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Grounded in a shared commitment to our mission, the partnership with Civic Consulting Alliance has been critical to our success. The team helped us define our strategy and create a solid plan to fulfill our vision.
— Lucia Dettori, Executive Director, CS4ALL, Chicago Public Schools

Education

The future of Chicago is inextricably linked to our youth and the success of our schools. Education prepares our workforce, strengthens families and communities, and brings intellectual vitality to everything we do. Our ability to prepare all of our youth for the future says a lot about who we are and what we want our future to look like. Our vision in Education is to create an education system that provides equitable access to living-wage career paths for all students and enables growth of an economy that works for everyone.

In the area of Education, Civic Consulting Alliance focuses on:

  • Implementing and testing new models in primary, secondary, and tertiary education.
  • Developing a cohesive system to support student achievement both in and out of school.
  • Producing scalable impact to improve the educational outcomes for large numbers of students.

CS4ALL

As technology continues to evolve, computational thinking will be a necessary skill for an increasing number of jobs of the future. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.1 million computing-related job openings by 2024. With African American and Latino students currently representing just 8 and 9 percent of computer science college graduates, respectively, Chicago has a terrific opportunity to tap human talent that has been for too long left behind, and begin to create the nation’s first inclusive technology economy. Doing so must start in the public schools.

2018 Education Snapshot

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CS4ALL

As technology continues to evolve, computational thinking will be a necessary skill for an increasing number of jobs of the future. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates 1.1 million computing-related job openings by 2024. With African American and Latino students currently representing just 8 and 9 percent of computer science college graduates, respectively, Chicago has a terrific opportunity to tap human talent that has been heretofore ignored, and begin to create the nation’s first inclusive technology economy. Doing so must start in the public schools.

Recognizing this, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) established Computer Science for All (CS4All) to ensure all students have a computer science education and broaden access to careers in the tech industry. In February 2016, CPS announced that a computer science course would be a high school graduation requirement, starting with the Class of 2020. Chicago is the first large city to elevate computer science education to this level of curricular requirement; school districts nationwide are watching its progress.

To help CPS attain this ambitious goal, Civic Consulting Alliance has been working with the CS4All team to scale to incorporate computer science curriculum across multiple grade levels by creating:

  • A step-by-step “playbook” to help schools develop an implementation plan for the computer science graduation requirement, adapted to the range of starting points of computer science integration across CPS high schools.
  • Messages to help school teams, parents, and other community members advocate for growing the computer science curriculum in their schools.
  • A new operating model for the CS4ALL team, with clarity on strategic priorities, roles, responsibilities and reporting structure.
  • A performance management system that enables regular progress reporting to key influencers and data-informed action planning.
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Taken together, these efforts are enabling the CS4All team to achieve the District’s vision. To date, 81 percent (88/108) of District-run high schools plan to offer computer science courses next year—twice as many schools as when the high school graduation requirement was announced in early 2016. So far, 48 percent of the Class of 2020 have completed the computer science graduation requirement.

While the District has made considerable progress since the high school graduation requirement, much work remains to embed and sustain computer science as core curriculum across all CPS schools. With support from Chicago’s philanthropic and business communities, CS4All is committed to ensuring that all 380,000 students in the District have access to computer science curriculum, and CPS will continue to serve as a national model for advancing equity in technology careers.

In February 2016, CPS announced that a computer science course would be a high school graduation requirement, starting with the Class of 2020.