Diverse Approaches: One Goal

We understand that transforming the lives of all young people demands more than a cookie-cutter approach. Our campuses are designed for our communities, with innovative approaches as diverse as the communities we serve.

Here’s how we make breakthrough change happen

We run a vibrant and diverse network of 13 schools, with a commitment to deliver excellence for each of the 7,400 students from the 56 Chicago communities that we serve.

CICS develops and supports a diverse portfolio of schools by partnering with school management organizations (SMOs) and directly managing schools. Our SMO partners join our network for the opportunity to autonomously design, launch and manage innovative school models. 

Our Graduate Aims are the inspirational mindsets and skills that CICS students should develop to be prepared for what the future will require of them. It is our school's responsibility to provide students with the educational experience to help make that happen. We aim for CICS graduates to be: 

  • Academic Achievers who build knowledge and experiences to achieve the learning outcomes that support college success. 
  • Changemakers who thoughtfully reflect on history and develop solutions to local and global challenges of today. 
  • Identity Affirmed to be comfortable with who they are and build empathy with people across lines of difference.
  • Joyful Problem Solvers who love learning and are eager to solve complex problems. 
  • Navigators of the Future who seek knowledge and develop habits to help them reach their short- and long-term goals. 

We provide supportive infrastructure and resources to help our schools thrive, including a collaborative network of like-minded innovative leaders, efficient shared services, actionable data and an accountability framework. For our direct-managed campuses, we work with school leaders to develop curriculum and ensure our staff are aligned with CICS' mission and vision.

CICS Strategic Plan 2021-2023

As one of Chicago’s most established charter networks, CICS has been impacting lives and communities for more than two decades. With 13 campuses in all corners of our city, CICS’ vibrant network of diverse schools enables students to thrive every day, puts them on a path to success in life and empowers entrepreneurial educators to pursue excellence through innovation.

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Portfolio Excellence Framework

It is critically important that each CICS campus and operator lives up to our promise of enabling every student to thrive, every day, on the path to success in college and in life.

To help us deliver on our commitment to excellence, we have created a CICS Portfolio Excellence Framework that details how we:

Define and measure excellence.

We believe that Amazing Talent, Thriving Culture and Rigorous Academics are the three leading indicators of student academic outcomes, the truest measure of success for our campuses.

We measure operators on financial outcomes as well as academic outcomes because we believe that sustainable excellence depends on the ability to manage resources wisely and responsibly.

Evaluate our portfolio of campuses and operators.

We measure campus and operator performance on key indicators and outcomes based on four types of data: Academic Outcome, Non-Academic Outcome, Campus and Operator Observations, and Survey Data from parents, students, and teachers.

We reward campuses and operators who perform well, and we require oversight or interventions for those who need support to achieve excellence. Access to performance data is available throughout the school year, and a formal review and evaluation occurs three times a year. 

Support continuous improvement.

Recognizing that school excellence is not static, we will continuously review this Portfolio Excellence Framework to ensure we are forward-thinking about what we measure, capture innovations aligned to our Vision of Excellence, incorporate multiple perspectives about what students should learn, and integrate cutting-edge research about how students learn.

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