CPS Elementary Students Make Gains in Literacy and Math for 2022-23 School Year
19 September 2023
District Investments in Interventionists, Counselors, Coaches, and Classroom and Curricular Enhancements Produce Highest Year-Over-Year Gains Since 2016
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CHICAGO School leaders, teachers, staff and students at Wendell E. Green Elementary School Tuesday showcased some of the strategies and practices that are helping the South side school make academic gains on state assessments, most noticeably in English Language Arts but also in math, at Green and across Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The District’s intentional focus on core classroom strategies, from adding an interventionist to support students at every school to adding lead instructional coaches to improve teaching practices, is helping elevate student academic growth on local and state assessments.
“Our students have demonstrated time and time again that they are able to achieve great things both in and outside our classrooms,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “Our investments in classroom resources, support, and instruction have yielded the biggest year-over-year gains since 2016 and I am incredibly proud of our students and educators for the growth our students have shown over the past year.”
Following classroom tours, CPS CEO Pedro Martinez and Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova joined Principal Tyrone Dowdell and Hale Elementary School Principal Dawn Iles-Gomez to talk about some of the most impactful classroom practices that are contributing to student academic growth. The 2022-23 Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) results show that CPS saw a nearly six (5.9) percentage point growth in students meeting or exceeding expectations on the English Language Arts (ELA) IAR exam, returning to pre-pandemic levels, and a nearly three percentage point gain (2.6) on the Math IAR. Overall, 428 out of 491 (87 percent) of elementary schools administering this assessment increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations in ELA while 359 out of 491 (73 percent) of schools increased the percentage of students meeting or exceeding expectations in math.
During the 2022-23 school year, CPS made strategic investments as part of the District’s Three-Year Blueprint to ensure that students had the resources and support to learn, grow, and succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. These investments included:
- Reducing class sizes by hiring additional teachers and paraprofessionals,
- Focusing on academic interventions with the support of interventionists at every school,
- Supporting student mental and physical health and wellbeing with the addition of nurses, social workers, counselors and other behavioral health supports,
- Expanding access to high-quality curriculum through the expansion of the District’s Skyline curriculum, and
- Increasing opportunities for teacher professional development.
These investments allowed educators and school leaders to enhance their practices and improve instruction and learning in math and literacy, resulting in strong growth in both ELA and math during the 2022-23 school years. The data show progress among certain populations, with Black and Asian students showing the strongest growth between 2021-22 and 2022-23, nearly returning to pre-pandemic performance levels.
“Our IAR results are a testament to our incredible educators and the hard work of our amazing students,” said Chief Education Officer Bogdana Chkoumbova. “While we are proud of the important progress students made over the last year, we know that we have a long way to go to eliminate achievement gaps and we will continue to prioritize equity, support for the whole student, and a holistic approach to education that taps into the enormous talent and potential of our students.”
There are several ways that CPS is providing targeted additional support and resources to schools in our most under-resourced neighborhoods. This includes adding instructional coaches, counselors and tutors to schools with the greatest needs for academic and social-emotional support. The District has also invested in more professional development for teachers that focuses on implementing grade level, standard-based unit training and support for developing identity, community, and relationships. Since last school year, CPS has added more than 170 special education teachers and more than 600 special education classroom assistants and the District’s 2023-24 budget will provide an unprecedented increase of more than $120 million specifically to the Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (ODLSS) to equip ODLSS teams and educators with the resources and support they need to provide a high-quality education for Diverse Learners.
Today’s visit to Wendell Green Elementary School included a tour of two classrooms, including a 3rd and 4th grade math classroom and a 5th and 6th grade English language arts classroom. Principal Dowdell showcased the strength of his educators and the school’s intentional focus on building transferable problem-solving and writing skills that students can use in school and in life. The tour also highlighted the work of the school’s Lead coach, Tasheba Thompson, who works directly with teachers in the classroom to improve instructional practices.
In the past year, 268 District-run schools have added a lead coach solely dedicated to developing teacher pedagogy. Coaches work with teachers and other staff to strengthen current instructional practices and ensure student engagement. CPS Lead coaches provide teachers with data-driven instructional coaching and consulting to help improve classroom instruction. Together, coaches and teachers analyze and then make data-driven decisions as to what a teacher can do to drive student learning.
“I want to thank our District leaders for investing in the development of lead coaches and interventionists for our schools, while also providing support for Instructional Leadership Team summits, high-quality curriculum selection, and robust professional development for teachers, especially in the area of curriculum,” said Green Elementary Principal Dowdell. “These supports and the hard work and dedication of our students and staff produced strong growth at Green last year and we are looking forward to continuing that success this school year.”
To support core instructional priorities, CPS allocated an additional $72 million for teaching positions for every District-managed school during the 2022-23 school, including staffing an interventionist at every school. School-based interventionists, like Teresa Martinez Garcia at Hale Elementary, ensure that students receive academic support and interventions that meet their unique skill needs. Interventionists work with teachers and the school’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) team to analyze student data, understand student needs, and implement intervention plans aligned with those needs.
CPS launched Skyline, the District’s universal PreK-12 curriculum in 2021 to ensure educators had access to high-quality curriculum and resources, both online and in the classroom. Since its launch, Skyline has been adopted by more than 470 schools, with curriculum developed in collaboration with hundreds of CPS educators. For the 2023-24 school year, Skyline curriculum is available in math, English language arts, Spanish language arts/artes del lenguaje del español, science, social science, world language, and college and career preparation.
Hale Elementary Principal Iles-Gomez credits the work of her educators and interventionists and the school’s adoption of Skyline for mathematics for her students’ academic progress during the 2022-23 school year.
“Adding interventionists to our classrooms allowed teachers to continue teaching while adding opportunities for students to receive additional support to close learning gaps exacerbated by remote learning,” said Hale Elementary Principal Iles-Gomez. “By building meaningful connections with our students and using research-based interventions, Hale students have built the skills and confidence they need to succeed in our classrooms and our community.”
The District’s academic recovery efforts also include intentional investments in social-emotional learning resources and services. During the 2022-23 school year, CPS invested more than $30 million in social-emotional learning and this year the District has allocated more than $35 million to social and emotional learning curriculum, behavioral health supports for students, and additional social workers and counselors.
The IAR is Illinois’ statewide assessment for general education students in grades three through eight. Learn more about the IAR by visiting the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) website. To view CPS data, visit CPS’ Data Reports website.
About Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is dedicated to providing a high-quality education to all students, beginning with the District’s free full-day preschool programming for four-year-old scholars and continuing through neighborhood, magnet and selective-enrollment elementary schools that provide a rigorous K-8 education with schools that specialize in the fine arts, world language and culture, dual language, STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB), classical programs, and more. The rising District-wide freshmen-on-track and high school graduation rates reflect the hard work of the CPS community, including families, staff, and students across 635 schools. CPS celebrates the diversity of its more than 322,000 students who cite 182 home languages. Learn more about CPS at www.cps.edu and connect with CPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.