What is CAAEL?

Research has consistently shown that students who participate in extracurricular programs achieve higher grade point averages, miss fewer days of school and are more self-confident. Each year, however, thousands of Illinois students, with a broad range of behavioral and emotional struggles, are placed outside of their mainstream schools into alternative school programs. In an effort to ensure that these students do not lose their opportunity to participate in the positive, life-enhancing experiences that extracurricular programs can provide, the Chicago Area Alternative Education League (CAAEL) was created.

CAAEL is a not-for-profit organization founded by alternative school educators. CAAEL works in partnership with over 50 alternative schools, from 79 public school districts, spanning 8 Illinois counties, including Chicago's north shore, the inner city, and several rural communities.

What Athletic & Academic Events are Offered?

Since 1976, CAAEL has successfully provided a full spectrum of interscholastic athletic and academic programs to over 100,000 of the Chicagoland area's most at-risk boys and girls, ranging from ages 7-21. These activities include: CHESS, BOWLING, ART, SOCCER, VOLLEYBALL, SOFTBALL, FLAG FOOTBALL, BASKETBALL, ACADEMIC BOWLS, and SPELLING BEES.

CAAEL coordinates over 500 highly motivating academic and athletic activities and events for high-risk youth. Over the years, it has been shown that CAAEL-involved students attend school at a 90%+ rate, in order to maintain their eligibility for these events.

Is There a Focus on Teamwork & Sportsmanship?

All CAAEL activities are designed to place primary focus on teamwork and sportsmanship. At the completion of every contest, each team selects two individuals from the opposing team to receive sportsmanship ribbons in recognition of outstanding leadership and positive attitude. Team plaques and Sportsmanship T-shirts are also awarded for every division in each activity.

For more information, please visit the CAAEL website: