A brand-new school has launched in Chicago! City Elementary welcomed its first students in September of 2014. Our school offers an educational program tailored to kindergarten through third graders with diverse learning styles and developmental needs. Our classrooms are structured to provide small group instruction for children on the autism spectrum, those with significant attentional issues, and those with sensory-integration challenges who use language to communicate.

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 Founders

Our new school is being spearheaded by a group of parents.  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.



Karen Daiter, Ph.D., M.Ed., LCSW, Head of School Karen comes to us with extensive experience in educational administration and social work, and a long history of working with children with diverse learning styles. She is the Program Director of the Chicago Public Schools–based Vulnerable Student Initiative, a program designed to assist at-risk students and schools. She is also a psychotherapist in private practice who works with children and parents, focusing on issues including neurocognitive development, social-emotional health, mind/body integration, and developmental and transitional issues. Karen has a Type 75 Principal Licensure, which qualifies her to serve as a principal at Illinois public schools. She worked previously as the Head of Social Work Services at the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago and coordinated social workers for private schools accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States.


Kate Bonfante, Lead Teacher Kate comes to City Elementary from the Lindamood-Bell Learning Center in Oak Park. While there, she developed instructional plans focusing on language and reading comprehension for children with sensory and cognitive challenges, and implemented learning strategies created using an intensive focus on the needs of each individual child. Kate is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a long-time volunteer with the Special Olympics and Big Brothers Big Sisters. 


Ania Gardner, Classroom Aide  Ania 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.



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.