autism, and provided one-on-one instruction to a classroom of eight. She also managed a team of program assistants and therapists.

Assistant Teacher Tressa Allard

Assistant Teacher Tressa Allard joins us from New York City, where she taught most recently at PS 372, The Children’s School. She has worked in both special and general education, teaching children in pre-K through third grade. She has an MS with a focus on special education and learning disabilities from Hunter College, the City University of New York. Ms. Allard has a particular interest in dance education, and has taught creative movement, gymnastics, and yoga. 


Classroom Aide Ania Gardner is a former marketing consultant whose career change was sparked by her two children with special needs. Inspired by her work with them using art and horticultural therapy, Ms. Gardner has widened her circle to work with other children. She plans to continue her studies in special education and become certified as a horticultural therapist.


The Founders

Our new school is being spearheaded by a group of parents who want to continue to educate their children following the LEEP Forward philosophy into the elementary years.  LEEP Forward’s director and founder Lorell Marin is providing invaluable assistance in this effort.  We are also supported by an engaged board and consultants drawn from the education, child development, and business communities in Chicago, including pediatric neuropsychologist Warren D. Rosen, Ph.D., Daniel Ryan, Ed.D., founder of The Children's School, Tom McDougal, M.A.T, math education consultant, and Marvin Zonis, Professor Emeritus Booth School of Business, University of Chicago.


Location/Contact Us

City Elementary is located within KAM Isaiah Israel at 1100 East Hyde Park Blvd. For more information, please contact us at cityelementarychicago@gmail.com.  

City Elementary is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. City Elementary admits the students of any race to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school, and does not discriminate on the basis of race in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, or athletic and other school-administered programs. Race in this definition includes color and national or ethnic origin.