The Field School

Our Story

Since our founding in 2017, The Field School has been an endeavor guided by God. Now, we now have a special window of opportunity to bring new life and flourishing to our school and broader community.

Our Story

From the start, our desire was to be located on the West Side of Chicago, to give “home field advantage” to children who too often must leave their neighborhoods for excellent education. More of our families live on the West Side than anywhere else, and we know it to be a place of community vitality, profound cultural expression, rich history, and courageous faith.

Just six weeks into our very first school year, a divinely-appointed day yielded $125,000 for an auction bid on an abandoned school campus in the Austin neighborhood. With only 45 students and many staff working for free, purchasing this campus was an act of faith, but God has faithfully provided all that we need.

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A group of parents and educators meet at a living room gathering to discuss the dream of a diverse, classical, Christian school.


TFS opens in rented space with 45 students in Pre-K through 1st grade. Many of our staff work for free.


TFS purchases the 2-building campus of vacant, former Key Elementary School for $125,000.


TFS community invests $1.9MM for the north building. Learning of $1.5MM available in public funding, TFS community gives an additional $1.1MM in 6 weeks, securing the match.


TFS renovates the north building for a total of $4.5MM.


TFS moves into the north building for our first year in our permanent home.

Planted With Purpose

We've seen God move powerfully to grow our school into a thriving institution.

  • Our families are invested—every family pays a “feasible sacrifice” for tuition, ranging from $1,200 to $20,000 per child.
  • Family interest in the school has continued to increase—enrollment has increased from 45 to over 250 in seven years, with the number of applications continuing to be three times more than open seats.
  • Student retention averages 90% each year, greater than the NAIS average despite a more transient population.
  • Our annual fund raised has grown in seven years to over $1.5MM, while tuition revenue per student is double what it was at our start.
  • Our home on the West Side has brought new opportunities for community connection—we’ve been able to host events like Saturday School and Pastors Breakfast, and strong partnerships have been formed with local organizations like the Austin Branch library, Learning Edge Tutoring, Harambee Community Garden, and Frederick Douglass High School.
  • The Field School has become a model of transformative urban, Christian education—we have trained/consulted with over 60 aspiring school leaders from across the country and globe.
  • We are providing an anchor for families working in local ministry and community development—over 40 families of ministry/community organization leaders have enrolled since our founding.

Our Community

We believe that full expression of the kingdom of God depends on diverse community, and that education is enriched because of it. Racial and socioeconomic diversity are an essential aspect of our school’s service to this city.

Stories from Our Community

Dr. Daisey Dowell

Co-Founder, Board Chair, Pediatrician

"There are windows of time in each child’s life for special growth and development, but those windows can quickly close. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, my window of opportunity was education. 

I was orphaned at the age of six and came to live with relatives who did not value education. In fact, education was actively discouraged; I was disciplined for things like reading books and investing in things that fed my hunger for knowledge.

When I was ten years old, I would volunteer to take my cousins to a park with a library so that I could sneak in and read. I can recall one time when my little cousins got into mischief when I was supposed to be watching them; I had become so engrossed in my book that I hadn’t noticed them slipping out of the room. Somehow my grandmother found out, and I came home one day shortly thereafter to find that she had taken down my encyclopedias—the only things I had left from my mother—and allowed my little cousins to scribble all over the books and tear out and destroy the pages as punishment.

When I was twelve, my grandmother said it was time to “carry my weight” by bringing in money from entertaining men or bearing a child. However, no matter the consequences, that was not something I was willing to do. My grandmother knew that the best way to punish me was to prevent me from going to school. When my poor attendance nearly caused me to be expelled from high school, I pleaded with God for him to deliver me from that house before things got worse. I now thank God for a situation that forced me to run away at thirteen, because once I made it out the door, I never looked back. Fortunately, I was taken in by a foster parent who allowed me to finish my high school education, and from there, I was blessed to attend college, get married, raise a family, and go to medical school to become a pediatrician.

Although obtaining an education was a constant battle, my insatiable desire to learn was a gift from the Lord. By seven years old, I had already skipped a grade or two. As an orphan, school became the place where I could thrive. I had teachers who loved and poured into me and cultivated my gifts. Great books opened new worlds and took me to places that energized and fulfilled me.

Even as a young child, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to make sure that other children could learn, and that they did not have to suffer as I did. As a teacher and a pediatrician on the West Side, I’ve been blessed to do both. As one might imagine, when the vision for The Field School was shared with me, I was excited yet humbled that God would give me the privilege of helping create such a God-honoring school. I knew that it was the perfect opportunity to continue to ensure that children in my own backyard could grow and thrive. 

When I raised my own children in Austin, they had to be bused out of the community in order to get a good education and build relationships with children from diverse backgrounds, and they were always the outsider. The Field School, on the other hand, would be an intentionally Christ-centered community that looked and felt like the Kingdom of God, and that laid a strong foundation for students to flourish. I knew that it would be a gift for children not only in Austin, but from all across the city and neighboring communities.

Today, I think back on that little girl who was made to feel that something was wrong with her because she had a love for knowledge, and what it meant to have teachers who saw her and affirmed that she had value, purpose, and was worthy of love. That kind of affirming love is what we give our children at The Field School. 

I truly believe that in ten or twenty years from now, we will behold the glory and fruit of our investment in these children’s lives. We will see CEOs, teachers, tradespeople, attorneys, and missionaries living and working for Christ, going out into the world and making it a more beautiful, hope-filled place."

Alex Cueto

Field School Parent

“I was born and raised in Chicago and currently live in Little Village with my two daughters, Teresa (4th grade) and Sara (2nd grade). As a single, full-time working mom, The Field School has been a huge blessing to myself and my daughters.

When Teresa was four, I started looking for schools. I knew that I wanted a school where my daughter was truly known, where she wouldn’t just be another student, but a part of a family. As a first generation Christian, we don't have other family members who are believers, so it was also important for me to find a Christ-centered environment where my daughter would be surrounded by other believers. When I first learned about The Field School, I knew it wasn't a coincidence; God was answering prayer. I was a bit nervous to put her in a school that was still new at the time, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I made for my daughters.

The staff have been so loving and gracious, especially in times of grief and when we’ve faced challenging medical issues. One particular incident that stands out is with my youngest, Sara. She was having a hard time emotionally and started crying as she remembered the loss of a loved one. Her teacher spoke to her with love and gentleness, and another staff member took her aside and gave her a small notebook to journal her feelings and thoughts. In a moment when I couldn't be with her and when she needed a hug, someone else was there. Raising children is not an easy task, and raising children as a single mom is even more challenging, but with The Field School, I know that we are not alone.

My prayer for The Field School is that it would continue to be a beacon of hope and light in the Austin community and throughout Chicago; that as the school grows, more children from different neighborhoods, ethnicities, and backgrounds will come together, knowing that no matter their skin color or financial status, we can be one in Christ; that people will be amazed at how God is building our community up in love; that from The Field School, young men and young women will be raised up who are walking with Christ and are strong leaders in their faith.

This is my same prayer for my own daughters—not that they will grow up to make six figures, but that they will grow to love the Lord and love people. They are learning that at The Field School.”