CPS’ Sullivan High School Advances in National $50 Million XQ Challenge 

Rogers Park High School Acknowledged for Rethinking Learning for Diverse Populations
Friday, April 8, 2016

For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620
CHICAGO – Sullivan High School, a Rogers Park neighborhood high school, advanced to the next phase of a major national funding competition today, and is now in the running for a $10 million grant from The Super School Project to reimagine the American high school.

The Super School Project is a $50 million national challenge sponsored by the XQ Institute, which issued a national call for ideas on how to reimagine high school instruction to work with the 21st century global economy.  As a semi-finalist, Sullivan is a national leader revolutionizing how students learn, and then apply their knowledge and skills in the real world.  At the end of the XQ Challenge, five schools across the country will receive $10 million each in financial support, and be recognized as an example of innovation and effectiveness for other schools to emulate.

Along with the strong support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS leadership, Sullivan’s Principal Chad Adams has partnered with Thrive Chicago, a collective impact organization that helped bring key stakeholders to the table, and more than 20 education non-profits to develop its XQ application, as well as a roadmap for the school for years to come.

“I want to congratulate our students, teachers, parents and staff at Sullivan for their hard work and progress in the classroom, and for this latest acknowledgement, which demonstrates what is possible when we work together to celebrate the diversity which makes Chicago stronger,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Sullivan is a strong example of what we can achieve when our communities embrace diversity and innovation, and join together to help our children succeed in the classroom.”

“Sullivan is a testament to the power of a community coming together to help those students who face some of the steepest obstacles to success,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Sullivan’s accomplishments demonstrate that strong leadership and innovative thinking can change a student’s destiny. We want to encourage inventive instruction across the entire District, not just because our world is changing so rapidly, but because each student has a unique potential to unlock.”

“Today’s announcement is not only a moment to celebrate Sullivan but to celebrate all the nonprofits, agencies and foundations that came together to lend their expertise and develop this application with Sullivan’s students, teachers and leaders,” said Sandra Abrevaya, President of Thrive Chicago. “Thrive is thrilled to bring these stakeholders together in support of Sullivan and we look forward to Sullivan XQ becoming a national example of success.”

Sullivan is one of the most diverse schools in Chicago. Its student body is 41 percent Hispanic, 39 percent African American, 13 percent Asian, 93 percent low income, 24 percent special education needs and, most remarkably, 34 percent English language learners that come from more than 35 countries speaking 20 unique languages. Sullivan’s students face particularly daunting challenges as many come to Chicago as refugees fleeing crime, war or poverty in their home country.

At Sullivan, it’s not enough to just pass courses. The school has created an environment where students are able to grow according to their own personalized learning plans that are tailored to their needs. Flexible environments allow students to embrace new methods like digital learning and project-based learning designed to solve real world problems affecting their community.

As a semi-finalist, Sullivan must propose the best way to implement its plan to improve its operations.  Sullivan is striving to find and attract talent, measure results and remain fiscally sustainable. If chosen as a recipient of the $10 million grant (paid over five years), Sullivan will expand its offerings and further develop its community support programs that help scholars build professional skills that open doors to careers based on their choice, rather than their circumstances.

The XQ Institute and the Super School Project are supported by the Emerson Collective, which invests in education organizations across the country. Final awards are expected to be made in August. For more information about the challenge, visit xqsuperschool.org.

Thrive Chicago is a collective impact initiative that works to align efforts by service providers, city agencies, funding organizations, and non-profits around outcomes that are proven to help children succeed from cradle to career.

Chicago Public Schools serves 392,000 students in 660 schools. It is the nation's third-largest school district.

Page Last Modified on Monday, April 11, 2016