Chicago High School Redesign Initiative: Schools, Students, and Outcomes

June, 2010
Susan Sporte and Marisa de la Torre
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This report is the final in a CCSR series focused on small high schools created by the Chicago High School Redesign Initiative (CHSRI), a partnership between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and local foundations. Between 2002 and 2007, the CHSRI initiative opened 23 small high schools designed to address high dropout rates and low academic performance at the high school level. In this report we present a close look at the schools making up the initiative, showing the characteristics of the students served by CHSRI schools and examining the degree to which this initiative remained true to its original goal of serving the needs of under-served students as it grew and changed over time. We then update our analyses of student outcomes, presenting all six years of data from the cohorts of students who started at CHSRI schools in fall 2002 through fall 2009. The findings in this report mirror what other researchers across the country have found: Small schools seem to provide benefits related to the closer relationships among students and between students and adults. In particular, they seem to have a beneficial effect on graduation rates. However, academic achievement, as measured by student test scores, did not improve significantly at CHSRI schools.

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