Recognizing Educators Advancing Chicago Students 

What is REACH students?

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is proud to announce - REACH (Recognizing Educators Advancing CHicago) Students – our new, comprehensive teacher evaluation system.

The Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) that passed in January 2010 mandated that CPS establish a new teacher evaluation system in the 2012-13 school year. Rather than think of this as a mandate, CPS took this as an opportunity to build an evaluation system that provides teachers with the clarity, support, and feedback they need to achieve excellence in their professional practice.

REACH students is focused on recognizing the critically important role that educators play in preparing Chicago students for success in college and career. REACH further empowers teachers by providing them with the tools and supports they need to improve their practice and boost student learning. It will replace the current 40-year-old outdated evaluation system that is disconnected from the needs and vision of today's teachers and classrooms.

What are the goals of REACH students?

The goals of REACH students are to:

  • Establish a common definition and standards for teaching excellence.
  • Build principals' and/or teachers leaders' expertise in observing and analyzing instruction to support teacher growth.
  • Provide teachers with information and guidance to inform their development
  • Engage teachers in reflection and self-assessment regarding their own performance
  • Differentiate support and accountability for teachers based on their experience and/or impact on student learning.
  • Create a culture of continuous improvement among teachers, school leaders, system administrators and students.

How was REACH students developed?

The thoughts, suggestions and ideas from thousands of teachers across the district helped established the foundation of REACH Students. In the spring and summer of 2011, we heard from more than 2300 teachers in focus groups that they would like a meaningful evaluation system that helps them grow as professionals. In addition, the lessons learned throughout several years of prior CPS teacher evaluation pilot programs played a critical role in the development of the new system.

CPS and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) spent more than 90 hours during a nearly four month negotiation period - that began in December 2011 and concluded the end of March 2012. The extensive discussion, input and expertise of educators from both CPS and CTU played a critical role in building REACH Students and ensuring it is a meaningful system that will support both teacher practice and student learning.

What are the components of REACH students?

REACH students is based on multiple measures—that is, no single measure will determine a teachers' overall performance rating. The three major components include:

  • Teacher Practice
  • Student Growth
  • Student Feedback

Teacher Practice

The anchor of the teacher practice component is the new CPS Framework for Teaching. Modeled after the Charlotte Danielson's 2011 Framework for Teaching—the CPS Framework for Teaching was revised in collaboration with CTU and Charlotte Danielson to emphasize its connections to the Common Core State Standards and to reiterate high standards for teachers and students.

The CPS Framework for Teaching will serve as a roadmap for good teaching and the foundation for administrators to observe and provide teachers constructive, meaningful feedback about their practice throughout the school year.

For more information on the teacher practice component of REACH Students, please click here.

Click here to download a copy of the CPS Framework for Teaching.

Click here to down load a copy of the CPS Framework for Teaching Placemat

Student Growth

Student growth will be measured in two ways – through the use of standardized assessments and through the use of teacher designed performance tasks. Using multiple measures of student growth creates a more comprehensive picture of a teacher's impact on student growth. Student growth will be measured in multiple ways.

Standardized Measures

At the elementary level, student growth will be measured through the use of a value-added growth methodology – the most widely used methodology with the largest research based.

For more information on the value-added methodology, please click here.

At the high school level, student growth will be measured through the use of an EPAS expected gains model. EPAS expected gains will be implemented with no stakes in the 2012-2013 school year.

REACH students also contains a school-wide component literacy component. This component was incorporated to emphasize the importance of all teachers working collaboratively to boost students' skills in this critical area.

For more information on school-wide literacy, please click here.

Performance Tasks

The second measure of student growth are performance tasks customized by grade level and subject area. Performance tasks will be administered at the beginning and end of year to assess student mastery of standards specific to the content area, course and grade level.

For more information on Performance Tasks, please click here.

Student Feedback

Student feedback will be measured through the use of student surveys. CPS will implement a survey without stakes in the 2013-2014. This pilot will help inform implementation in the 2014-2015 school year.

Additional information

Additional information on each component of REACH students can be found in the Frequently Asked Questions documents, linked below:

Contact us!

If you have additional questions or comments, please email

Note: This site will be updated regularly as more information becomes available!

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, August 20, 2014