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What is EMSA?

The Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) with a local Board of Directors composed of area stakeholders including educators, business leaders, and parents of potential students. We offer an exciting and effective educational opportunity to District U-46 families: to bring the WOW & WONDER in Learning to students through a math and science public charter school. We opened in the Fall of 2018 with 200 students in grades K-3 and will grow to 460 students in grades K-8.

What is a Charter School?
Charters are unique public schools allowed the freedom to innovate while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Because they are public schools, charters are:

  1. Open to all children in District U-46. 
  2. Do not charge tuition.
  3. Do not have special entrance requirements.

The Elgin Math & Science Academy charter school is open to U-46 students, including students with disabilities and English learners. We hold a blind, public lottery each Spring to enroll students if the number of applications exceeds available seats. For more information about Illinois Charter Schools, please visit: The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Learn more about our application and lottery process

What is EMSA’s educational approach?
We are partners with the national nonprofit EL Education to offer a proven curriculum in which children gain critical thinking and leadership skills as they explore problems and create real-life solutions. As a STEM school, our math and science focus will be enriched with the fine arts.

Explore more about our approach to learning

What about EMSA’s school culture?
EMSA models the EL Education approach to learning. This model is built on ten design principles that reflect the educational values and beliefs of Outward Bound. These principles also reflect the connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools. EMSA will also practice community through “CREW”.

Learn more about our crew culture

What is CREW?
An EL Education school culture is planned for, developed, and sustained through practices that bring the community together, promote shared understandings, and encourage all community members to become crew, not passengers. Students in EL schools are known well and supported by adults. In EL Education schools, each student is known well by at least one adult within the school. One structure for developing this relationship—and supporting students socially, emotionally, and academically—is crew.

The structure of crew allows for relationship building, academic progress monitoring, and character development. Crew allows students to build positive connections with their peers and with their crew leader. Crew leaders strategically plan crew to address and assess these multiple goals. Multi-year relationships are also forged in other school structures (e.g., multi-age classrooms, looping) to ensure that students’ needs are met and individual strengths are discovered. Outside of school, mentoring, internships, and apprenticeships foster relationships between students and community members.

Where is EMSA be located?
EMSA is located at 1600 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120. This campus has been used to educate children for almost 100 years and was updated with a new school building in 2005. 

Learn more about our campus 

Is there busing?
Yes! EMSA is pleased to be able to bus our students from within its 90 sq. mile district. 

What are the school hours?
Early drop-off is available at 7:30 a.m.
School begins at 8:00 a.m.
On regular school days, students are released at 3:00 p.m. On Fridays, students are released at 1:30 p.m.

Is Kindergarten full day? Yes, it is.

What about After-School Care?
The Boys & Girls Club of Elgin will be providing after-school care at EMSA for our students for 3 hours after students are released.  On a regular school day, BGCE will provide after school care until 6:00 p.m. – at which time students will need to be picked up from EMSA.  The Boys & Girls Club provides sliding scale fees and even free programs for families that qualify for CCAP to ensure that all students are able to attend.  Please visit for more information or email

Will all subjects be taught?
Yes! As a STEM school, our focus will be Math and Science — however, EMSA will teach all the core subjects in addition to an exciting infusion of the Fine Arts and Outdoor Environmental Education. Find out more about EL Education’s amazing English Language Arts CurriculumEL Education K–8 Language Arts has received the highest review score ever given to a K–8 ELA curriculum by EdReports!



Elgin Math & Science Academy
Charter School

1600 Dundee Ave. Elgin, IL 60120
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Monday – Friday)(630) 883–5013