Implementing Higher Standards in Chicago’s Public Schools
The adoption of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Chicago has changed the way students learn and the way teachers teach. The result is that learning more closely mimics real-world problem solving, even in the early grades.
Chicago principals are uniquely positioned to lead this work. Compared with other principals nationally, Chicago principals have wide-ranging flexibility to select and implement curriculum, purchase resources, develop scheduling supports and provide professional development for teachers.
It is worth noting that the implementation work done by Chicago’s principals and their teacher teams has occurred alongside increasing academic gains across the city. Since the beginning of implementation in the 2011-12 school year, the number of students on-track for and graduating from high school in CPS has increased at least 13 percentage points while reading and math attainment scores on the Northwest Evaluation Association Measure of Academic Progress (NWEA MAP) assessment have increased by at least 10 percentage points. A continued focus on rigorous instruction can support further gains.
Based on discussions with principals whose schools are experiencing rapid improvement, The Chicago Public Education Fund (The Fund) identified four promising practices related to implementation of the higher standards in public schools.