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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 $50 million in new high-quality programming at 54 schools across the district through this process, affecting nearly 27,000 students.

The 2021 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 third year of 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

CPS is seeking proposals from elementary and high school leaders requesting the addition of specific academic programs in their schools. The information, forms, and support tools needed to complete this application can be found in the three tabs on this site:

  • Timeline - This tab provides a timeline of the RFP process.
  • Program Overviews and RFP Resources - This tab provides an overview of each program to which you can apply, and additional resources for school communities.
  • Community Events - This tab provides a list of outreach events and links to register.

Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent (LOI) application and accompanying documents should be emailed to no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2021.

RFP Evaluation

Phase 1 Evaluation Criteria

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.

Phase 2 Evaluation Criteria

In Phase 2 of the RFP, applicants will be evaluated based upon readiness to implement the desired program with fidelity.  Applicants will be evaluated both on their written proposal as well as through a virtual site visit by program-specific experts.


Activity Proposed Date Information and Updates
Letter of Intent (Phase 1) Released January 13, 2021
Community Engagement Events

January 21, 2021, 
January 26, 2021

Please review the Community Events section for specific times and registration details.
Letter of Intent (Phase 1) Due February 5, 2021 Letter of Intent and accompanying materials due by 5pm to
Notification of Phase 1 Outcomes
February 19, 2021 Applicant schools will be notified via email of LOI results
Release Full RFP (Phase 2) February 19, 2021 Phase 2 RFP will be released to Invited schools
RFP Due March 19, 2021  
Evaluation / Site Visit Period March 19 - April 16, 2021  
Program Award Announcements May 5, 2021 Announce Program Focus awards
Program Incubation Begins
July 2021  

CPS reserves the right to request additional information and documentation from applicants, as deemed necessary for review, and to amend this timeline as needed.