Strategy Area 3
MOVE THE MOVABLE MIDDLE.
Tens of thousands of kids are enrolled in “ok” schools, that are just a step away from becoming great schools. We support innovative leaders whose schools are mid-performers but are poised to improve—and create better opportunities for kids in the process.
Despite significant improvement in the number of high-quality options available for Chicago families today—particularly in low-income communities—there are still far too many children trapped in failing schools and an equal number in struggling schools. New Schools for Chicago recognizes that the scale of the challenge requires more than just the closure or restructuring of failing options, but also a consistent approach to help middle-performing schools grow into great schools.
Of the 661 total Chicago Public Schools, 158 are mid-performing—they have a 2-year average SQRP rating of between 2.5 to 3.2.
These schools serve 75,000 students but are often overlooked as the district and other non-profit partners focus time and resources on the lowest performers. We believe they are doing many things well, and, with support, could become great. They represent “low-hanging fruit” for improving outcomes.
Identifying an approach to improving these schools would move tens of thousands of kids into higher quality seats if scaled districtwide.