Meet the winning school teams of the inaugural Design Challenge

On April 8, teams from 14 schools competed for a chance to win up to $10,000 to scale and expand innovative ideas helping them address current challenges they face by engaging students, educators, and their greater communities. Every school team embedded equity into their design by prioritizing an under-served group of students in their community, completing empathy interviews with those students, and designing a prototype (or solution) around unmet needs that surfaced.

School teams developed their pitches over the course of two months and presented them to judges, who assessed the presentations based on the clarity of the problem and target populations served, how the team approached their work with an equity lens, and how they could utilize strategy, resources, and a continuous improvement framework to scale and expand their ideas to a larger school population. Each of the 14 competing teams walked away with funding to help advance their ideas.


Sayre Language Academy wins $10,000 Grand Prize. 

The school team from Sayre Language Academy presented on implementing a culturally responsive environment for their Black male students in third through fifth grade through a collaboratively aligned approach. Watch their full presentation: 



The finalist runner-up teams will all receive $5000 to expand and scale their ideas. 

The Palmer Elementary school team presented their strategies to meet the specific needs of English language learners developing key literacy skills. 



North-Grand High School presented its work utilizing the Historically Responsive Literacy Framework outlined by Dr. Gholdy Muhammed to center student experiences on the content of their learning. 


Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy shared their plan to build a school-based garden that presents a common space for the school community while addressing health equity access to fresh, organic food. 


The Ogden International School of Chicago presented how they will use accountability talk practices to advance social-emotional learning in their school to better support students and educators.


These winning ideas represent just a small sampling of the innovation of school leaders in Chicago’s public schools. To view all of the participating school presentations, please visit the Design Challenge website

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