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Introduction to the Toolkit

Over the past year, we have endured unprecedented challenges, tremendous loss and a demand for more community-driven solutions to make change.

During this time, representatives from every division of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) have worked to listen and learn from parents, caregivers, guardians, teachers, principals and community representatives across the city to better understand how communities can be more involved in planning for the future of their schools.

This led us to the development of the Reimagining with Community Toolkit.

We recognize that historically -- and far too often -- plans have been thrust onto communities rather than created by reimagining with communities.

By recognizing that each neighborhood and region is different, using the methods outlined in this toolkit will allow CPS to work closely with each community to plan for a future of learning that is inclusive and equitable.

Conversations with communities to build trust and heal will take place to lay the foundation for more meaningful, transparent and equitable planning. And, with your involvement, we believe the creation of this toolkit will provide us all a means for sustaining these efforts into the future.

This toolkit builds on the CPS Equity Framework, Elevated Chicago Principles and Recommendations and CPS’ Spectrum of Inclusive Partnerships, a tool to assist with transparency and trust.

Created using a human-centered design approach, the toolkit has nine modules with a total of 26 methods to help communities listen deeply to one another, frame challenges, make sense of information, and come up with ideas so they may be tested, improved upon and delivered from within the community.

Collaborative in nature, the toolkit is meant to serve as a building block to ensure all voices can be part of any process.

In fact, we have used many of the methods in this toolkit as tactics for creating it. We approached its development as an iterative process, testing it with CPS parents, Community Advisory Council (CAC) members and the CPS Family and Community Engagement (FACE) team in order to gain valuable feedback.

The process is still ongoing and will continue to be improved with community input. We invite you to explore the toolkit’s contents and email to share your feedback on the modules and methods, how you’re using them or ways we can improve.

We look forward to our continuing work together to create equitable opportunities for all school communities.

Chicago Public Schools
Office of Community Partnerships