Excellence. Equity. Innovation.

Diverse Approaches: One Goal

We understand that transforming the lives of all young people demands more than a cookie-cutter approach. Our campuses are designed for our communities, with innovative approaches as diverse as the communities we serve.

Here’s how we make breakthrough change happen:


We run a vibrant and diverse network of 14 schools, with a commitment to deliver excellence for each of the 8,500 students from the 56 Chicago communities that we serve. Our ambitious Vision of Excellence defines what students and families can expect from every CICS campus:

We’re spreading the joy of learning every day.

Every school promotes a safe, thriving culture filled with joy, a love of learning, and a relentless focus on results.

Our schools offer rigorous content for every child.

All students tackle complex, culturally-responsive, standards aligned content, ideas, and tasks to sequentially build knowledge and experiences that support active, informed civic engagement and college success.

We’re all in for our students.

The whole CICS community is invested in the success of all our students, cares deeply about them, believes they have the potential to be successful in any life path they choose, expects them to persevere through challenges, and is fully committed to providing learning environments for students to learn and experience the world.

We’re all in for our adults, too.

In our schools, educators are empowered to grow and lead. They are given the opportunity to succeed individually while supporting better student outcomes.

Our schools are designed for our students.

CICS’s portfolio of schools provides a rich mix of school models and learning environments that together meet the unique interests, preferences, and needs of families in the communities they serve.

Our schools are hubs of excellence and equity.

CICS uses its scale to push every possible resource to schools so they are thriving learning spaces that promote equity.

When families speak, we listen.

All students and parents have a meaningful voice in their education experience.

Our schools are diverse and culturally-sensitive.

Our schools reflect the diversity of our beloved city. We value and expect cross-cultural competence and know that this requires a continuous commitment to self-reflection and self-awareness. Through policies, practices, and attitudes, we nurture a culture that prepares staff and students to thrive in a cross-cultural world.

We’re taking calculated risks that pay off for students long-term.

Every school and provider is encouraged to implement evidence-based innovations to meet student needs, with long-term student success as their North Star.

We create a vibrant oasis for Chicago education entrepreneurs.

CICS’s vibrant, thriving network attracts bold, ambitious, outstanding, creative talent that is willing to take risks and is committed to lifelong learning.

We’re nurturing mind and body.

All students receive individualized support and access to enrichment activities that nurture the social and emotional competencies they’ll need to become happy, healthy, mature, and aware adults.

We identify brilliant education entrepreneurs eager and ready to commit to the same ambitious vision, and we support them as they launch innovative new school models and organizations that redesign the learning environment.


We provide supportive infrastructure and resources to help our schools thrive, including a collaborative network of like-minded innovative leaders, efficient shared services, actionable data, and an accountability framework.

3-Year Blueprint: Our Shared Vision of Excellence

Our bold and ambitious plan to achieve excellence for every child, every day.

Learn more

Portfolio Excellence Framework

It is critically important that each CICS campus and operator lives up to our promise of enabling every student to thrive, every day, on the path to success in college and in life.

To help us deliver on our commitment to excellence, we have created a CICS Portfolio Excellence Framework that details how we:

Define and measure excellence.

We believe that Amazing Talent, Thriving Culture and Rigorous Academics are the three leading indicators of student academic outcomes, the truest measure of success for our campuses.

We measure operators on financial outcomes as well academic outcomes because we believe that sustainable excellence depends on the ability to manage resources wisely and responsibly.

Evaluate our portfolio of campuses and operators.

We measure campus and operator performance on key indicators and outcomes based on four types of data: Academic Outcome, Non-Academic Outcome, Campus and Operator Observations, and Survey Data from parents, students, and teachers.

We reward campuses and operators who perform well, and we require oversight or interventions for those who need support to achieve excellence. Access to performance data is available throughout the school year, and a formal review and evaluation occurs three times a year.

Support continuous improvement.

Recognizing that school excellence is not static, we will continuously review this Portfolio Excellence Framework to ensure we are forward-thinking about what we measure, capture innovations aligned to our Vision of Excellence, incorporate multiple perspectives about what students should learn, and integrate cutting-edge research about how students learn.

Chicago International Charter School

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Chicago, IL, 60603
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