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A Study of Charter Schools in Illinois

In 2019, MI was awarded a three-year evaluation contract to study Illinois charter schools. In Year 1, we conducted a case study of two charter schools that had been awarded state dissemination grants, following them and their non-charter partners through all phases of the dissemination process. In Year 2, the focus of our work shifted to identify the effects of mandate relief on charter policies and outcomes. Additionally, we isolated 12 high-performing charter schools that surpassed their comparison non-charter public schools and their districts in academic proficiency and attendance for the three of the most recent consecutive years. Our analysis brought to light a set of innovations that these front runners had crafted, incubated and refined. In Year 3, we facilitated a sharing of these best practices in the charter school community through monthly web-based presentations. You can find them here.

The Glue

The Glue Behind Successful High School Transitions

Starting high school can be scary. Imagine that you are a ninth-grade student at freshman orientation, and you’ve just learned that your high school has created an intentional class called advisory. You will be assigned an “advisor” who will be with you and the same group of students from your graduating class for all four years of high school. Now, imagine you are a senior sitting at your graduation ceremony, and your advisor walks to the stage to give a speech addressing your advisory and the four years you’ve spent together. How do you think the advisory has affected your high school experience?


Establishing authentic relationships is the foundation for easing the transition from grammar school to high school. In this webinar, participants will learn the ins and outs of our advisory system and will be able to answer the following questions:


  • What is the purpose of advisory?

  • What is the role of an advisor?

  • What are the structures, roles, and functions of advisory?

  • What does a successful advisory system look like?


The Glue Webinar


Families at the Core

Families at the Core: How to Go Beyond Partnership and Have a Lasting Impact on Students and their Families

If you are looking for innovative ways to support yours students’ families with research-based tools, data-informed staff collaboration, and practices that have a deep impact on your student’s lives, then this presentation is for you. You will learn how our school provides immersive supports for the whole family, including implementation steps that you can apply in a way that works for your school community. We will explore our family support framework, strategies for increasing impact, implementation timeline, meet a family and see how the model has supported our community during the pandemic.



Outside 4 Walls

Outside the Four Walls: Engaging Students Through Environmental Learning










At our school, we believe that children are the best hope for the future. Today’s youth will become adults in a world facing climate and environmental challenges, and need to be Natural Leaders. As such, environmental and outdoor learning play an important role in increasing student engagement, achievement, and physical and mental health. Participants in this webinar will learn how we use Education for Sustainability and Place-, Problem- and Project-based pedagogies from our experienced educators. Educators, administration and all those involved in learning communities are invited to learn about our approach, join a panel of teachers discussing the implementation of these learning strategies, and start discussing how the key elements of a green school can be incorporated into various educational settings.



Student Led Teaching

Student-Led Teaching? Really?


Have you wondered if it’s possible for students to teach each other rigorous material through discussions they control? The Harkness approach does just that and leads to a deeper understanding of the content. Harkness goes further: it teaches students the importance of having open dialogue with other people about a variety of topics—a life-long skill set. In this webinar, educators will be introduced to the Harkness instructional model. What is it? Why use it? And what are its pillars? We will review the ways we practice it and provide resources for how a teacher or a school can implement Harkness and the necessary mindsets for students and teachers to effectively use Harkness in the classroom. This webinar is intended for teachers and school leaders who have an interest in incorporating this progressive teaching model within their classroom and/or their larger school community.

Student Led Teaching Webinar


Spill the Tea

Spill the Tea: An Alumni Counselor's Guide to First-Gen Student Success





















College enrollment and completion are often regarded as a litmus test for K-12 education. And while national trends indicate a rise in post-secondary enrollment, we know that a successful college experience is not created equally—especially for first-generation students from low-income families. As a catalyst for educational equity in Chicago, UIC College Prep has Alumni Counselors committed to supporting alumni towards college completion. We coach alumni through systematic barriers and empower them to create multi-generational change in achieving their educational goals. We are building lasting relationships and effecting change in the lives of students, families, and communities of color. In this webinar teachers and administrators will:

1. learn about the unique challenges of first-generation college students directly

from our alumni;

2. gain insight into UIC College Prep’s strategies to support this population; and

3. take away best practices for enhancing alumni supports.

Spill the Tea Webinar


Writing Your Future

Writing Your Future: A Toolbox for Success

In a world where change is fast and furious and technology becomes the driving force, literacy skills become more important than ever, specifically written communication. Writing well is not only the expectation, but it opens doors for all students, especially those whose skills may not be fairly assessed with standardized testing and GPA alone. A skilled writer can write his or her own future. Ask any student at our school.

Educators need the tools and techniques to help their students become powerful writers. In this webinar, teachers and administrators will learn how to effectively use templates, rubrics, annotations, and feedback to streamline and individualize the writing process and see results. This professional toolbox is designed to lay the foundation to build writers’ skills and confidence as they create their future.



Keeping Great Teachers

Keeping Great Teachers in the Classroom—The Distinguished Teacher Pathway

We all know that excellent teachers are hard to hold on to, especially in inner-city schools. The lure of higher pay and better working conditions conspire to pull them away from where they are most needed. In truth, great teachers are an endangered species. But we believe there is a solution to this brain-drain. In this webinar, we share a system-wide approach that promises to turn this trajectory around. Participants will learn:

1. the guiding principles and driving factors behind the pathway to retention,

2. the application process to become a distinguished teacher,

3. the selection process, and

4. the incentives given to awardees and the expectations made of them.

Keeping Great Teachers Webinar_edited.jpg


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