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CPS Launches Extensive Stakeholder Engagement Process to Develop New System for Measuring School Quality

17 February 2021

District Launches Stakeholder Engagement Process to Help Develop District’s New School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP); Advisory Group Comprised of Diverse Stakeholders Will Develop and Propose Revised Policy in Spring 2022 Based on Stakeholder Feedback 

Note: The list of working group members has been updated as of 3-24-21

CPS Office of Communications

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Website: www.cps.edu
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CHICAGO— Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced the launch of an extensive, multi-year engagement effort to create a new system for measuring school quality that is informed by the ideas, insights, and perspectives of diverse education stakeholders. In order to engage the public, the district is holding targeted engagement sessions with existing CPS-stakeholder groups — such as Community Action Councils (CACs), Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) and Local School Councils (LSCs) — launching district-wide stakeholder meetings, issuing surveys, and holding stakeholder-specific focus groups and workshops. To ensure the proposed policy reflects feedback and includes diverse stakeholder voices, the district is also launching an advisory group that will develop and propose the new policy, which will be rooted in community feedback. The new policy will be presented to the Board of Education for consideration in spring 2022, with the first school ratings under the new system released in the fall of 2023 (for SY22-23).   

“Measuring school quality through equitable, standardized criteria provides families with objective and accessible information and allows the district to more comprehensively monitor individual and district academic progress,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “With unprecedented disruption to learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, now more than ever, our policy must focus on quality and equity to ensure we accurately capture the academic impact on students. We look forward to launching this unprecedented stakeholder engagement process as we re-develop our accountability system to make it as effective, equitable and responsive to the needs of communities and schools as possible.”

In November 2019, the district announced it would be working with a variety of stakeholders, community members, parents and school leaders to develop a new accountability system that builds upon the district’s goal of providing every student with access to a high-quality education while promoting equity and inclusion. With SQRP suspended during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district has been using this time to design a robust engagement process to reimagine how accountability functions in CPS. This process is in direct response to stakeholder feedback the district received during the 2019-20 school year, gathered from surveys, focus groups and various stakeholder meetings in which over 4,500 teachers, principals, parents and other stakeholders offered their perspectives on the current school rating system. 

The district is committed to ensuring that the redesigned accountability system is more responsive to the needs of different stakeholders, especially students, families and instructional leaders. As such, the key goals of the redesign process go beyond traditional school ratings to include:

  • Providing A More Complete Picture of School Performance and Progress: The advisory group will seek to define and develop a more comprehensive representation of the ways in which schools have improved and are effectively serving the needs of their diverse student populations. 

  • Bolstering District Capacity to Support Schools: The new system will include a way to measure school performance to account for differences in school context and resourcing. 

  • Providing Clear Information to Parents and the Public: The district believes that information on school quality and other data should be accessible, complete, and understandable to all stakeholders. 

  • Evaluating and Reporting on District Effectiveness: Recognizing shared responsibility for the success of schools, the new accountability system will also develop and report measures of district effectiveness that will enable conversations about district accountability.

Advisory Group Representing Diverse Perspectives

To ensure that multiple viewpoints continue to be incorporated into district policy making, the district is launching an advisory group composed of diverse, representative voices to consider stakeholder feedback and propose an improved accountability system that builds upon the district’s commitment to equity and national best practices. Advisory group members include parents, student representatives, teachers, principals, Board of Education members, and accountability experts from UChicago Consortium on School Research and UIC’s Center for Urban Education Leadership. A full list of members can be found below.

“Our top priority is ensuring the district’s new measurement is equitable and takes into account the ways in which schools make academic progress from a holistic lens,” said CPS Chief Education Officer LaTanya D. McDade. “Engaging families, critical stakeholders and experts is paramount to this process and we are excited to launch this unprecedented engagement process.” 

The advisory group will review materials, research proposals on system designs, ensure the incorporation of parent, educator, and other stakeholder feedback, and provide recommendations for how it believes the district should redesign its accountability system. Out of a commitment to openness and transparency in the district’s decision-making process, materials from these meetings will be available to the public via https://www.cps.edu/strategic-initiatives/accountability-redesign

Earlier this month, the district began holding small-group conversations with key CPS stakeholder groups such as PACs, LSC members and CACs. In March 2021, the district will hold four citywide town halls that will be simultaneously aired in Spanish. The goal of these small and large group discussions is to create a baseline understanding of the history and purpose of school accountability while also collecting initial feedback from a broad set of stakeholders across the city. 

Virtual Town Hall Dates: 

After initial feedback meetings, the district will engage in a set of deeper, more intensive engagement through stakeholder-specific focus groups, surveys, workshops and other research and data collection. The perspectives, input, and ideas generated through these discussions will be presented to the advisory group on a frequent, ongoing basis and ultimately reflected in the final proposed policy developed by the advisory group. 

Members of the Advisory Group:

  • Board of Education Representatives

    • Sendhil Revuluri, Vice President, Chicago Board of Education

    • Amy Rome, Member, Chicago Board of Education

  • CPS School Representatives:

    • Barton Dassinger, Principal, Chavez Multicultural Academic Center Elementary School

    • Marquita Jones, Special Education Teacher, Phoenix Military Academy High School

    • Josh Long, Principal, Southside Occupational Academy High School

    • Juan Carlos Ocon, Principal, Juarez Community Academy High School

    • Terea Peoples, Principal, Till Math and Science Academy

    • Rodolfo Rojas, Principal, Everett Elementary School

    • Rashid Shabazz, Principal, Wadsworth Elementary School

    • Michelle Velez, Teacher, De Diego Elementary Community Academy

  • Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) Representative

    • Paula Barajas, Special Education Teacher & English as a Second Language Teacher
  • CPS Parent/LSC Representatives:

    • Nastassia Ballard, Parent, Libby Elementary School

    • Vanessa Espinosa, Parent, Gunsaulus Elementary Scholastic Academy

    • Darlene O’Banner, Family/LSC Member, Earle Elementary School

  • CPS Student Representatives:

    • Sofia Fatima, CPS Student, Amundsen High School

    • Luz Mayancela, CPS Student, Westinghouse College Prep

  • Charter Stakeholders:

    • Kyle Cole, Chief Academic Officer, Noble Charter Schools

    • Michael Salmonowicz, VP Operations, KIPP Chicago

    • Melissa Sweazy, Principal, Esmeralda Santiago Elementary School

  • Academic and Community Group Representatives: 

    • Areulia Davis, Member, North Lawndale CAC
    • John Q. Easton, Senior Fellow, UChicago Consortium

    • Natalie Neris, Chief of Community Engagement, Kids First Chicago

    • James Patrick, Member, Greater Bronzeville CAC
    • Cata Truss, Member, Austin CAC
    • Paul Zavikovsky, CUEL Developer (Continuous Improvement and Leader Development) and Policy Advocate, Center for Urban Education Leadership, UIC

  • District and City Representatives: 

    • Julie Burnett, Director, K-16 Policy at City of Chicago

    • Ada Gomero, Equity Data Specialist, CPS

    • Julious Lawson, Chief, Network 11, CPS 

    • Laura Lemone, Chief, Network 14, CPS

    • Richard Smith, Deputy Chief for Small High Schools, CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 341,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.