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Chicago Public Schools

District Partner 2001, 2006, 2013

ERS has partnered with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to strengthen its professional development (PD) program to improve literacy instruction, to analyze CPS and school resource use, and to help identify strategies to improve the outcomes of CPS high school students.


"Supporting a highly trained and well-motivated teaching force is among the most important factors in ensuring progress in the classroom."
-Ron Huberman, Former Chief Executive Officer, CPS

District Facts

Staff: 43,731
Students: 405,644
Schools: 642

Work Focus

2013:

  • Resource Use: Train network chiefs and system leaders on how to best support principals around organizing their resources to create strategic school designs

2006:

  • Resource Use: Articulate a strategy to guide the equitable, flexible allocation of resources district-wide, focusing on CPS’ high school redesign efforts

2001:

  • Professional Development: Determine the capacity and effectiveness of the district’s PD program

Findings and Outcomes

  • Funding: We identified almost $70 million dollars of professional development funds, and to maximize the impact of these funds, we guided the district in:
    • consolidating the PD resources under one district leader
    • dramatically reorganizing teaching and learning
    • establishing standards to ensure quality PD
    • creating rubrics to assess the effectiveness of district and school PD efforts against these standards

  • Resource Mapping: With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Chicago Public Education Fund, we studied Chicago’s resource allocation across schools and compared it to 10 other large urban districts; the findings—including that CPS spent less per pupil than other districts and had larger class sizes—and recommendations spurred CPS to refine its funding strategy, seek additional funding to improve instruction, and commit to using weighted student funding to better distribute funds based on individual student and school needs

  • Funding: We determined the right level of funding for CPS’ new high schools in relation to existing schools and provided technical support to principals of 18 new small schools on research-based ways to use resources to improve student performance; we also worked with district and high school leadership teams to address design and flexibility challenges that have implications for the overall high school redesign, as well as the whole CPS system; to date, the district has improved flexibility around use of school-level resources and is engaging in ongoing work to integrate the school improvement planning and budgeting processes

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