Tell Us Your Stories from the 2016-17 School Year

The students are gone, but the work of education remains, and we’re all still processing the lessons of the last school year.

Here in Chicago – like much of the rest of the nation – funding challenges and the ever-shifting demands of a demographically amorphous student body meant many principals and teachers were racing out of the gate in September just to stay ahead. With purse strings tightened, many local principals here found the increased autonomy they enjoy gave them the room to make creative decisions for their schools that provided maximum value for their kids and the teachers that serve them.

Perhaps that’s why Chicago’s students are growing faster than their peers around the country, according to an analysis done by Sean Reardon at Stanford University and described in The New York Times in April and again in this recent Huffington Post piece by Karin Chenoweth.

We know no two schools are exactly the same – but we also know that good solutions and strategies share characteristics across the board. We’re hoping you can share those insights with us over the next few weeks, as we look to wrap up the 2016-17 school year with thoughts from you.

We want to know:

  • What daunting education or management challenges at your school did you find a solution to in the last year?
  • What’s one thing about your school that you thought was absolutely true at the beginning of the school year that proved to be anything but by June?
  • What one aspect of your job do you think you could have improved on during this last school year? What do you think improvement looks like, going forward?
  • What PD classes or workshops did you or your teachers really respond to?
  • What characteristics do the teachers that excel at your school share?
  • With increased emphasis on STEM, nationally, how you are you expanding your coursework and staffing with limited resources?
  • What challenges are you looking forward to tackling in 2017-18?

Send your responses to any or all of these questions to Lauren at by July 17th. We’ll post some of your responses in the weeks to come!

Thank you for your comments, and all that you do for Chicago’s students!

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