September 23, 2014

Most Innovative Chicago Educators Awarded up to $7,500 to Launch Pilots to Drive Student Achievement

Investments from The Chicago Public Education Fund to positively impact up to 10,000 students in 2014-15 alone


September 23, 2014 – Today, The Chicago Public Education Fund announced that it will invest $100,000 in 23 public schools to implement pilots that will dramatically increase student achievement through new uses of time, technology, and talent. Top teams will also be invited to participate in Solutions, an ongoing support program, and are eligible for an additional impact bonus, which will be up to $30,000 and awarded at the end of the 2014-15 school year.

Winning pilots were developed during The Fund’s Summer Design Program, a five-week professional development effort to empower more than 130 educators from 40 schools to solve classroom and school challenges and improve student learning. Now in its second year, the Summer Design Program is one of many efforts by The Fund to give Chicago’s best principals and their teacher teams the tools they need to transform student learning. The 2014 Summer Design Program was executed in partnership with TrueSchool Studio, an education-focused research and design firm.

Of the 40 schools, top teams were selected based on their ability to clearly identify their school or classroom challenge, the quality of their implementation plans, their approach to measuring impact, and the mechanisms by which they will share success and challenges with peer educators. Participants in the Summer Design Program represented district, charter, turnaround, selective enrollment and magnet schools, and serve a student population that is predominantly low-income and minority.

“Empowered, supported educators are best suited to reinvent learning in our classrooms and schools,” said Heather Y. Anichini, president and CEO of The Fund. “By creating an opportunity for principals and teachers to work together and connect with leading experts, pilots developed in the Summer Design Program can positively impact up to 10,000 students in their first year alone. We look forward to working alongside these educators as they implement their ideas, helping them measure progress and adjust strategy along the way.”

The Solutions program, which will begin in October, will provide schools with continued direct coaching from experts in the fields of innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), middle-to-high school transition, and personalized learning. The goal of this ongoing support is to help educators overcome implementation challenges, and ensure their pilots have the greatest impact on students. Throughout the year, teams will report on both implementation and results, and share the most effective ideas across multiple schools.

Pilots tackle common challenges in areas such as personalized learning, STEM, technology, teacher professional development, parent engagement and more. Educators from Lyman A. Budlong Elementary School spent their summer designing a teacher development program to increase STEM literacy across all subjects. Teachers from third to fifth grade will build additional expertise in specific areas of STEM, and pair with teachers of other subjects to deliver learning experiences for students that connect multiple content areas.

“Our team would have never been able to clarify the challenge and design such an impactful solution without the Summer Design Program,” said Budlong’s Principal Naomi Nakayama. “The opportunity to work alongside my teachers to collaboratively solve a challenge will not only benefit our teachers, but all of our students. We are grateful to The Fund for this opportunity and can’t wait to continue this work through the school year.”

CME Group, the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace, hosted the Summer Design Program in the company’s innovation lab. CME Group Foundation recently invested $1 million in The Chicago Public Education Fund to support the Summer Design Program and other Fund initiatives to improve student outcomes through the use of technology in the classroom.

Summer Design Program teams are all members of The Fund’s Innovative Educator Network (The Network), a professional learning community for educators committed to dramatically improving student outcomes by reinventing the structure and practice of classroom instruction.  Network members convene at multiple times during the school year to share best practices and collaborate to solve common challenges.

Click here to explore the winning pilots, innovations and school teams!


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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 charter and district public schools.  The Fund is a longstanding leader in identifying and scaling what works for teachers and principals, as well as for the students they serve. Visit