Elevate in Action: Empowering Students and Teachers for Transformational Learning

In the landscape of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), a powerful collaboration between the UChicago Network for College Success (NCS) and CPS is evolving how classrooms operate. At the heart of this transformation is Elevate, a continuous improvement platform that is reshaping education by focusing on student experience and its impact on academic outcomes.
Read on to learn more about how NCS leveraged Elevate to support educators in shaping the future of learning.

Amplifying Student Voices

In the pursuit of academic success, it is crucial not to overlook the unique experiences and perspectives of students. Elevate addresses this by prioritizing student voices. Through well-crafted surveys, students are invited to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences regarding their educational journey. This valuable input enables educators to create learning environments that resonate with their students, fostering deeper engagement and personal growth.
“Having the [Elevate] data is beautiful because it is young people’s truth right there on screen or paper for you to say that our intentions- as wonderful as they might be- if they’re not landing, they don’t really matter that much,” says Jessica Bunzol, NCS Coach

Supporting Teachers with Compassion

Recognizing the challenges faced by educators, NCS coaches approached the implementation of Elevate with empathy and support. They created safe spaces for teachers to express their concerns and aspirations, ensuring that Elevate became a tool for positive change rather than an added burden. This compassionate approach fostered trust and collaboration, empowering teachers to embrace new teaching practices and enhance their impact in the classroom.

From Small Steps to Meaningful Impact

Change is often incremental, and Elevate is no exception. It began with a pilot program involving four dedicated teachers during the demanding year of remote learning in 2020-2021. The encouraging results from this initial phase sparked enthusiasm and paved the way for expansion in the following academic year. Despite the challenges posed by teacher burnout, the program grew substantially, reaching dozens of teachers and over 1,400 students across 13 CPS high schools. This growth showcases the commitment of educators to create transformative learning experiences.

Harnessing the Power of Data and Collaboration

Data plays a vital role in informed decision-making. Elevate equips teachers with insightful analytics derived from student responses. By leveraging this valuable data, educators can identify areas of strength, known as "bright spots," where exceptional learning conditions have led to noteworthy outcomes. Through collaboration with school teams and sharing best practices, teachers can replicate these successful strategies across classrooms, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and equitable learning experiences for all students. The data also helps teachers to identify areas for attention in their own practice, work together to identify and enact change ideas around these areas for attention, and track whether or not these change ideas are positively impacting the experiences of young people.

In Conclusion

Elevate is giving students a voice and empowering teachers to create impactful learning environments. Through Elevate, NCS is helping educators shape the future of education, one student and one classroom at a time. By continuing to value student perspectives, supporting teachers with empathy, and utilizing data-driven decision-making, Elevate is fostering engagement, academic growth, and equity in schools. 
Read the full case study to learn more about how NCS and CPS leveraged Elevate to improve learning conditions for students and educators alike.