The Fund Announces $750K Multi-Year Investment in LEAP Innovations

December 8, 2014

Investment to expand personalized learning resources to Chicago Public Schools principals and teachers through Breakthrough Schools: Chicago


December 8, 2014 – The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) today announced a $750,000 multi-year investment in LEAP Innovations to expand personalized learning resources and tools available to educators in Chicago Public Schools. LEAP Innovations, housed in Chicago’s 1871 tech incubator, is an educational organization that bridges the gap between education and innovation for educators and students in pre-K through college through personalized learning strategies.

The Fund invests in highly-effective principals and their teacher teams, empowering them with the tools needed to transform their schools and accelerate student learning. The Fund’s investment in LEAP Innovations furthers the organization’s commitment to making Chicago the best city in the country for 21st Century educators to lead.

“LEAP and The Chicago Public Education Fund have a shared vision for this partnership: to make personalized learning and its benefits available to educators and students across Chicago,” said Heather Y. Anichini, president and CEO of The Fund. “Our combined efforts represent the largest-scale initiative in the country to create a pipeline of educators and schools who are rethinking teaching and transforming learning.”

The Fund’s investment will support LEAP Innovations in growing the number of educators redesigning their school models to personalize the learning experience for all students through the Breakthrough Schools: Chicago initiative.

In 2013, in partnership with The Fund, LEAP Innovations secured $1 million in funding from The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to launch a regional pilot for the Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) program – Breakthrough Schools: Chicago. Chicago and Washington, D.C. are home to the first two regional NGLC efforts in the nation.

Breakthrough Schools: Chicago provides grants and coaching to forward-thinking educators developing schools that use technology-enabled, personalized learning strategies to engage their students in next generation learning. The Fund’s investment in LEAP creates a first-of-its kind partnership designed to dramatically increase the scale and impact of the work.

“We are honored that The Chicago Public Education Fund has agreed to fund our work through its investment in Breakthrough Schools: Chicago,” said Phyllis Lockett, CEO of LEAP Innovations. “This partnership aligns The Fund’s expertise in seeding talent and innovation in public education with LEAP’s role as the education innovation hub to bring new ideas and technology into classrooms to support teachers, allow parents to be more confident in what their children are learning, and unlock the limitless of potential of each student.”

In April, Breakthrough Schools: Chicago announced seven Chicago Public Schools that each won $100,000 in planning grants to develop and launch next-generation schools. The winning schools included: Cesar E. Chávez Multicultural Academic Center, Chicago Academy High School, Chicago International Charter School (CICS) – West Belden, Great Lakes Academy Charter School, John C. Haines Elementary School, KIPP Chicago Public Charter Schools and Wildwood World Magnet School. Each of the winning schools share a clear vision of next-generation personalized teaching and learning in which each student is engaged and empowered to take charge of their own learning, while each educator can access robust data to pinpoint student needs, allowing them to agilely accelerate or remediate students. The result: a new cadre of next-generation schools in some of the most challenged Chicago communities.

“Through the guidance and resources that Breakthrough Schools: Chicago provides at Chávez, we’ve been able to restructure our traditional learning environments to better suit our students’ learning needs,” said Barton Dassinger, principal at Cesar E Chávez Multicultural Academic Center in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood. “Our teachers are now empowered to provide targeted supports that match individual students’ learning paces in the environments that are most productive to them – better preparing our next generation with the knowledge and skill sets needed to excel in college and a career.”

This investment in LEAP and Breakthrough Schools: Chicago aligns with The Fund’s continued work to build a critical mass of great public schools in Chicago by supporting educator-led innovation that helps schools solve their most pressing challenges. In 2013, The Fund launched the Summer Design Program to spur educator-led innovation and a pipeline of principal-led teams. LEAP Innovations conducted intensive workshops for these school design teams and others to help them create strong applications for Breakthrough Schools: Chicago. As a result of the program’s success, the 2014 Summer Design Program more than doubled in scale to support 40 school teams across Chicago, some of which intend to apply for the next Breakthrough Schools cohort in early 2015.

About The Chicago Public Education Fund:

The Chicago Public Education Fund is a nonprofit organization working to build a critical mass of great public schools in Chicago by investing in talented principals and enabling effective educator teams to reinvent classroom learning. The Fund serves as a catalyst for accelerating positive learning and life outcomes for students in all of Chicago’s public schools and is a longstanding leader in identifying and scaling what works for teachers and principals, as well as for the students they serve. Visit

About LEAP Innovations:

LEAP InnovationsTM is a new organization that bridges the gap between education and innovation for teachers and students in pre-K through college. LEAP brings technology into classrooms and helps educators and entrepreneurs tailor instruction to each student’s skills, interests and goals. Headquartered at 1871, Chicago’s incubator for digital startups, LEAP currently runs three initiatives: training and programs for educators and tech companies, grants and coaching for principals, and a pilot network to find, evaluate and help schools implement the best personalized learning techniques and tools. Visit

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