December 19, 2013

The Fund Launches Fund 4, Focused on Principal Quality

More than $20 million in investments to improve educational outcomes
for one in three Chicago public school students

December 18, 2013 – Today, The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) announced that it will invest more than $20 million to promote principal quality in Chicago over the next five years, which will lead to improve educational outcomes for one in three students in public schools across the city. Since 2000, The Fund’s investments in Chicago educators have led to 90,000 students in higher-performing schools today.

Founded by civic, business and philanthropic leaders committed to driving quality in Chicago’s schools, The Fund’s investments have catalyzed systemic improvements in schools across the city. The Fund has been integral to driving teacher and principal quality and pipeline expansion in Chicago, while simultaneously helping to implement key district initiatives, such as REACH Students, student-based budgeting and extended school day, that have led to increased principal autonomy.

“From both research and experience, we know that principals are the key driver of school quality and student growth,” said Heather Y. Anichini, CEO of The Fund. “Because of this, Fund 4 will focus on recruiting, training and retaining great school leaders while empowering them with the tools, people and resources they need to be successful. Together with partners like Chicago Public Schools, the Office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the charter and philanthropic communities and education nonprofit leaders, our investments in principals will accelerate progress and scale transformation citywide.”

The Fund will help educators across Chicago improve outcomes through three key investment areas:


“By championing and helping to scale “what works,” The Fund has contributed greatly to the fact that so many of our schools are moving in the right direction,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “Their focus on principal quality, which aligns directly with the district’s five year action plan – “The Next Generation: Chicago’s Children,” will enable more of our students to be prepared for college and career.”

Inaugural Fund 4 investments have already been made to support research on principal quality and scale educator-driven innovations. In summer, 2013, for example, The Fund invested $250,000 to launch the first-of-its-kind Summer Design Program, a six-week effort where more than 70 educators from 16 schools worked alongside other education experts to identify how to better use talent, technology and time to drive student learning. Teams received up to $10,000 to implement their ideas during the 2013-14 school year,

The team from Cesar E. Chavez Multicultural Academic Center, which serves 950 students who are nearly all Hispanic and from low-income communities, utilized the program to design a technology-enabled after school program that helps individualize learning for students.

“With The Fund’s support, our teachers were able to work alongside experts and peers to creatively design an academic program that is delivering results for our students. We are motivated to expand this program and excited about what it is doing for our students, school and community,” said principal Barton Dassinger. A former Teach For America educator, Dassinger graduated from an additional Fund-supported principal program – Leadership and Urban Network for Chicago (LAUNCH).

To scale their individualized learning program, the Chavez team is currently working to earn up to $100,000 through Breakthrough Schools: Chicago, a regional Next Generation Learning Pilot secured by The Fund in partnership with LEAP Innovations.