What is the Summer Design Program (SDP)?

The Fund’s Summer Design Program (SDP) is a unique professional development opportunity that offers school teams the space, time and expertise to design innovative solutions to some of their most pressing challenges. Since we launched SDP in 2013, educators from 140 Chicago public schools have participated in SDP.

Each year, we partner with three national or local organizations that serve as track leaders for up to 50 school teams. Track content changes annually, based on feedback from principals and teachers about the kind of support they need most.

In 2017, we will offer three tracks to help educators innovate around Culture and Climate, Innovative Scheduling or Time Management.

If I am selected, what should I expect?

School teams that are selected to participate in SDP commit to participating in a year of comprehensive engagement and support, including:

  • A SDP kick-off event on Wednesday, May 17. During this session, participants will have the opportunity to learn “design thinking 101” with other school teams. Participants will also meet their track partners and learn what to expect from their time together.
  • You participate in workshops, coaching and one-on-one support in Culture and Climate, Innovative Scheduling or Time Management. All three tracks will include support through SY 2017-18.
  • An Innovation Showcase In December 2017 to highlight promising innovations among the SDP cohort.


What are the tracks and who are the expert partners for SDP 2017?

This year, we are excited to work with three organizations to support our Culture and Climate, Innovative Scheduling and Time Management tracks.

  • Culture and Climate – Partner: UChicago Impact
    School teams working with UChicago Impact will focus on improving their school’s Culture and Climate (measured via the 5Essentials framework) with regular job-embedded coaching, small-group collaboratives and innovative tools and techniques.


  • Innovative Scheduling Partner: Sensible Innovation
    School teams working with Sensible Innovation will design and implement uncommon yet practical solutions for organizing their talent, time, technology and space to help reach all students in their schools.


  • Time Management Partner: National SAM Innovation Project (NSIP)
    Principals will work with NSIP to implement the celebrated SAM Process, including the TimeTrack and First Responder systems, to enable true instructional leadership. NSIP helps principals decrease their time spent on operational tasks and spend time where it really matters: in classrooms, with students.


Which track should I apply for?

Principals may apply for any of the tracks, though you will have to note your preference in your application. See below for some guidance about which track may be the best fit for you.

Culture and Climate with UChicago ImpactThis track is best for schools interested in active culture and climate work around their 5Essentials data and schools that are open to coaching supports. In particular, schools should have an initial sense of which 5Essentials elements they’re ready to dig in on, and have some degree of school-wide buy in to achieve results, with help.

Innovative Scheduling with Sensible InnovationThis track is best for elementary schools that are actively working to better achieve school-wide objectives through their master schedules. Ideally, schools are already implementing specific programming (e.g. CS4All, personalized or blended learning, Genius Hours) or trying to increase horizontal and vertical planning time for teacher teams.

Time Management with National SAM Innovation Project This track is best for school leaders who are actively trying to maximize their instructional leadership capacity and more effectively delegate. Schools who participate in NSIP will receive comprehensive coaching around the TimeTrack and First Responder systems. Note: Travel to and from the annual SAM conference in Marco Island, Florida, is not included.

How do I apply?

You can apply here. The application should take less than an hour. Applications are due by March 24.

What if I still have questions about SDP?

No problem! Join an upcoming webinar or contact Anna Piepmeyer at apiepmeyer@thefundchicago.org / 312.558.4511.