Skip To Main Content


Quest Academy was established under the name Creative Children's Academy in 1982 to provide a dynamic learning environment for gifted children. Our founder, Helene Bartz, had a vision for impacting the lives of gifted children after she realized the lack of gifted services in more traditional settings such as public schools in the area.  Bartz, along with the founding families, knew that bright children would benefit from a mission-driven, intentional community that would support the gifted and talented learner.

Quest Academy opened its doors with 11 students and two faculty members. Classrooms were multi-age. The program was developed to meet the interest of the children rather than structured to a set curriculum. Creative Children's Academy was, even during its early years, an appealing educational setting. At the heart of its success was a talented and creative staff.

Full accreditation was awarded by ISACS in 1988.  In recognition of its opportunities, the school's
enrollment had expanded to 175 students by 1991.

In 1993, however, the Creative Children's Academy faced an unanticipated crossroads. The park district that had been leasing an aging and leaking facility to CCA decided to raze the building. The then current Head of School announced he was taking another job. Facing an uncertain future, the school and its Board worked valiantly to find a solution, and they did. Two administrators agreed to share the Head of School position. The Board purchased Quest's current home, the former Palatine Public Library; and the park district agreed to delay razing their building until construction of Quest's new building was complete.

In January 1994, the school moved into the remodeled public library and began to enjoy its new academic environment. While experiencing some major additions and renovations, this building remains the hub of Quest's current campus. With finances controlled, an attractive facility, and strong program and leadership, the school received its ISACS re-accreditation in 1994 with accolades going to the administration and Board for their hard work in pulling the school out of its earlier crisis.

Because of the vision and focus resulting from good strategic planning, the Creative Children's Academy went well beyond simply surviving its early growing pains. In 1999 the school's name was changed to Quest Academy. That same year a capital campaign funded the addition of a $2.4 million gymnasium and performing arts wing. Several years later, a new capital campaign resulted in the acquisition of additional land and the adjoining shopping plaza. As a result of that, our West Campus opened to great fanfare in 2012 with additional green space for outdoor learning. Now Quest can point with pride to its years of meeting the social, emotional, and academic needs of gifted children. Although the words have been revised over those three decades, the core values remain unchanged — institutional independence, belief in the goodness of each individual, and deep understanding of each and every step of childhood and adolescence. Its mission, too, remains constant.

Belief Statement


  1. Giftedness is exceptional intellectual, physical, creative, and/or affective capacity that can be transformed into extraordinary ability.
  2. Giftedness is domain-specific—it may occur predominantly in one or more domains, such as mathematics, science, the arts, or language—but can be enhanced in all domains.
  3. Giftedness is best identified and cultivated by means of thorough and multifaceted assessment.
  4. Giftedness may involve asynchronous development and does not preclude exceptionalities.
  5. Giftedness is nurtured by an environment that provides continuous intellectual stimulation and creative engagement within a community of like-minded peers and supportive adults.


  1. Learning is a critical process to growth and development.
  2. Learning is integral to a healthy and productive life.
  3. Learning requires taking risks, challenging one’s ideas and beliefs, and putting forth effort.
  4. Learning is most effective when it involves the intellectual, social, physical, emotional, and creative domains.
  5. Learning can be catalyzed by competition but must be measured relative to the self.


  1. Curriculum that first emphasizes conceptual understandings and applications facilitates the subsequent successful retention of discrete knowledge and specific skills.
  2. Assessment that is differentiated, and involves ongoing and meaningful feedback facilitates the learning process.
  3. Learning environments that provide interaction with other gifted students promote intellectual stimulation and healthy socialization.
  4. Learning experiences that involve challenge, problem solving, and reflection ensure greater student engagement and intellectual risk-taking.
  5. The most effective teachers have expertise in gifted education and can differentiate curriculum, assessment, learning environments and learning experiences.


Quest Academy provides gifted children with a challenging curriculum and a nurturing environment.

Our program emphasizes sound character along with scholarship and creativity in both the academics and the arts.  

The Quest community values the individuality of each child and encourages each to strive for personal excellence.


"My daughter graduated this past year from Quest. Thankfully, we found the school when she was in first grade. I can not say enough about the faculty and staff at Quest. They have laid an incredible foundation for her not only academically but morally as well. The Quest community is an amazing community of dedicated teachers, children and parents who highly value education and character development. Thank you Quest!"

- Quest Academy Parent

Diversity Statement

Quest Academy is committed to exploring and embracing diversity in our learning community.

We believe that all members of the school community are responsible for advancing an understanding of and cultivating respect for the dignity and uniqueness of every individual.

We define diversity as including people who are different from each other in myriad ways including: age, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, race, ethnicity, and culture.

We recognize a person with cultural competence as one who shows respect for those differences, as well as for differences in thoughts, ideas, perspectives, and understandings.

We affirm that developing the diversity of our community and the cultural competence of each person in it will serve Quest Academy’s mission and strengthen its students’ ability to thrive in a culturally-diverse world.

Quest Academy will design and implement a curriculum to support diversity and cultural competence within our learning community. The progress of diversity initiatives at Quest Academy will be measured by 1) sustaining continuous effort and 2) monitoring transparency and accountability among faculty, staff, parents, and students.

pdf of letter from Head of School