Continuing to Move Forward: 2021 Academic Report Card
DISTRICT | October 27, 2021
Continuing to Move Forward: 2021 Academic Report Card

One of the best moments of this year was the first day of school. After two disrupted school years, we finally were able to welcome our students back to the classroom five days each week. And, since then, they’ve readjusted beautifully. This school year is off to a strong start, and we can’t wait to see what each of them accomplish. 

Their resilience has been front and center for the past few school years, and nothing symbolizes it better than our annual Academic Report Card. Despite all the challenges of the 2020-21 school year, our students still managed to set a record-breaking graduation rate. Our one-year dropout rate is at an all-time low. The Class of 2021 earned over $1 billion in college scholarships. Six of the top 10 high schools in Illinois are CPS schools according to U.S. News and World Report. And we have three National Blue Ribbon Schools this year as well. 

We could go on, but the Academic Report Card is more than a series of data points. It’s a testament to the fact that when you focus on equity and put students first, they can accomplish great things with the support of their teachers and school leaders. 

And, if this is what is possible during a pandemic, imagine what is to come. Here are some additional highlights from this year’s Report Card. 

  • Record-Setting Graduation Rate: CPS students achieved a record-high five-year graduation rate of 83.8 percent, an accomplishment spearheaded by especially strong gains from Black students. Over the past decade, the district’s graduation rate has increased by nearly 27 percentage points.
  • Lowest-Ever One-Year Dropout Rate: The district’s one-year dropout rate hit a record low of 3.8 percent, nearly two percentage points lower than during the 2019-20 school year. The decrease was largest for Black students and also decreased for Latinx students, White students, Asian students, diverse learners, and English learners.
  • Preparing Students for Post-Secondary Success: Through the district’s Learn.Plan.Succeed. initiative, all high school students are required to have a concrete post-secondary plan before they graduate. This year, 97.5 percent of seniors submitted a post-secondary plan, and 81.9 percent of the CPS Class of 2021 graduated with plans to attend college.
  • More than $1 Billion in Scholarship Offers: The Class of 2021 is the sixth straight graduating class to earn over $1 billion in college scholarship offers. CPS continues to prioritize connecting students to support from dedicated school counselors and college and career coaches so they remain aware of scholarship opportunities.
  • World-Class Schools Across Chicago: This year, six of the top 10 high schools in Illinois are CPS schools according to U.S. News and World Report. Additionally, the district celebrated three National Blue Ribbon schools this year, two of which received the award for closing student achievement gaps.
  • Moving Forward Together: To continue building upon the district’s impressive progress and help schools rebound from the impacts of the pandemic, the district is investing over $525 million on curriculum enhancements, technology investments, and resources to support social-emotional learning. 

In addition to Moving Forward Together, our district has been working hard on various initiatives meant to accelerate learning, strengthen our school communities, and support our students’ mental health and social-emotional needs. To learn more about these priorities, please visit