Academic Excellence

Academic Excellence

Students do not all learn in the same way, and we’re striving to develop teaching methods and programs that work for all students. From literacy programs to arts and cultural education, we’re finding new, more effective ways to teach and engage students.

Literacy

We believe that the best way to promote literacy is to inspire a love of reading. To develop a love for reading, students need to be surrounded by books that are relevant to them—books that mirror their lives and offer windows to the outside world. With those books available, well-trained and culturally responsive teachers and librarians can help students develop a passion for reading that extends outside the classroom.

Independent reading is one of our primary goals for our students. Given an abundance of books, the right guidance, and the time to read independently, students will develop into confident and capable readers and writers who can use their literacy to express themselves and have an impact in the world.

Small and outdated libraries limit student access and motivation for independent reading. In addition to building and maintaining new, well-stocked libraries at our schools, we’re expanding access to reading programs like “Battle of the Books” and “Project Lit,” which introduce students to a greater variety of books.

Elevate & The Personalized Learning Initiative

Every student is unique, and so is their learning style. It is critical that each of our students is educated as an individual, with methods that work for them. So how can a single teacher meet the unique learning needs of every student in their class? The Personalized Learning Initiative and Elevate Whole School Re-Design program offer the following answer: adaptive technology, flexible furniture arrangements, and a mix of independent, group, and whole-class applications.

Between The Personalized Learning Initiative’s modern teaching methodology and Elevate’s innovative classroom redesign, CPS teachers have been given the tools to more effectively reach every student in their class.

And the results speak for themselves. Students in one of the Personalized Learning pilot classes gained an additional 1.07 points in test scores compared to a control group in the same year. That’s equivalent to closing the achievement growth gap by 45 percent for low-income students, by 78 percent for black students, and 129 percent for Hispanic students.

Elevate and The Personalized Learning Initiative are supported by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Leap Innovations, University of Chicago Urban Labs, Relativity, and Guaranteed Rate. Thank you!

Featured Partner: The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The demand for personalized learning has spread rapidly across CPS schools since the program was introduced, but its implementation requires resources as small as headphones for students and as massive as classroom and even whole-school redesigns. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, along with personalized-learning experts LEAP Innovations, has been an invaluable partner in our effort to bring personalized learning to more CPS schools. Thanks to a grant from CZI, an additional 35 CPS schools will receive a whole-school redesign, complete with LEAP Innovation technology, to accommodate and elevate personalized learning. Beyond the redesigns, the partnership promises to support the personalized-learning efforts of more than 100 CPS schools, providing social-emotional learning integration, one-on-one instructional coaching, and professional development for teachers.

Language & Cultural Education

Whether mastering English or learning a language that connects them with another part of the world, language-learning is a critical component of every student’s education. And because language is inextricable from culture, CPS’s language programs include a robust cultural education.

A leader in biliteracy, CPS is the first district in Illinois to recognize 5th and 8th graders making significant progress in dual and world language programs with the Biliteracy Pathway award. And in the 2017–2018 school year, 1,720 students—a record number—earned the State Seal of Biliteracy by scoring a four or higher on the AP test or similar assessments. Those students were recognized for their proficiency in 12 different languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Japanese, Bulgarian, Latin, and German.

CPS’s language and cultural education partners include The University of Chicago, Peoples Gas, Alliance Francaise de Chicago, Wanxiang America Corporation and the Wanxiang Group. Thank you!

“The strength of our district lies in its diversity, and the Seal of Biliteracy provides an unparalleled opportunity to encourage and celebrate multilingualism while providing additional opportunities for students to earn college credits.”

Dr. Janice K. Jackson, Chief Executive Officer for Chicago Public Schools

Arts Education

When Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper donated $1 million to CPS arts departments, it was more than just a gift to schools; it was a call to action to the entire city. With his donation, Chance aimed to prioritize the arts at CPS and beyond, increasing access to arts programs for all students and cementing Art as a core subject.

Those goals are entirely aligned with our own. Research has shown that arts education benefits children in a number of key learning areas, including language development, and a strong arts education can lead to higher test scores across subjects.

CPS’s arts programs have made leaps and bounds forward in recent years. Here are a few key stats:

  • The percentage of CPS schools rated Strong or Excelling in the arts increased by 128%, from 29% in 2012–2013 to 66% in 2016–2017.
  • Community arts partnerships per school increased by nearly 20%, from 41% in 2012–2013 to 60% in 2016–2017.
  • The number of elementary schools providing 120 minutes of weekly arts instruction increases every year.
  • The number of schools employing full-time arts instructors increases every year.

CPS’s arts education partners include Ingenuity Inc., SocialWorks, Inc., Chicago Bulls Charities, ConAgra Foods Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Lyft, New Era Foundation, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Little Kids Rock, Lang Lang, CMA Foundation, Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, Steinway and Sons, and Conn-Selmer. Thank you!

“We are committed to giving the kids as much as we can.”

Chance the Rapper

Featured Partner: Ingenuity, Inc.

Driven by a strategic partnership with Ingenuity, Inc., CPS’s arts education programs have flourished in recent years.

When the partnership was struck in 2011, there was an apparent need for better research, resources, strategy, and advocacy to ensure a quality arts education for every CPS student. The arts community in Chicago, including arts organizations, museums, teachers, district leaders, and local businesses, came together to respond to that need, creating an Arts Learning report and forming Ingenuity, Inc.

CPS and Ingenuity have worked together to create the first-ever CPS Arts Education Plan, which has helped CPS take stock of our existing arts program and set strategic goals to build capacity, add arts partners, design curriculum, and institute policy measure that prioritize the arts. As a result of those efforts, arts is now recognized as a core subject at CPS, required instructional time has increased, graduation requirements have expanded to recognize theater and dance, and a new creative-schools certification recognizes schools excelling in arts education.

Ingenuity and CPS continue to work together to collaborate with external partners, to make data-driven improvements in our programs, and to advocate for the arts.

Arts Education and Ingenuity, Inc.

Driven by a strategic partnership with Ingenuity, Inc., CPS’s arts education programs have flourished in recent years.

When the partnership was struck in 2011, there was an apparent need for better research, resources, strategy, and advocacy to ensure a quality arts education for every CPS student. The arts community in Chicago, including arts organizations, museums, teachers, district leaders, and local businesses, came together to respond to that need, creating an Arts Learning report and forming Ingenuity, Inc.

CPS and Ingenuity have worked together to create the first-ever CPS Arts Education Plan, which has helped CPS take stock of our existing arts program and set strategic goals to build capacity, add arts partners, design curriculum, and institute policy measure that prioritize the arts. As a result of those efforts, arts is now recognized as a core subject at CPS, required instructional time has increased, graduation requirements have expanded to recognize theater and dance, and a new creative-schools certification recognizes schools excelling in arts education.

Ingenuity and CPS continue to work together to collaborate with external partners, to make data-driven improvements in our programs, and to advocate for the arts.

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