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CPS School Ratings Show Academic Quality Remains Strong Throughout the City

20 October 2017

Number of Schools in Good Standing Increased This Year; CPS Also Releases Charter Warning List, Including Potential Closures

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
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Friday, October 20, 2017

CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools today published School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) results for the 2017-18 school year, which show that 80 percent of CPS schools achieved the highest schools quality levels this year. In the first year of this SQRP model, 68 percent of schools received the three highest quality ratings. Data published today also shows an increase in the number of schools moving out of Intensive Support and into Good Standing, which indicates that more schools that can operate with greater autonomy than they had under Intensive Support.

As part of today’s school ratings release, CPS also updated its charter and contract school Warning List to identify charter and contract schools that need to make significant improvements to remain in good standing and continue operating in the district. The following six contract and charter schools have been placed on the 2017-18 Warning List based on their performance last year:
ACE Tech High School

  • CICS Washington Park
  • Kwame Nkrumah
  • North Lawndale – Collins
  • Plato
  • Urban Prep West
  • Based on the charter accountability policy that the Board of Education passed in 2015 and the renewal criteria for contract schools, the following four schools could be considered for closure as a result of their status on the Warning List this year and their performance in previous years:
    ACE Tech High School (eligible for revocation)
  • North Lawndale – Collins (eligible for non-renewal)
  • Urban Prep West (eligible for non-renewal)
  • Plato (contract school eligible for non-renewal)
  • “Our goal is to make sure that every public school in every neighborhood offers an excellent education, so that all Chicago students can have the opportunity to succeed in college and their careers,” said CEO Forrest Claypool. “Using data to show every school’s strengths and opportunities for improvement help all families and the community understand what we can all do together to improve.”

Because the ratings rely more heavily on metrics like growth instead of attainment, some fluctuations will occur from year to year, as schools build on their achievement gains and rates of growth change – and even as the district’s students continue to hit record rates of attainment.

“SQRP is a valuable asset for parents, administrators and the district to identify areas of improvement and recognize trends of excellence,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “We’re encouraged by the number of schools in good standing and will continue to find ways to implement evidence-based policies to help each student live up to their full potential.”

CPS uses SQRP to provide an overview of school quality by analyzing a comprehensive set of data encompassing student growth, performance, school culture and climate, graduation rates and attendance rates among other criteria. SQRP data allows CPS to assess school quality in a uniform manner to provide additional supports where they are needed while also providing families with a clear rating system to evaluate potential school options.

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 compared to last year. Currently, there are 395 schools in good standing, 61 schools receiving provisional support, and 67 schools receiving intensive support. The growth in schools in good standing is an encouraging trend that highlights the growing capacity of schools to operate at a high level.

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 in Provisional Support receive additional supports to propel them in the right direction, potentially including development of a new school improvement plan and professional development. And schools in Intensive Support, which represents the schools most in need for supplemental support and oversight, receive more substantial interventions to rapidly improve educational quality. Intensive supports provided to schools may include leadership change or a school turnaround.

Performance Ratings

CPS uses five performance ratings to measure a school’s success: 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:

  • 198 Level 1+ schools;
  • 175 Level 1 schools;
  • 137 Level 2+ schools;
  • 122 Level 2 schools; and
  • 9 Level 3 schools.

A comparison to last year’s ratings shows a 5 percent decrease in schools with ratings of Level 1+, 1 and 2+ schools, but a comparable increase in the number of schools in good standing overall, which grew by 5 percent.

While each school’s individual circumstances differ, decreases in a few components factored into the overall change.Overall, the district saw a decrease in attendance, driven by the Presidential Election, Day Without an Immigrant movement, labor strike uncertainty and Cubs playoffs.

  • Several small-sized elementary schools saw a slower rate of growth in their NWEA scores, even as students’ actual scores for the district overall rose.
  • Participation rates in several high schools in the 9th and 10th grade PSAT tests were below 95 percent, which SQRP penalizes.

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

While only nine schools (including charter schools) had a Level 3 SQRP rating, which directly qualifies for intensive support (down from 44 in the 2014-15 school year), the number of schools remaining in intensive support exceeds that number because removal from intensive support is typically a multi-year process to ensure schools are prepared to continue their performance gains.

Performance By School Type

The SQRP results showed that while school quality remains high throughout the city, district-run elementary schools have a higher average SQRP rating than charter-run schools, and charter-run high schools have a higher rating average than district run-schools. In total, the combined average SQRP score for district-run schools is .01 points higher than the combined average for charter schools.

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

Chicago Public Schools serves 371,000 students in 646 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.