Frequently Asked Questions

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What hotels are in close proximity to the Institute? 
Hyatt Place Chicago-South/University Medical Center
5225 S Harper Ave, Chicago, IL 60615

La Quinta Inn & Suites Chicago - Lake Shore
4900A S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60615

Chicago South Loop Hotel
11 W 26th Street, Chicago, IL, 60616 United States,

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place
2233 S Martin Luther King Dr, Chicago, IL, 60616 United States,

Are large group rates available?
Yes. For schools or districts sending 4 or more team members, there is a reduced rate of $4200 per person. For teams of 10 or more, please contact Sandra Ortigoza to discuss a large group rate.

Are scholarships available?
There are a limited number of partial scholarships available. Complete the scholarship application.

Is it possible to attend a portion of the Institute (not the whole 7 days)?
The summer days are foundational learning and critical to the remainder of the Institute. Participants must pay for the entire cost and we strongly encourage all to participate in all 7 days.

Can a different set of team members come each time?  
On an emergency, case-by-case basis, someone can “sub” in for another team member. Ideally, the core team participates for the full 7 days. It is critical for the Principal to be present. If an Assistant Principal is actually in charge of this arena, we will consider his/her participation instead. It is important that Principals are in full support of the efforts. 

Can we bring 8th grade staff?
The Institute is more relevant to high school educators, though you could consider bringing someone who works with eighth graders as an additional member of your team.

Is the Institute only suited for large, urban districts?
No! Any school, of any size, committed to improving its graduation rate is invited to participate.

What if the dates don't work for our team? What are our options?
We hope you can join us next summer as we anticipate offering another Institute! Additionally, NCS will post our On-Track Toolkit as an available resource on our website later summer that you can access.

What if our team does not have the suggested personnel for participating?
NCS will accommodate various team configurations with the inclusion of the Principal.  We are happy to consult with you around which staff might be most appropriate. 

Are there opportunities between the Institute sessions to extend the learning?
Additional on-site consultation and coaching is available to districts sending multiple schools teams to the Institute. The cost is $2600/day per coach, plus travel. Leadership coaching and/or data consultation are available as well.

Additionally, we will provide one phone consultation prior to each session to support teams’ data readiness for the Institute. Participants will also be invited to participate in an online community of practice to share questions, issues, and strategies between sessions.

What data do we need to bring to the Institute?
We will work with your school, district, and/or partners to help teams gather the data necessary for the Institute. Over the summer, we will review data related to the 8th grade achievement of your incoming freshmen (grades, attendance, and/or test scores). During the school year, we will review freshman grades, and potentially related data including attendance, discipline, etc. 

Will I receive continuing education credits for participating?
We will issue a certificate of completion that includes hours and content. How that might translate into continuing education credit in your district is dependent upon requirements in your district and state. This does not include University of Chicago course credit. 

What is the role of district staff?
Support from district staff can greatly enhance implementation. We encourage district staff to attend in partnership with school teams in order to align this work to district priorities and to provide appropriate supports and networking opportunities. Districts play an important role in helping schools understand the relationship between freshman success and high school graduation in your local context. 

Who is leading the Institute?
Expert NCS staff with school leadership, teaching, and data and research backgrounds will design and facilitate the Institute. Our staff has provided quality professional learning, coaching, and data support to Chicago public high schools for the last decade.

Guest speakers will include colleagues from the UChicago Consortium on School Research and practitioners from Chicago Public Schools who have been leading this work.