Ten Accomplishments that Defined this Year for Our District
DISTRICT | December 27, 2020
Ten Accomplishments that Defined this Year for Our District

Learning at home. Pods. Google Classroom. This year introduced some new vocabulary into our understanding of how to provide every student in Chicago with a high-quality education, but many words—equity, transparency, and community engagement, to name a few—remained at the forefront of this mission. Prioritizing these core values has meant that, despite all of the challenges, CPS is moving past 2020 with some impressive accomplishments as well. Take a look at what we’ll remember from this year below. 

Six National Blue Ribbon Schools  

Six CPS schools received the 2020 National Blue Ribbon School distinction—the most ever for the district in a single year. These schools represent the North, South and West Sides of Chicago, with Hancock High School receiving the award in the Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools category for its impressive work in closing academic achievement gaps among students. Learn more about their story here. 

A New Roadmap for Supporting High School Students

Earlier this month, the district launched its High School Strategy—a new initiative to support more high school students take rigorous coursework such as advanced math and dual credit opportunities. It will also help more diverse learners attend selective enrollment high schools. Principals, teachers, and two high school students joined Dr. Jackson to discuss the strategy here. 

A Pipeline for Aspiring Teachers 

To help more CPS students who want to become teachers find a pathway to leading a CPS classroom of their own, the district launched its groundbreaking Teach Chicago Tomorrow initiative. By supporting these students through college, the district hopes to triple the number of CPS graduates it hires as teachers each year. Learn more about the initiative here.

Preparing Students for Postsecondary Success 

The Class of 2020 was the first group of students required to submit a concrete postsecondary plan as a graduation requirement through the district’s Learn.Plan.Succeed. initiative. More than 97 percent of students submitted a concrete plan through the initiative, with over 80 percent of these plans including a college acceptance. Learn more about the importance of this initiative from CEO Jackson and CPS students here.

Commitment to High-Quality Programming 

In June, the district announced an $18 million investment to expand high-quality academic programs at 22 schools across the city. These programs, including International Baccalaureate (IB), STEM and Dual Language, will benefit nearly 10,000 CPS students. 

Our Vision for Advanced Literacy 

The district released its vision to help students immerse themselves in an abundance of diverse and engaging texts and apply their literacy skills in the real world through discussion and creating digital content. Learn more here.

Top Schools in Illinois

For the second straight year, seven of the top 10 high schools in Illinois, including the top five, were CPS schools, including National Blue Ribbon recipients Northside College Prep, Jones College Prep, and Whitney Young High School. See the full list from U.S. News & World Report here. 

Record-Breaking Student Achievements  

This year, CPS students set a record-high graduation rate of 82.5 percent and earned over $1 billion in college scholarships for the fifth straight year. They also set a record percentage of students graduating with early college and career credentials. Read the district’s entire 2020 Academic Report Card here.

Bridging the Digital Divide

The district’s groundbreaking Chicago Connected program helped more than 50,000 students and their families connect to no-cost, high-speed internet service for up to four years. To learn more about the program and see if you are eligible, click here.

Supporting Families During Remote Learning 

Since students began learning from home in March, the district has provided over 30 million meals and more than 175,000 devices to help students and their families. To find the closest meal site to you, click here.

None of these accomplishments could have been possible without the dedication of our teachers, hard work of our students, and strong partnerships with our parents and communities. They reflect our resilience as a district and as a city. We can’t wait to see what our schools achieve in 2021.