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Accountability Redesign

What is Accountability Redesign?

As part of the district’s work to develop a new system for school quality, the accountability redesign initiative will engage our city’s education stakeholders to inform the creation of a new school accountability system to promote equity and excellence in our schools.

Why It's Needed

The district is committed to measuring student and school performance, and the district’s current school accountability system, School Quality Rating Policy (SQRP), has been a national exemplar about how to use data to inform school communities.However, we have heard feedback from our community that SQRP can be improved upon to better account for systemic inequities and optimized to support critical aspects of the district’s work. In response, the district will partner with our community to develop a new system to better serve school communities and the district.

Accountability Redesign Goals

Key goals of the new SQRP go beyond traditional school ratings to include:

Providing a more complete picture of school performance and progress:

The district has formed a new advisory group that will seek to better portray the various ways in which schools have improved and are serving the needs of their diverse student populations.

Improving the district’s capacity to support schools:

Effective accountability systems are tied to strong school support, and the new system should ensure that every school is effectively supported.

Providing clear information to parents and the public:

By better understanding what parents and other stakeholder groups want measured and reported, the new system should help each family choose the school that best meets their child’s unique needs and advocate for the support their school community needs.

Accountability Redesign Stakeholder Engagement

CPS has formed a diverse advisory group to review materials, research system designs, incorporate parent and stakeholder feedback, and provide recommendations for an improved accountability policy that promotes fairness and stability. The advisory group includes Board of Education members, experts from UChicago Consortium on School Research and UIC’s Center for Urban Education Leadership, principals, teachers, and student representatives. Out of a commitment to openness and transparency in the district’s decision-making process, materials from these meetings will be available to the public on the accountability redesign website. 

To ensure all CPS stakeholders are co-designers of the new accountability policy, CPS will be utilizing the district’s Spectrum of Inclusive Partnerships. The Spectrum of Inclusive Partnerships is a tool to assist with transparency and trust around the level of participation of partners—those with institutional memory, those impacted by decisions, and those responsible for implementation—to set expectations and define the stakeholder’s role in design, decision, or communication processes.

Prior to the launch of the accountability redesign initiative’s current phase in February 2021, the district began holding small-group conversations with key CPS stakeholder groups such as parent advisory councils (PACs), Local School Council (LSC) members, and Community Action Councils (CACs). 

In March 2021, the district held five town hall meetings to listen to stakeholders and provide a space and time to be heard by the district; to strengthen trust between the district and stakeholders; and to understand how stakeholders want to be engaged throughout the accountability redesign process. A report of the key trends and themes from the town hall meetings will be posted on the accountability redesign website. 

Focusing on the key stakeholder groups of parents, students, principals and assistant principals, teachers, non-instructional school-based staff, and community members, CPS will engage these stakeholders over the following phases:

  • Inform: Provide all stakeholder groups with objective information about how the concept of school accountability originated—at the federal, state, and local level—and also how school accountability has changed at CPS over time. This will also include a close review of the current SQRP metrics. This information will be provided both via in-person meetings and also through webinars, fact sheets, and videos that will be posted on the accountability redesign website.
  • Consult: Conduct focus groups and  surveys with all stakeholder groups to provide an opportunity for the stakeholders to contribute their perspectives. These engagement opportunities will take place from May-September 2021. At the conclusion of the process, a report of prominent trends and themes from these discussions will be posted on the accountability redesign website. 
  • Involve: Work directly with all stakeholders through workshops and other engagement opportunities to ensure that stakeholder concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered. This will be a key chance to review potential metrics and measures for inclusion in the revised accountability policy, and also to discuss how schools are supported and to better differentiate between school and district accountability. These workshops will be held from October through mid-November and will be hosted by a diverse group of stakeholder organizations. A report of the key trends from this phase will be posted on the accountability redesign website. 

In addition to posting the reports publicly, the advisory group will use the data included in the reports to inform their draft recommendations.

The key stakeholder groups mentioned above will be updated on a monthly to bimonthly basis to ensure they are informed about the work of the advisory group, and they will tackle the same weighty questions as the advisory group. CPS will also keep all stakeholders updated on the reports to ensure they have a deeper understanding of the trends and progress that is being made on the initiative. 

Finally, in collaboration with members of the advisory group and other stakeholders and community organizations, we will develop a community-led model to provide groups with the tools they need to engage their stakeholders and communities on accountability redesign. These discussions will be recorded to capture the observations and include them in the previously-mentioned reports. Moreover, the town halls demonstrated that stakeholders want sustained engagement on the accountability redesign initiative over the next year. We will be working to design, create, and implement additional innovative and non-traditional stakeholder engagement opportunities, and will ensure the information generated from those sessions is also incorporated into relevant synthesis reports. 

Frequently Asked Questions


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