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Reimagining

The strategies contained in the Recommitment section of our Blueprint are essential to support our students’ recovery from the pandemic in the immediate term and set them up for future success. But the bottom line is that these recommitments on their own will not be enough to eradicate persistent opportunity gaps and address longstanding challenges in our District. We need to Reimagine what is possible for our District and work together to co-create solutions for our students and families.

Our Challenges

Our District is facing major challenges that have been made more difficult over the past few years. When it comes to academic progress, our students' proficiency has declined overall. They have dealt with persistent and widening opportunity gaps and a wide variance in student experiences from school to school.

From a financial and operational standpoint, CPS is experiencing an enrollment decline, and we have aging facilities that require a comprehensive plan for improvement; all the while, CPS has been severely underfunded by the State of Illinois, and federal emergency pandemic relief funds are set to expire in FY2025.

And when it comes to building trust, CPS has work to do in recognizing the lived experiences of our families and being more transparent in our decision-making.

Students performing a science experiment

Our Challenges

Our District is facing major challenges that have been made more difficult over the past few years. When it comes to academic progress, our students' proficiency has declined overall. They have dealt with persistent and widening opportunity gaps and a wide variance in student experiences from school to school.

From a financial and operational standpoint, CPS is experiencing an enrollment decline, and we have aging facilities that require a comprehensive plan for improvement; all the while, CPS has been severely underfunded by the State of Illinois, and federal emergency pandemic relief funds are set to expire in FY2025.

And when it comes to building trust, CPS has work to do in recognizing the lived experiences of our families and being more transparent in our decision-making.

Priority Areas to Reimagine

Solving these challenges will require us to do the critical work of Reimagining. We know that solutions cannot be dictated from the top down; they must be grown from the bottom up. So throughout this process, we have engaged our students, families, teachers, leaders, partners, and community members, asking for their input on the areas we should prioritize. These are the areas that our communities have deemed to be the most important for CPS to Reimagine:

  • Improve our approach to accountability to account for historical and systemic inequity while providing stakeholders with the information they need.
  • Redesign our admissions and enrollment policies and processes to ensure that they are responsive, accessible, and equitable for all families.
  • Intentionally involve stakeholders as inclusive partners in reinvesting in and planning for the future of schools in their community.
  • Design responsive programming and school models specifically for students who are furthest from educational opportunities.
  • Provide career readiness and preparation to all students in grades 6-12 through career awareness and exploration, real-world learning, and early college opportunities.
  • Serve students with diverse learning needs to ensure that all students access positive, inclusive, and rewarding academic and extra-curricular experiences.
  • Design a continuous, connected system of Pre-K - 2 early literacy supports, and partner with families to ensure that every child is a proficient reader by third grade.
  • Ensure that all students develop spoken and written proficiency in a second language.
  • Ensure grading policies, procedures, and practices are consistent, equitable, and transparent.
  • Elevate Out-of-School Time and summer programming as a critical extension of the school day and year, offering all students responsive and engaging experiences.
Some of these areas will require major system-wide changes and bold new ideas; others will require us to make simple but impactful improvements to the student experience. But they are all interconnected and will all contribute to a better experience for families across our District.
This work will continue to be driven by community feedback. We will continue to engage with our communities on these topics to understand the issues and root causes, work to generate and test new ideas with key stakeholders, and ultimately deliver results.

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Getting Involved

In order to arrive at the best solutions, we need the voices of those who are most impacted to be central in the process. Schools and communities are experts in their lived experiences — and our solutions must respond to those lived experiences. We want to encourage students, families, teachers, leaders, partners, and community members to get involved with co-creating solutions to longstanding challenges in our District.

If you are interested in getting involved, please fill out the form below so that we can contact you with opportunities to engage with CPS on these important issues. For more information on the methods and activities CPS uses for community engagement, visit our Reimagining With Communities Toolkit.

Get involved