That all children will be excellent lifelong learners and achieve their maximum potential in schools in which we work.
Strategic Learning Initiatives (SLI) supports communities of learners using research-based, high performance strategies, emphasizing shared leadership, professional development and family engagement to improve the education of children.
Strategic Learning Initiatives values include creating a culture of collaboration, trust, open communication, integrity, respect, continuous improvement and stakeholder empowerment.
Strategic Learning Initiatives is a Chicago nonprofit dedicated to accelerating student, adult and organizational learning. We work with schools with the lowest income families in Chicago, across Illinois and in Los Angeles.
SLI’s vision and strategies are grounded in the best systemic research over forty years in education, organizational behavior and continuous quality improvement. SLI leaders, board and staff, have each had decades of experience in leading systemic change in their own schools and corporations. Over the past twenty years, we have worked in more than sixty-five Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
SLI is engaged in research and policy development. An example is the recent book by SLI President John Simmons, Breaking Through: Transforming Urban School Districts Teachers College Press Columbia University. SLI was the lead witness for the Hearing on Turnaround Schools held by the US House Committee on Education and Labor, May, 2010. Our work has been featured on Education Week’s front page, January 6, 2010.
We focus on the continuous improvement of the model to accelerate its impact on student and adult learning, by reducing the cost, and shortening the time needed to complete the turnaround and transformation process. In our most recently completed neighborhood network of eight “failed” CPS elementary schools that were to be closed or reconstituted, three turned around their scores and culture in one year, three more the second year and two the third year. Several network schools have nearly closed the achievement gap, ie having 90 percent of their students at or above proficiency. We are working on the design to scale the results across districts with 50 to 100 schools with students that are below 90 percent proficiency in 7 years.
The outcomes we strive to deliver in an accelerated fashion are as follows:
Financial support for SLI has come from the Chicago Board of Education, individual CPS schools, the CPS Office of Early Childhood Development, the Illinois State Board of Education (Federal Recovery Act Funding), plus the generous commitment of foundations, corporations and individual supporters. They have included: The Chicago Community Trust, Cisco Foundation Ford Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Woods Fund of Chicago, Boeing Company, McCormick Foundation, The Prince Charitable Trusts, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Motorola Foundation, Steans Family Foundation, plus anonymous foundations and individuals.