CPS Launches Working Groups to Accelerate Progress and Improve School Quality 

Committees Will Provide New Administration with 
Recommendations to Address Challenges Facing the District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                
Thursday, August 20, 2015                                                                                                                                                                                                   
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620
Website: http://www.cps.edu    

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today launched three working groups of education, civic, and business leaders charged with recommending ideas to improve the quality of high schools; recruit, develop and retain high quality principals; and offer better school support from Central Office. 
“The CPS leadership transition is an opportunity for stakeholders across Chicago to come together around the key decisions, strategies and solutions required to provide world-class public schools for all students,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “The working group model offers a critical mechanism for cross-sector stakeholder engagement around complex challenges faced by Chicago’s public education system.”
The three individual groups have the following charges:
  • Principal Quality Working Group: developing schools leaders and offering support and professional development.
  • High School Working Group: developing a model-agnostic plan for a quality high school within three miles of every home in Chicago.
  • Support for Schools Working Group: improving Central Office supports and programs to better align with the needs of schools.
Each working group will have three co-chairs and will consist of 15-20 stakeholders from across the city. The groups will begin meeting immediately and this fall will offer recommendations for significant, continuous improvements in Chicago’s public schools.
“We want to do everything we can to support our students, our school leaders, and our schools,” said CPS Chief Education Officer Janice K. Jackson. “As we move into a new era at CPS, our priorities include recruiting, developing, and retaining the best principals; raising the bar for high schools across the city; and ensuring that Central Office serves our schools more effectively.”
The groups will meet five to six times over the next several months to analyze the landscape of current policies and programs, review successful strategies in other cities nationwide, and gain insight from experts into local work already producing promising results.
The Principal Quality Working Group will assess the current roles and challenges faced by principals in CPS and identify areas for offering support and accelerating improvement.  Members will also analyze successful models and approaches from across the country before offering a set of strategic recommendations related to principal work at every stage – pipeline and recruitment; in-role support; retention and career growth. It will be chaired by:
  • Tony Miller, Vistria Group
  • Gail Ward, Chicago Board of Education
  • Janice K. Jackson, Chicago Public Schools
“Research and experience tell us that world-class public schools require great leadership,” said Tony Miller.  “Our group has been charged with building on past progress and dramatically accelerating our city’s efforts to attract, hire, support and retain the best principals in the country.”
The High School Working Group will review options to accelerate current efforts with proven track records of success and to expand the number of high-performing, replicable high school models. The group will also recommend a variety of supports that will help improve the city’s existing high schools. It will be chaired by:
  • Robin Steans, Steans Family Foundation
  • Jesse Ruiz, Chicago Board of Education
  • Liz Kirby, Chicago Public Schools
“Parents want to know that a quality, public high school option is within reach for their children, regardless of where they live in the city,” said CPS Board Vice President Jesse Ruiz. “With the dedicated efforts of so many talented individuals from the education, non-profit and business sectors, we will identify key steps to ensure that all students have a high-performing high school within three miles of their home.”
The Support for Schools Working Group will receive data reflecting principals’ perspectives and an analysis of the departments that work with schools. The group will make a set of near-term recommendations for the upcoming school year and propose longer-term strategic initiatives for the 2016-17 school year. This work will happen in parallel to efforts already underway to  free top principals from certain compliance requirements. It will be chaired by:
  • Christina Herzog, Crown Family Philanthropies
  • Mahalia Hines, Chicago Board of Education
  • Doug Kucia, Chicago Public Schools 
"In the years to come, effectively supporting continued improvement will require defining and executing a new vision for the relationship between educators and Central Office,” said Christina Herzog. “The charge is clear, we need to improve how Central Office serves our schools and fosters an environment that allows educators to focus on teaching and students to focus on learning."
Each group’s recommendations will be shared with the public in a final report.
Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.
A list of initial members of the three task forces is available here.

Page Last Modified on Wednesday, August 26, 2015