About the ARA | Chicago Public Schools
About the ARA
Get informed. Use it to act. Explore the latest data on public schools in Chicago.
What Is It?
The ARA is a series of reports providing information on CPS enrollment, student demographics, school quality, school choice, and program offerings from the current academic year. The purpose of each report is to ensure that both CPS leadership and citywide community members are working from the same set of information about schools and the communities they serve. The reports bring together publicly available data in one format, but do not make recommendations or action steps so they can serve as a neutral input to inform community engagement and joint solution development. This allows the district and communities to have a more substantive and focused dialogue on the needs of local schools and areas for improvement.
The ARA is directly connected to the district’s Five-Year Vision, as it allows us to promote integrity and transparency with communities and families while improving equity in our school offerings. CPS working collaboratively with communities based on this information will support the district’s mission of providing a high-quality public education for every child, in every neighborhood, that prepares each for success in college, career and civic life.
What's In It?
The ARA is comprised of a district overview report and 16 regional reports aligned to the city planning department’s Chicago Neighborhoods Now initiative. The regions were created by the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development based on research on housing and jobs. They are defined with natural boundaries, such as rivers and railroads, in mind. These elements and transportation options are likely considerations for families in choosing schools. With the goal of utilizing a consistent structure year to year, these regions are more stable than city wards and school networks.
Each report has four sections:
Provides information on the school quality ratings of all schools in a region in the last four years.
Provides information on public school student population trends and total available seats.
Provides information on whether students are choosing to attend school in their region (an indication of the availability of attractive options).
Provides information on the types of schools and programs offered.
Within each report, the ARA pulls its foundational data from the following resources:
The CPS School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP) is the district's policy for measuring annual school performance. Each school receives a quality rating each year, Level 1+, 1, 2+, 2 and 3.
02. Census Data
The ARA utilizes population figures and other demographic data such as household income as provided by the most current United States Census Bureau estimates.
03. Utilization Data
Utilization is a metric expressed as the ideal capacity and enrollment efficiency of the total number of instructional classrooms available in the main/permanent building of a school.
Birth rate data are sourced through the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The ARA Glossary
For more detailed explanations of each term and links to their source data sites, visit the ARA Glossary.
There are multiple ways to view the ARA reports, depending on your preferred method of viewing and the level of detail you are seeking:
01. Web Reports
The full text and data for the 2020-21 district overview and each of the 16 regions are available as live text reports on this website. There is no need to download anything, just select the report you want to view and scroll to explore its information. You can also select from multiple foreign language options and immediately translate the information.
02. PDF Reports
The full 2020-21 district overview report is available as a downloadable PDF. There are also two-page summary PDF versions of the 2020-21 district overview and all 16 regions. These are the best resources for those wanting a high level, quick view of ARA data. PDF reports are available in English and Spanish, and select other languages.
Each year, CPS collects feedback from community organizations and individuals to improve the content and structure of the ARA.
Among many additions and refinements, improvements to the 2020-21 ARA include:
An analysis of the consistency of school quality over time
New data on the physical and social emotional health achievements in our schools
Information on progress towards early college and career goals
Access to an interactive data dashboard that allows user to filter and compare data according to what they are most interested in
Regional reports translated into additional languages [Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Polish, and Urdu] based on community need
CPS would like to thank Kids First Chicago for their continued partnership in producing the Annual Regional Analysis. Kids First Chicago (K1C) is an education nonprofit that works to ensure that every family and child in Chicago has access to a high-quality education. Their work focuses on empowering families to identify, navigate to, and advocate for quality public schools for their children and communities -- supported by facts. CPS' Planning and Data Management department works closely with K1C each year, utilizing their existing analytical framework and community engagement expertise to plan for and develop the ARA.