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Academic Program Request for Proposal (RFP)

At Chicago Public Schools (CPS), our vision for success is for every student in every neighborhood to be engaged in a rigorous, well-rounded instructional program that prepares them for success in college, career, and life.

The district has focused on strengthening neighborhood schools with high-quality academic programming since 2011. Since the inaugural 2018 Academic Program Focus Request for Proposals (RFP), Chicago Public Schools has committed over $57 million in new high-quality programming at 61schools across the district through this process, affecting nearly 31,000 students.

The RFP continues to put the voice of our school communities front and center. Through this process, schools are able to submit proposals requesting the addition of specific academic programs in their schools. In this process, the district seeks to maintain integrity in district decision making, provide even greater transparency and clarity into how academic programs are added to schools, and increase access to high-quality academic programming across the district.

The district will give careful consideration to applications that address an access gap and a programmatic need; have the appropriate entry criteria and plan for implementation; and demonstrate clear support from the school administration, local school council, students, and parents. Schools that apply but are not chosen will be given clear, objective rationale, as well as areas of improvement so they can focus on strengthening structures to ensure successful program implementation.

SY21 Request for Proposals

For the 2021-2022 school year, the district is pausing the Academic Program RFP process to focus on the district’s COVID response, including the work of Moving Forward Together and implementation of the Skyline curriculum. This operational pause will ensure that school communities experiencing particular hardship due to COVID-19 are not disparately affected by not having the time resources to focus on an application.

In addition, this pause will enable the district to conduct a review of academic program access across the city. In the future, the Academic Program RFP process can be aligned to other opportunities, including:

  • Moving Forward Together funds;
  • Implementation of Continuous Improvement and Vision Collaborative processes;
  • Mapping of College and Career Access assets;
  • Development of coherent CTE pathways; and
  • A deliberate alignment of CIWP processes to academic and operational investments.

Please stay tuned for our next opportunity to apply for programming through the Academic Program RFP.

For school communities interested in a new academic program, we are always happy to hear from you and discuss the steps you can take in the meantime. Please reach out to to schedule time to meet with us, and otherwise refer to these program overviews:

RFP Evaluation

Phase 1: Letter of Intent

In Phase 1, applicants are required to submit a brief letter of intent (using a provided form) that details the school community’s support for the program and how the requested program aligns with the school’s mission and vision. Applicants are also expected to explain how data, including Annual Regional Analysis data, supports a need for the program in the school and broader community. In the letter of intent phase, applicants must provide signed letters of support from their LSC Chair and Network Chief with their submission.

Applying schools are highly encouraged to utilize resources provided on this webpage to learn more about their desired program and how data (including the Annual Regional Analysis, CPS District Data and existing programmatic access data) support their proposal.

In Phase 1 of the RFP, applicants must demonstrate school and community alignment in support of the desired program. In this Phase, each applicant school will be analyzed to determine the need for support based on resource equity and the need for added availability of programming based on access to similar programming. Applicants meeting the evaluation criteria in Phase 1 will be advanced to RFP Phase 2, the full application process.

Please note that schools may only apply for one program in any given RFP cycle.

Phase 2: Application Process

In Phase 2 of the RFP, applicants are required to submit a comprehensive written proposal in response to the Academic Focus RFP application. Schools that submit a full written proposal in Phase 2 also will participate in a site visit with RFP evaluators. The written proposal and site visit will require applicants to demonstrate their plans and readiness to implement the requested program with fidelity.

CPS reserves the right to modify RFP expectations and requirements as needed to ensure alignment with the RFP goals of equitably increasing programmatic access and promoting best practices in high-quality program implementation.


Please note we cannot accept RFP submissions outside of the official application window.