Chicago Public Schools: School-Based Instructional Support

Growing Instructional Leadership


Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is partnering with Leading Educators to enhance teacher knowledge and skills in math, literacy, and social-emotional learning through year-long professional development in six schools.

About the Partnership

Educators in a subset of Chicago Public Schools are eager to deepen their knowledge and skills in math, literacy, and social-emotional learning to accelerate student learning after pandemic disruptions set students back.

At the system level, Chicago Public Schools is determined to offer a high-quality public education that prepares each child for success in college, career, and civic life. But to build on existing strengths and address the challenges posed by COVID-19, along with long-standing issues and opportunity gaps, leaders acknowledge that every student must have access to high-quality academic, social-emotional, and culturally responsive learning. 

The Challenge

Before the pandemic, there was significant room for growth in student achievement. In math and literacy, pandemic disruptions set students back even further, especially in reading.

  • Limited school hours make it difficult to address individual student needs effectively.
  • Leaders know it’s critical to use grade-level instruction to accelerate students’ learning rather than only meeting students at their current level. But to do so, teachers need more support to build content expertise and create tailored acceleration plans.


Schools are partnering with Leading Educators to support teachers and school leaders in deepening their knowledge in critical areas that impact student success.

Chicagoland schools theory of action for student success

Transforming instructional mindsets and mitigating the impact of pandemic-induced learning loss are complex tasks that require sustained, job-embedded professional learning for teachers. An opt-in, teacher-facing fellowship approach at the school level is a promising solution to foster higher engagement than broader district-wide professional development initiatives.

Explore Previous Results
How We’re Helping

Chicagoland schools and Leading Educators are working together to accelerate student learning and achievement in four key ways.

Systems/Strategic Advising

Leading Educators helps school leaders and educators implement high-quality instructional materials aligned with curriculum standards. Additionally, we develop teacher leaders within schools to take on school-based leadership of ongoing professional learning communities. We tailor support based on each school’s specific data, needs, and improvement goals outlined in annual plans.

Ongoing Professional Learning

We facilitate professional learning sessions and content team meetings for teachers and teacher leaders and design professional development aligned to curricular resources at school sites. Additionally, we assist with developing individualized acceleration plans for students.


We coach teachers, teacher leaders, and school leaders through learning walks, data analysis, and touchpoint meetings.


We equip Chicago schools with materials and plans to continue improvement independently after the partnership ends.

Partnership By The Numbers

Icon on a a boy with a backpack

2,124 Students

benefiting from improved literacy and math instruction

White icon of a school

6 Schools

working to accelerate student learning and achievement with targeted support

Overhead view of teachers sitting around a round table

95 Teachers

being supported to build on their strengths and collaborate across classrooms

Looking Ahead

By collaborating intensively with schools and teachers over multiple years, offering coaching, content development, and strategic advising, this model aims to cultivate and strengthen the capacity within the district’s teaching force.

This teacher-facing support holds the promise of leaving a lasting legacy in Chicago, characterized by heightened teacher content knowledge and a commitment to student-centered practices, transforming the educational landscape for years to come. 

Read a Related Story
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Meet The Team

Our team of experienced classroom educators, former school and system leaders, content and coaching experts, and fearless advocates work shoulder-to-shoulder with Chicago Public Schools educators to go further faster.

Claudine Andrews

Senior Director of Programming
Claudine is the Senior Director of Programming working with district, school and teacher leaders to ensure that schools and system partnerships are effectively supported.
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LeAnita Garner

Director of Content & Coaching
LeAnita is a partner to school teams within Chicago Public Schools, who uses her experiences in and out of the classroom to support them in working toward educational equity.
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Tori McGowan

Director of Content
Tori is a Director of Content with Leading Educators. She supports school leaders and teachers in the Chicago area.
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Shondele Gillens-Vazquez

Instructional Leadership Coach, Chicago
Shondele Gillens-Vazquez is an Instructional Leadership coach who supports leaders in North Chicago.
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Morgan Qin

Instructional Leadership Coach, Math
Morgan Qin is an Instructional Leadership Coach – Math for the Chicago team.
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Danielle Parker

Associate Director of Networks
Danielle Parker is the Associate Director of Networks for Chicago-based partnerships.
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Claudine Andrews

LeAnita Garner

Tori McGowan

Shondele Gillens-Vazquez

Morgan Qin

Danielle Parker

Leading Educators Leading Educators
"There is no magic bullet. It really is down to the basics: ensuring that every classroom has a great teacher, every school has a great principal, and that we engage families.”
Pedro Martinez, CEO of Chicago Public Schools

Learn About Other Partnerships

Chicago Schools is just one of a dozen partnerships across the country that are pushing the boundaries of what schools can offer students. Learn more about how we customize our supports to meet the needs and strengths of visionary districts.

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