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Mayor Emanuel and CPS Launch Visionary Process to Create ‘IB Neighborhoods’ and Expand Proven Academic Programs

14 September 2018

Following Significant and Proven Academic Investments, CPS Creates Formal School-Based Application to Meet Citywide Demand;
New Annual Regional Analysis Will Provide Data-Driven Overview of Current Offerings and Opportunities for Investment

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
Facebook: chicagopublicschools

Friday, September 14, 2018

CHICAGO - To build on the nation’s largest network of International Baccalaureate (IB) schools and meet increasing demand throughout the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson today announced a plan to establish “IB Neighborhoods” and ensure all students can choose IB instruction from kindergarten through high school in their own communities.

To ensure the IB expansion is successful, CPS is establishing a formal application process for schools to submit proposals to add IB or other proven academic pathways, including STEM, World Language, Fine and Performing Arts, and Career and Technical Education programs, among others. Through this initiative, which is part of the district’s long-term strategy to improve academics for students from all demographics, increase equity and transparency, and expand access to high-quality academic programs in every part of the city, schools can apply for high-quality programmatic investments.

“Over the past seven years, Chicago students have made unprecedented academic gains and this investment will build a lasting infrastructure at CPS to expand what works in every neighborhood,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Whether it’s expanding free preschool to all the city’s 4-year-olds or ending the shortest school day and school year or creating the largest International Baccalaureate network in the country, Chicago’s schools are stronger than ever and we’ve laid the foundation for their bright future.”

For many neighborhood schools, offering IB has revitalized interest and enrollment – along with propelling academic successes.

“Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, we have worked relentlessly to strengthen our schools and expand access to the proven academic programming that is helping our students reach their potential,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “Our vision for Chicago Public Schools is a school system that offers families in every neighborhood the high-quality academic programming they want for their children. By utilizing an objective process that will empower school communities to apply for the academic investments of their choice, we will expand the reach of high-quality programming, strengthen schools in all parts of the city, and work toward our goal of eliminating the opportunity gap.”

Creating IB Neighborhoods Throughout Chicago
Since 2011, Mayor Emanuel and CPS have expanded IB to high schools and elementary schools around the city, creating the nation’s largest IB network and revitalizing neighborhood schools. CPS is home to 56 IB schools (22 high schools and 34 elementary schools) serving more than 16,000 students.

To ensure that every family in Chicago has access to IB programs from elementary to high school in their own community, Mayor Emanuel and CPS are committed to investing in additional IB programs to create IB Neighborhoods throughout the city. IB Neighborhoods will consist of elementary feeder schools and high school options within the community, so that students can begin IB at a young age and engage with the rigorous program in their own community through graduation.

International Baccalaureate Expansion Since 2011

CPS is investing in IB programming throughout the city because it has led to improved academic outcomes for students in a variety of ways. Under Mayor Emanuel’s administration:

The number of students taking IB exams has nearly tripled since 2011, growing from 740 to 2,006 students in 2017;

  • The number of IB exams taken increased by more than 168 percent; and
  • The success rate on IB exams – scores of “4” or above, triggering college credit – has increased from 45.9 percent in 2010 to 54.6 percent in 2017.

As participation in IB has grown, so has student success. Recently finalized data also shows that students in IB programmes have rates of graduation 97.5%, college enrollment 88.3%, and college persistence 82.9% that far exceed state and national averages.

Empowering Schools to Offer High-Quality Academics
During the past seven years, the district has put a tremendous focus on helping neighborhood schools offer IB, STEM, and other high-quality programs, along with a massive expansion of dual-credit programs and investments in vocational training opportunities.

Beginning at the end of this month, elementary and high schools can start the application process for the following programmatic investments:

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE),
  • Fine & Performing Arts
  • Gifted
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Magnet
  • STEM
  • World Language

During the application process, CPS will work with interested schools to help them develop and submit successful proposals. The district will support all high-quality applications that address a programmatic need, have a strong implementation plan, and have the clear support of the school administration, LSC 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.

Letters of Intent will be due in late October and CPS will review all proposals and announce the successful applications in the spring of 2019.

Before implementing this formal application process, CPS evaluated opportunities on a school-by-school basis to determine programmatic need and schools’ ability to successfully implement programming – a process that has led to tremendous academic improvements for every demographic group in the city and has dramatically increased the demand for and interest in academic programs.

That success generated widespread interest, and CPS piloted an RFP process last year to manage incoming requests and evaluate the city’s overall programmatic landscape. Through the pilot RFP, CPS selected five schools in March to receive new IB programs and three schools to receive new Early College STEM High School programs. The new application process formalizes and streamlines best practices to ensure the district is prioritizing equitable access, while ensuring quality programming in all communities continues to thrive.

Identifying Opportunities for Additional Investment
To identify opportunities for additional investment and develop a transparent and equitable investment process, the district developed its first-ever Annual Regional Analysis (ARA), a fact-based report developed by CPS and Kids First Chicago to empower communities with objective school-level and regional education data.

The ARA is designed to ensure all stakeholders operate from the same transparent set of information, as well as objectively assess education in their communities. The effort is meant to ensure stakeholders and the district can work collaboratively to create opportunities.

ARA Feedback from Community Stakeholders:
CPS has already briefed more than 100 community groups on how this objective data can empower and guide their efforts to work with the district to help improve schools in their community. Community leaders offered the following statements on the value of this effort to better inform community members about the opportunities to strengthen their schools:

  • Dr. Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, Vice President and Executive Director of the Research and Policy Center for the Chicago Urban League: “Every child, no matter what their zip code, deserves to attend a quality school and get the preparation they need to be successful in today’s global economy. While we still have a lot of work to do in Chicago, we are optimistic because of the district’s transparency in sharing the Annual Regional Analysis and willingness to collaborate with parents, educators and community leaders who are already committed to Chicago’s kids and know what is needed on the ground. Together, we can lift up our communities and make Chicago even stronger by empowering parents, supporting teachers, and maintaining only the highest expectations for our kids.”
  • Daniel Anello, CEO of Kids First Chicago: "We cannot improve schools if we don’t all have the same facts on school performance and access driving our collective efforts. Positive change starts with transparency and a willingness to look at both our schools’ significant progress as well as where we still have room to improve, and that is exactly what the district has provided with the ARA. By sharing these data with communities throughout the city, the district is standing by their commitments to enhance transparency, listen to community members, and find new solutions that come directly from our neighborhoods.
  • Erendira Rendon, Vice President of Immigration Strategy for the Resurrection Project: “The ARA allows parents that work with organizations like the Resurrection Project to advocate for their schools at a grassroots level.”
  • Darnell Shields, Executive Director of Austin Coming Together: "Austin Coming Together is thrilled that CPS is making a real effort to present the latest data about the district to community groups all over the city. This is exactly the kind of transparency, communication and collaboration we need to improve the quality of schools in neighborhoods like Austin. We are just one of many community organizations that will be able to use this data to talk with local parents and educators and make more informed, strategic decisions to improve schools for our children. We commend CPS for their collaborative approach and willingness to not only share the information, but to work with local community leaders at the grassroots level — who know their needs best — on constructive solutions.

The ARA can be found at and will be updated annually to reflect updated district data.

Program Expansion Since 2011
Under Mayor Emanuel, CPS has made significant investments to boost access to high quality academic programming. Investments since the 2010-11 school year have resulted in:

  • 8,500 more students participating in IB
  • 8,000 more students enrolled in K-12 STEM schools
  • 3,400 more students enrolled in selective enrollment high schools
  • 2,900 more students participating in Dual Credit/Dual Enrollment
  • Nearly 7,000 more students taking AP exams
  • 450 more students enrolled in Classical programs 

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

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