CPS High School Quality Working Group Recommends Actions to Improve Student Outcomes and Access to Quality Instruction 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620 
CHICAGO – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Forrest Claypool and Chief Education Officer (CEdO) Dr. Janice K. Jackson today announced recommendations made by the High School Quality Working Group, a collection of education experts and community leaders who assembled recommendations to support the District in ensuring there is a quality high school within three miles of every home in Chicago.
“We established the High School Quality Working Group at the beginning of our administration because we recognize that while real gains have been made in recent years, too many of our students are not prepared to succeed in the classroom,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “The Working Group has brought forward a number of recommendations that will influence our work going forward and allow us to focus our resources on programs and initiatives that will help drive student success and improve access to quality schools.”
The High School Quality Working Group was formed in August 2015 by CEO Claypool and CEdO Jackson, and the group met throughout the summer and fall to develop recommendations designed to improve high school quality throughout the District.
“The Working Group recognized that while city schools have a variety of needs, there are strategies and resources that can be leveraged throughout our high schools to improve quality across the board,” said CPS CEdO Jackson. “Our team is taking a close look at the Working Group’s recommendations with the intent of incorporating many of these ideas into our District high school strategy, which will be finalized later this school year.”
To inform their recommendations, the Working Group strove to develop a shared understanding of the local and national issues that influence high school outcomes. After analyzing the key challenges facing CPS high schools, the working group developed the following recommendations to improve school quality:
  1. Engage Communities and Stakeholders
    To ensure that new initiatives and existing supports are as successful as possible, the Working Group strongly recommended that the District continuously and authentically engage communities and stakeholders. The Working Group determined that proactively engaging the community, seeking and considering input on important discussions and allowing for sustained involvement by stakeholders are key to the long-term success of CPS high schools.
  2. Explore launching a single application for the incoming class of School Year 2017-2018
    To streamline the high school application process and greatly expand awareness of potential high school options, the Working Group recommended the implementation of a single high school application that would apply to all District and charter schools. Through this system, which the Working Group recommended implementing for the incoming class of School Year 2017-18, students would complete one application, which would be used to apply for any school in the CPS system. This would significantly improve access to quality options while providing useful data to help inform where schools are excelling at supporting student match and where additional resources are needed.
  3.  Develop a Strategy for Under-Enrolled High Schools
    To strengthen the academic experience of all high school students, the Working Group recommended developing a strategy to address underutilized schools. As part of this process, the Working Group encouraged CPS to analyze the enrollment challenges at individual schools and work with a coalition of stakeholders to develop solutions to under-enrollment. As the District formulates a strategy to address underutilized schools, the Working Group advised CPS to consider investing in transformative school leaders, developing and delivering wrap-around supports for students, and engaging stakeholders to create a shared vision for schools.
  4. Support Key Elements for Success in Every High School
    To promote success throughout the District, the Working Group recommended identifying and supporting key elements for school success that should be supported in every high school. The Working Group highlighted strong curriculum and intensive professional development, which are common to IB, STEM and other proven curriculum models, as areas CPS should seek to support in all schools. The Working Group also noted that investing in strong principals and incorporating strategies to encourage their success is key to promoting quality school environments.
  5.  Scale Programs that have Positive Data and Community Buy-In
    The Working Group recommended CPS consider making additional investments in programs currently in use throughout the District that have improved student outcomes. By expanding wall-to-wall programs in neighborhood schools as well as key social and emotional supports that have been implemented in some District schools, the Working Group concluded there is potential to improve student outcomes by expanding the reach of these resources. The Working Group also recommended that before new programming is launched in schools, CPS should clearly communicate goals and expected outcomes to ensure the community understands these resources and will support their implementation.
While the Working Group was formed to improve high school quality throughout the District, CPS high schools have made significant gains in recent years. By expanding access to high-quality school options, including STEM and IB, focusing on increasing the quality of all schools, and preparing students for success beyond high school, students have made significant gains in the classroom since 2011. From 2011 to 2015, high school graduation rates increased 13 percent, from 56.9 to 69.9 percent. Additionally, the number of top performing elementary and high schools has increased from 154 to 338, and the one-year dropout rate has decreased from 11.2 percent to 7.9 percent. These gains have made areal difference to CPS students; however, as the Working Group has identified, there is still room to improve high school quality and student outcomes.
The full report from the Working Group is available at www.cps.edu/hswg_042016.
The Working Group’s members include:
·         Liz Kirby, Chicago Public Schools – Co-Chair
·         Jesse Ruiz, Chicago Park District Board President – Co-Chair
·         Robin Steans, Steans Family Foundation Trustee – Co-Chair
·         Sandra Abrevaya, Thrive Chicago
·         John Barker, Chicago Public Schools (Formerly)
·         Sarah Berghorst, OneGoal – Chicago
·         Andrew Broy, Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS)
·         Ted Christians, Umoja Student Development Corporation
·         Mary Ellen Caron, After School Matters
·         Julie Clanton, Kenwood Academy High School
·         Jonathan Cowan, KIPP Foundation
·         James Dispensa, Chicago Public Schools
·         Sarah Duncan, Network for College Success
·         Eva Giglio, Chicago Public Schools
·         Randel Josserand, Chicago Public Schools
·         Liz Lefkofsky, Lefkofsky Family Foundation
·         Laura LeMone, Von Stueben Metropolitan Science Center
·         Phyllis Lockett, LEAP Innovations
·         Justin Manly, Boston Consulting Group
·         Alan Mather, Chicago Public Schools
·         Michael Milkie, Noble Network of Charter Schools
·         Claudia Morales, Curie Metropolitan High School
·         Juan Carlos Ocon, Benito Juarez Community Academy
·         Terri Pigott, Loyola University
·         Beatriz Ponce de Leon, Generation All
·         Paige Ponder CEO, One Millions Degrees
·         Rituparna Raichoudhuri, Wells Community Academy High School
·         Stephen Reynolds, Friends of Amundsen
·         Sadie Stockdale, Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel
·         Sara Ray Stoelinga, Urban Education Institute (UEI), University of Chicago
·         Ashley Turner, King College Prep
·         Xiao Lin Mei, Jones College Prep – CPS Student Member
·         Aidan Currie, Lake View High School – CPS Student Member
Chicago Public Schools serves 392,000 students in 660 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

Page Last Modified on Tuesday, April 12, 2016