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Principals and teachers are best equipped to solve their schools’ most pressing challenges. To that end, The Fund’s Summer Design Program (SDP) partners with expert local and national organizations to deliver high-impact professional development that helps principals and their teams lead change in their schools.

Since 2014, SDP has helped more than 200 school teams across Chicago leverage time, talent and technology in new ways to create stronger learning environments for the students they serve. The program is flexible: Specific supports (or “tracks”) change yearly to accommodate what data and educators tell us they need to do the hard work of educating students.

In the 2019-20 school year, The Fund is offering two Summer Design Program tracks for principals and their school teams across Chicago:

  • Principals working with seasoned instructional coaches from Fulcrum Education Solutions are focused on building their skills and capacity to better support their teachers’ development and create sustainable instructional leadership structures in their schools. Fulcrum’s team – all former school leaders themselves – deeply understands schools’ contexts and challenges and works with each team to develop a coaching plan that is tailored to their unique needs.
  • Principals working with the National SAM Innovation Project are focused on improving their impact on teaching and learning by leveraging their most valuable resource: time. Principal participants work with experienced coaches and retired principals to understand their time use, set ambitious goals for instructional leadership, and distribute leadership across their teams.

SDP participants are always a diverse cohort of principals who share a commitment to change efforts in their schools. There are 61 principals participating in SDP during the 2019-20 school year.

By the Numbers


School teams served


Students impacted


Invested in SDP

Summer Design Program

2018 SDP

Invest in Chicago's Principals

Principals have an out-sized impact on their schools and communities. Any amount can make a difference.

Support Our Work

We aim to serve more than 600 principals and 360,000 students by 2023, with an emphasis on the schools that most need support.

Celebrate School Leaders

This October, school communities, city officials and corporate leaders will join together to lift up the great work of principals and their APs.