From by Lizzie Schiffman:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel loves to frame Chicago as "a world-class city" with international appeal and construction on the first U.S. GEMS World Academy set to open Downtown next year suggests that he's not the only one.

The GEMS World Academy program operates private schools in China, Egypt, India, Kenya and beyond, with sites opening this year in Egypt, Uganda, Switzerland and United Arab Emirates.

In the fall of next year, it will open an elementary school currently under construction at 350 E. South Water St., just east of Aqua Tower. The following September, in 2015, it will open a junior high school and high school building around the corner at Lower Wacker Drive, ultimately enrolling more than 2,000 students in the K-12 program by the end of a planned four-year buildout.

The international education promised at GEMS comes at a world-class price: Kindergarten tuition is $32,000 a year, and a fifth-grader at the school opening in fall 2014 would pay $37,000, though first-year families get a 10 percent discount. By comparison, yearly tuition for a fifth-grader at Latin School of Chicago is $29,985, $27,210 at Francis W. Parker School and $25,296 at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools.

The school will offer need-based financial aid, all in the form of grants, according to Emily Hampsten, a spokeswoman for the school. Students and families can apply through the Financial Aid for School Tuition (FAST) application posted online.

The Chicago school's literature boasts "an entrepreneurial focus" that includes projects and mentorships with "leading businesses and organizations," as well as opportunities to collaborate with students and faculty from the 151 countries in the school's network.

Geoff Jones, former principal and president of the U. of C. Lab Schools and GEMS World Academy Chicago's new chief, said the decision to debut the International Baccalaureate-accredited school in Chicago was an easy one to make.

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