Summer Design Program

Amount: $1,500,000 (and staff time)

Fund: 4


The Summer Design Program (SDP) is designed to help educators create and implement innovations that transform student learning in their classrooms or schools and to provide expert content-area support throughout the process. Educator teams from public schools across Chicago engage in a series of sessions facilitated by our partners from Greater Good Studio, LEAP Innovations, Sensible Innovation and National SAM Innovation Project designed to clarify a school-based, student-centered challenge, identify new or known solutions in Chicago and elsewhere and design a classroom or grade-level innovation. School teams include the principal and two to three members of their school team.

SDP launched in summer 2013 with an initial cohort of 16 educator teams, working with our partner 2Revolutions. A second cohort of 40 schools participated with our partners from TrueSchool Studio in summer 2014 and a third cohort of 40 schools participated in summer 2015 with TrueSchool Studio, Sensible Innovation and LEAP Innovations. In summer 2016, 45 teams have joined to work with one of our three content-area partners. From this first three cohorts of SDP alone, 12 participants have moved on to explore whole-school redesign through Breakthrough Schools Chicago.

During SDP, team members will work together with The Fund and other content-area experts to learn as much as possible about how others are already transforming learning environments, to adopt better practices or existing approaches where they already exist and to develop new solutions where we need them most.

In addition to providing facilitation, logistics and launch awards, The Fund provides evaluation support for launched innovations and shares findings and promising practices throughout the Network and broader Chicago education community.


  • Over 135 talented educator teams from over 115 CPS schools have participated in the SDP to date.
  • Examples of promising innovations and successful teams are available, along with a more detailed case studies of SDP 2013 and SDP 2014 schools.