Series overview

Logo 2014 Chicago School Policy Forum Series

In recent years, 28 states and dozens of school districts have adopted “early warning” systems aimed at identifying students who are “off track” on their path to high school graduation. Inspired by Chicago’s “freshman on-track” indicator, a compilation of course completions and grades, some educators are bringing predictive analysis and drop-out indicators to younger students.

Meanwhile, the “collective impact” movement, advanced by civic, institutional and grassroots leaders in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, is reinforcing the trend.  Founded in 2006, Cincinnati’s StriveTogether can now point to a civic infrastructure organized around common long-term goals and metrics—with significant increases in rates of school readiness, high school graduation and college enrollment.  Some 100 Strive-like efforts, including Thrive Chicago, now dot the country.

The 2014 Chicago School Policy Forum Series is examining these growing trends for their potential impact on Chicago’s ever-changing, fragmented and often contentious education reform efforts.

Some 200 leaders attended the first forum, on Feb. 20, which examined the power of district and school-level conversations about students’ course completion rates, attendance and social and emotional needs. You can watch CAN TV’s recording of the proceedings on YouTube. The second forum, on March 28, will delve into collective impact. (Scroll down for links to registration options.)

Forum 2:  Friday, March 28
How one region is using numbers to get everyone on the same page—from cradle to career 

With Thrive Chicago being incubated in Mayor Emanuel’s office, the second forum will look for lessons from StriveTogether.  Why were numbers and data important in forging a common way forward in Cincinnati?  Has StriveTogether decreased program and policy churn? Were there winners and losers or increased turf wars as the civic infrastructure was formed?  What challenges are on the horizon?

  • Lead presenter:  Richard Colvin, journalist and co-author of the Education Sector report, “Striving for Student Success: A Model of Shared Accountability” (2011)
  • Response: Mary Ronan, superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Response:  Robert Reifsnyder, president, United Way of Greater Cincinnati

The forum will be held over breakfast in the Main Dining Room (6th floor ) of the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m., and breakfast will be served at 8 a.m.  The program will begin shortly thereafter, concluding at 9:30 a.m.

The cost is $35 per person per forum. Online registration is now open. You can also download the mail / fax form below to register.

Register and pay online for March 28


Download a form to pay by mail or fax 

Organizers of this year’s series are BPI and Catalyst Chicago.  We are pleased to welcome The Spencer Foundation as the lead sponsor, and gratefully acknowledge the continued support of the McDougal Family Foundation, Oppenheimer Family Foundation and the Union League Club of Chicago.

Questions? Contact Paula Kruger at BPI, (312) 641-5570, ext. 241 or

Sponsored by BPI and Catalyst Chicago