School Structure and Organization
Understanding schools as organizations illuminates the mechanisms and high-impact levers that drive school improvement. The Consortium's seminal research found that strength on five essential organizational supports were highly correlated with whether schools continued improving student learning. UEI's work also explores the impact of school closings and turnarounds, school disciplinary policies, and the charter model, while many of UEI's resources are designed to help schools build their organizational capacity to take on the day-to-day challenges of schooling.
Understanding schools as organizations illuminates the mechanisms and high-impact levers that drive school improvement.
Consortium report finds racial disparities in suspension rates driven by schools with concentrated disadvantage. Students’ risk of suspension is more strongly determined by which school they attend than by their backgrounds—including their race, gender or income. Following an earlier UChicago Consortium report that found Chicago has been experiencing an overall decline in suspension rates since 2009, Suspending Chicago’s Students: Differences in Discipline across Schools examines reasons for racial and gender disparities in suspension rates and finds that suspensions are concentrated among schools serving the most vulnerable student populations.
- Past research found that schools strong in three or more of the "5Essential" organizational supports—effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment, and ambitious instruction—were ten times more likely to improve student learning than schools weak in three or more of the essentials »
- Suspension rates in Chicago Public Schools have declined markedly but still remain very high, particularly among the system’s most vulnerable students. In the 2013-14 school year, 16 percent of all CPS high school students—and 33 percent of African American boys—received an out of school suspension »
Latest from UEI on School Structure & Organization
The titles listed below can be purchased at your local bookseller or at amazon.com. Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago Anthony S. Bryk, Penny Bender Sebring, Elaine Allensworth, Stuart Luppescu and John Q. Easton This book provides a detailed analysis of why students in
5Essentials is an evidence-based system designed to drive improvement in schools nationwide. The 5E system reliably measures changes in a school organization through its survey, predicts school success through scoring, and provides individualized actionable reports to schools, distri
At ESEA/NCLB Conference, the Five Essentials for School Improvement are Highlighted
Penny Bender Sebring, founding co-director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, addressed over 800 policymakers, school administrators and educators at the 2011 ESEA/NCLB Conference on February 10. This year’s annual conference was titled “Beyond Slogans: Working Together for R
Developing a Middle School Model: Video Showcase and Instructional Rubrics
What if schools were truly designed around the needs of children? At the Carter G. Woodson Middle School Campus of the University of Chicago Charter School, we have built curriculum, programs, practices and classrooms that are developmentally appropriate for urban middle school students. In nearly
Robust Discussion at UEI's Waiting for "Superman" Panel Event
Chicago Tribune Op-Ed: "Look Beyond 'Superman' for Reform Answers" by UEI's Tim Knowles and Paul Goren UEI Director discusses the film with NPR: "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's School Reformers!" On September 21, the University of Chicago
Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago
Out of 44 books polled, Education Next hast ranked Organizing Schools for Improvement 8th in the best books of the past decade. Findings from Organizing Schools for Improvement ranked as one of the most popular education stories of the year according to Education Week. Educational
5Essentials School Reports in the Media
On Tuesday, September 13, Chicago Public Schools publicly released for the first time more than 600 individualized school reports produced by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research. These reports reveal how schools across the city perform on the factors that matter most for student
For the leaders of the University of Chicago Charter School, being in charge means being in the thick of change. Featured in The University of Chicago Magazine.
Trends in Chicago's Schools Across Three Eras of Reform: Summary Report
If you would like to order multiple copies of this report, please visit Amazon for pricing information. Trends in Chicago’s Schools Across Three Eras of Reform finds that Chicago Public Schools has experienced tremendous growth in graduation rates over the past 20 years, but learning gain
Trends in Chicago's Schools Across Three Eras of Reform: Full Report
Trends in Chicago’s Schools Across Three Eras of Reform finds that Chicago Public Schools has experienced tremendous growth in graduation rates over the past 20 years, but learning gains have been modest. The report tracks elementary and high school test scores and graduation rates in Chicago
New Report on Turning Around Low-Performing Schools
Four years after undergoing dramatic reform efforts such as turnaround, very low-performing elementary schools in Chicago closed the gap in test scores with the system average by almost half in reading and two-thirds in math, according to a new study by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicag
YOUmedia Chicago: Reimagining Learning, Literacies, and Libraries: A Snapshot of Year 1
Report authors Penny Bender Sebring and Eric Brown participated in a connected learning webinar about their findings. To view the webinar, click here. This research report documents the first year of implementation of YOUmedia, a youth-centered digital learning initiative at the Chicago P
Turning Around Low-Performing Schools in Chicago: Summary Report
Our colleagues at the American Institutes for Research also released a report on this work, which is available here. This report finds that four years after undergoing dramatic reform efforts such as turnaround, very low-performing elementary schools in Chicago closed the gap in test scores with
Chicago High School Redesign Initiative: Schools, Students, and Outcomes
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 op
This book by current and former researchers from the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) provides a detailed analysis of why students in 100 public elementary schools in Chicago were able to improve substantially in reading and math over a seven year period and students in another 100 schools were not. Using massive longitudinal evidence, the study yields a comprehensive set of school practices and school and community conditions that promote improvement, noting that the absence of these spells stagnation.
Download Appendix: Survey Measures, Factors, Composite Variables, and Items Used in Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago
Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago
Symposium on January 14, 2010
- Watch the video
- Authors' Presentation
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- The Essential Supports Flier
- Truly Disadvantaged Schools Flier
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About the Book
This book by researchers from the Consortium on Chicago School Research (CCSR) provides a detailed analysis of why students in 100 public elementary schools in Chicago were able to improve substantially in reading and math over a seven year period and students in another 100 schools were not. Using massive longitudinal evidence, the study yields a comprehensive set of school practices and school and community conditions that promote improvement, noting that the absence of these spells stagnation.
These five essential supports are: school leadership, professional capacity, parent-community ties, student-centered learning climate, and instructional guidance. In contrast to many current reform efforts that seek to spur progress through one or two of these elements, this book shows that substantial school improvement requires building the social organization within schools and orchestrating initiatives across multiple domains.
Moving beyond the schoolhouse, the authors analyze community context to discover the ways internal practices of improving schools are inexorably entwined with the social resources of local neighborhoods. They raise troublesome questions about our society’s capacity to improve schooling in its most neglected communities. For schools in these communities, the task of improvement is much more formidable than most have acknowledged to date.
These findings are particularly timely as school districts nationwide launch a new round of efforts to turn around their most troubled schools. Urban education professionals and policy makers alike will learn valuable knowledge from this pioneering undertaking in Chicago.
Education Next has ranked Organizing Schools for Improvement 8th in a poll of the best educational policy books of the last decade.
Media Coverage of Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago
Washington Post, 5/2/13
Catalyst Notebook, 2/9/11
Education Next, 1/5/11
Educational Researcher (December 2010, vol. 30, no. 9 pp. 665-667)
Teachers College Record, 8/30/10
(radio version) WBEZ-FM, 5/9/10
Phi Delta Kappan (April 2010, vol. 91, no. 7, pp. 23-30)
The University of Chicago Magazine, 4/1/10
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/30/10
Education Week, 1/25/10
WBEZ Eight Forty-Eight, 1/20/10
Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee, 1/16/10
Medill Reports, 1/14/10
About the Authors
Anthony S. Bryk is president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and was founding senior director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research, University of Chicago.
Penny Bender Sebring is founding co-director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago.
Elaine Allensworth is director for statistical analysis of the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago.
Stuart Luppescu is chief psychometrician at the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago.
John Q. Easton is director of the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, and former executive director of the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the Urban Education Institute, University of Chicago.
Praise for Organizing Schools for Improvement
"Let us hope this book redirects our attention to what really matters in urban education. Beneath the numbers, there is a fundamentally optimistic view of the potential of urban schools. The authors give us every reason to believe that understanding the organizational and cultural dynamics of schools can help us make them better, much better. If we attend to this work as we should, it can be a game-changer."
–Charles M. Payne, & Youngs, Frank P. Hixon Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago
"This book will advance everyone’s thinking about key ideas in school improvement. I was excited by the authors’ willingness to go beyond descriptive facts to find out what specifically distinguishes two different student bodies with similar demographics. What is so important about this book is that it figures out and describes in various ways the vital role social capital plays both inside and outside school."
–Ellen Guiney, Director at the Boston Plan for Excellence
"Success with urban schools and urban students is a national imperative. The research presented by Bryk et al. provides a potential path to addressing it...the expertise of the researchers and the depth and breadth of their data are inarguable."
–Scheurich, Goddard, Skrla, McKenzie, & Youngs, Educational Researcher
Reports on High School Reform in Chicago
From SRI International: Maria I. Abasi, Lauren Cassidy, Daniel C. Humphrey, Raymond McGhee, Jr., Patrick M. Shields, Marjorie E. Wechsler, and Viki M. Young From CCSR: Macarena Correa, Holly M. Hart, Joy Lesnick, Lauren Sartain, Susan E. Sporte, and Sara Ray Stoelinga A series
Renaissance Schools Fund-Supported Schools: Early Outcomes, Challenges, and Opportunities
From SRI International: Kristin R. Bosetti, Lauren Cassidy, Daniel C. Humphrey, Samantha Murray, Elizabeth Rivera, Haiwen Wang, Marjorie E. Wechsler, and Viki M. Young From CCSR: Diane Whitemore Schanzenbach Chicago’s Renaissance 2010 seeks to create 100 new and autonomous schools by 2
When Schools Close: Effects on Displaced Students in Chicago Public Schools
If you would like to order multiple copies of this report, please visit Amazon for pricing information. This report reveals that eight in 10 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students displaced by school closings transferred to schools ranking in the bottom half of system schools on standardized tes
The Schools Teachers Leave: Teacher Mobility in Chicago Public Schools
This report reveals that about 100 Chicago schools suffer from chronically high rates of teacher turnover, losing a quarter or more of their teaching staff every year, and many of these schools serve predominantly low-income African American children. In the typical Chicago elementary school, 51 per
From High School to the Future: Making Hard Work Pay Off
Since 2004, the Consortium has tracked the postsecondary experiences of successive cohorts of Chicago Public Schools graduates and examined the relationship among high school preparation, support, college choice, and postsecondary outcomes. The goal of this research is to help CPS, other urban distr