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Annual CPS School Ratings Maintain Improvements Throughout City

26 October 2018

Number of Schools Requiring Intensive Support Reduced by Nearly Half Since the 2015-2016 School Year

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
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CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today released School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) results for the 2018-2019 school year, which shows that 80 percent of CPS schools achieved the highest three quality ratings this year, compared to 80 percent last year and 68 percent in the 2014-15 school year, the first year of SQRP. Data published today also shows that the number of CPS schools requiring intensive support has been reduced by nearly half, dropping from 108 during the 2015-16 school year to 57 this year, indicating that more schools are improving and able to operate with greater autonomy.

“Chicago Public Schools is making historic progress, and Chicago’s students are national leaders in academic gains,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “By elevating our vision for success, strengthening partnerships between schools and communities, and investing in the success of Chicago’s children we are furthering our shared goal of ensuring high-quality schools for every student in the city.”

“As our schools achieve unprecedented academic gains, we will continue to build upon that success by evaluating the practices behind those monumental gains and tackling the areas of improvement," said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. "The number of schools that require intensive support has been nearly cut in half over the past three years, which speaks to the tremendous efforts and commitment of schools, communities, and parents across the city. We will continue to leverage data and work closely with our educators and families to identify opportunities for additional support so that every school in every neighborhood is on the path to success."

SQRP provides parents and families with a transparent and easy-to-use overview of school quality. The rating includes an analysis of a comprehensive set of data including student growth, performance, school culture and climate, graduation rates, attendance rates, and progress among priority student groups, among other criteria. SQRP data also allows the district to uniformly assess where schools may need additional supports.

School Standing Status
Based on the SQRP ratings, the number of district-run schools in good standing increased compared to last year, and the number of schools on intensive support decreased to the lowest number of schools since SQRP was adopted, with 10 percent of district schools moving to a higher accountability tier. Based on the 2018-19 SQRP ratings:

  • 398 schools are in good standing;
  • 66 schools will receive provisional support; and
  • 57 schools will receive intensive support.

By differentiating levels of school standing, CPS can group schools based on supports needed to cultivate success. Schools in good standing are granted greater autonomy on school improvement planning and school budgets to encourage the positive achievement these schools have demonstrated. Schools receiving provisional support benefit from additional supports to propel them in the right direction, potentially including the development of a new school improvement plan and professional development. And schools receiving intensive support, which represents the schools most in need of supplemental support and oversight, receive more substantial interventions to rapidly improve educational quality.

Performance Rating Breakdowns
CPS uses five performance ratings to measure a school’s rating: Levels 1+, 1, and 2+ (Good Standing), Level 2 (Provisional Support), and Level 3 (Intensive Support). Ratings released today show the district is now home to:

  • 185 Level 1+ schools;
  • 166 Level 1 schools;
  • 164 Level 2+ schools;
  • 119 Level 2 schools; and
  • 8 Level 3 schools.

A comparison to last year’s ratings shows a slight increase of schools rated in the three highest tiers, and a decrease in the number of Level 1+ and Level 1 - indicating that overall quality ratings have remained steady, but more targeted academic support will be needed in order to ensure schools have the support needed to continue to improve academically. While each school’s individual circumstances differ, some trends emerged among rating changes:

  • Some elementary schools did not meet growth norms for NWEA scores, even as students’ actual scores for the district overall rose in math.
  • While PSAT/SAT attainment remained fairly stable, cohort growth measures reverted back to its original weight of 30 percent (from 15 percent), which negatively impacted SQRP scores at the high school level as schools continue to adjust to the new assessment.

In order to improve upon these areas, CPS has adopted a variety of strategies to encourage continued academic progress, such as the creation of dedicated high school networks, providing targeted supports to the highest needs schools, and emphasizing data analysis to help school leaders better understand and address student performance.

Charter Warning List
As part of today’s school ratings release, CPS also updated its charter Warning List to identify charter schools that need to make significant improvements to remain in good standing and continue operating in the district. The following five charter schools have been placed on the 2018-19 Warning List based on their performance last year:

  • Acero - Paz
  • Chicago Virtual Charter School
  • Chicago Collegiate
  • Frazier Charter School
  • Montessori Englewood

Based on the charter accountability policy that the Board of Education passed in 2015 and the renewal criteria for contract schools, the following three schools could be considered for closure as a result of their status on the Warning List last year and their performance in previous years:

  • Kwame Nkrumah (charter school eligible for non-renewal)
  • Plato (contract school eligible for closure)
  • Urban Prep West (charter school eligible for revocation)

For charter and contract schools that could be closed as a result of their SQRP ratings, CPS is closely evaluating the performance record for each of the three schools that are eligible for closure and will make a recommendation in the coming weeks to the Board of Education regarding the future status of each school.

Chicago Public Schools serves 361,000 students in 644 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

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