O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy envisions all students educated to their full potential. Literacy, mathematics, the sciences, and the arts are at the core of our instruction. Through our teaching students will acquire the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and values necessary to take an active role in learning, thinking critically, and contributing to society as literate, productive, responsible citizens and lifelong learners. – Mr. Toledo

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OA Thorp's Report Card

The Illinois State Board of Education annually releases a report card that shows how each school, district, and the state is performing on a wide range of educational goals. View OA Thorp’s with the link above.

Apply to Thorp

Thorp Scholastic Academy is a magnet school and can be applied to using the Standard Elementary Schools Application. All student placements are handled through the OAE Lottery, neither the principal or any other staff can place students at Thorp.

About Us

Ole A. Thorp Scholastic Academy, a Level 1+  magnet school located on Chicago’s northwest side, is a Chicago public school that serves over 840 students from kindergarten through eighth grade.  Students come from all over the city including the south, west, and northwest sides of Chicago.  We have over 25 language groups represented as well as a diversity of students from many different cultural backgrounds.  O. A. Thorp Scholastic Academy offers an outstanding educational program that encourages the active involvement of parents, teachers, and students. Thorp has consistently been ranked as one of the top performing schools in the state of Illinois and we are proud of the hard work and achievements of our students and staff. Please check out our latest school profile.

As a Scholastic Academy, Thorp has been organized around the belief that proficiency in math and science are essential in preparing students for success in high school and beyond. O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy offers an environment that is both emotionally nurturing while also academically challenging. There are three classrooms at each grade level from kindergarten to eighth grade. Our classrooms are limited to 29 students in primary (K-2) and 32 students for grades 4 to 8.  Grades K-1 are self-contained with one teacher teaching all subjects. In grades two through eight there are various levels of departmentalization. In second grade the homeroom teacher teaches math and reading; students switch classes for writing, humanities, and science. In grades 3-5, students have language arts with their homeroom teacher and switch for humanities, math, and science. In middle school (grades 6-8), students switch classes for all subjects.  All students attend weekly art, health, computer education, library, physical education, and music classes. All students in middle school take Spanish as a foreign language.

Other school activities include athletic teams, a strong fine arts program, monthly assemblies, student council, O. A. Thorp service opportunities, color guard, field trips, several different reading motivational programs, and contests in the areas of writing, spelling, mathematics, oratory, science, art, and music. From January through May students may participate in academic after school programs.

Standard Instructional Program

The standard instructional program at Thorp is typically more rigorous than the typical CPS elementary school. Many students transferring into Thorp from other elementary schools will often have difficulty adjusting to their workload. The standard program at Thorp is supported by cutting edge instructional practices that emphasize small group instruction, student collaboration, effective student communication, creativity and critical thinking. We call this “Thorp Active Learning.”

Thorp Scholastic Academy incorporates technology at all levels of instruction, and all students at Thorp are expected to be familiar with technological tools that will enhance their learning.

Comprehensive Gifted Program (CGP)

Thorp is the only magnet school of six Scholastic Academies throughout the city with a Comprehensive Gifted Program. Students in our Comprehensive Gifted Program are initially selected based on their performance at the end of Kindergarten on the Chicago Achievement Test, standardized tests such as TRC and NWEA, as well as teacher recommendations based on their ranking on our Comprehensive Gifted Checklist. Roughly one-third of our students are in the Comprehensive Gifted Program. Placement in the Comprehensive Gifted Program is not static and students and parents should expect movement in and out of the program based on student performance each year. CGP students and their parents should be aware that instruction in the gifted program will be extremely challenging and is at least one-and-a-half to two years beyond grade level as compared to neighborhood CPS schools. As a general rule of thumb, CGP students score about 90% or higher on standardized tests such as NWEA, but grades, conduct and student performance are also considerations for placement.

Accelerated Instructional Program (AIP)

Due to space limitations we cannot have every student who is testing above grade level in our Comprehensive Gifted Program so Thorp Academy also has an accelerated learning program (AIP) that is one-half to a full year above grade level. The strong integrated curriculum at Thorp is enriched by programs that serve the learning needs of all students. Reading and math instruction is differentiated according to student ability level. Students selected for AIP are selected by their teacher according to ability and performance. Students are normally selected based on their performance on NWEA, ISAT and other standardized tests. Teachers may also select students based on their observation of student ability and/or potential.  AIP students typically score above the 75% on standardized tests. Students and parents in the AIP program may not be aware of their selection.

Multi-Tiered Levels of Support (Formerly RtI)

Identified students in grades K-8 who are in need of additional reinforcement in reading and are served in our Response to Intervention (RTI) Tutoring Groups. Children with identified learning disabilities, emotional/behavioral disorder disabilities, speech, and/or visual or hearing deficiencies are served by special education teachers in accordance with each student’s Individual Education Plan. Thorp also has a dedicated Autism program.

Parent and Community Involvement

Thorp’s parents are a vital component of our school’s success. In addition to volunteer opportunities throughout the school year, parents may also wish to participate in the activities sponsored by our Thorp PTA as well as with Friends of Thorp.

Through the leadership of the Local School Council (LSC), a close working relationship exists between home and school.  The Thorp LSC is made up of six parents, two community members, two teachers, one non-teacher staff member and the school’s principal. Parents and the general public are invited to attend monthly meetings that are announced on the Thorp website as well as posted on the bulletin board outside the school office.

We thank you for visiting our site and learning a little bit more about the difference at O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy. If you have any questions or you’d like to schedule a tour of our school, please call the main office at 773.534-3640 or email our Assistant Principals, Dr. Emily Chambers or Madonna Arredondo. Please email our Principal, Efren D. Toledo, if you have any further questions or suggestions.

To apply to Thorp Academy please visit http://apply.cps.edu. Admission to Thorp is completely voluntary and is based on the random lottery performed by the Office of Access and Enrollment. For more information on how to apply to Thorp please visit: http://www.cpsoae.org. Kindergartners applying to Thorp have a roughly 1 in 25 chance of being accepted, siblings of students already at Thorp have a significantly better chance of acceptance.


1905-1914: “Old” O.A. Thorp School.  Originally located at 2701 West Foster Avenue in the Lincoln Square community, the building was renamed Bowmanville School then Lyman Budlong Elementary School http://www.budlongschool.com)

1918: Ole A. Thorp Elementary School moves to its present location on Warwick and the old O.A. Thorp school building officially becomes Budlong Elementary School.

The architect who designed Thorp’s building in 1918 was Arthur Hussander (1865-1943). Mr. Hussander designed over 60 schools and he favored the classical style (thus Thorp’s columns). From Chicago’s Historic Schools: [Hussander’s] school designs include Lindblom Technical School; Senn High School; Carter Harrison Technical School (now Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy); and Bell, Herzl, Parkside, Peirce, Pope, Thorp, and Riis elementary schools.