2017 conference agenda

Friday February 17, 2017

University of Chicago Gleacher Center

450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL 60611

11:30 am - 12:00 pm: LUNCH AND registration


Welcome Remarks - Dean Stacey Kole

Keynote Speaker - Todd Babbitz ('04), former Chief Transformation Officer of Chicago Public Schools

1:00 - 2:00 pm: breakout session 1

The Architecture of School Choice

What do students and families care about most when choosing between schools? How does the ranking system affect their decision-making process? Join University of Chicago Professor of Economics Seth Zimmerman in exploring the factors that influence families' school choice decisions.

Investing in Scaling Impact

In a crowded funding landscape, how do the most impactful organizations differentiate themselves? Chicago Booth Social Enterprise Initiative Executive Director, Christina Hachikian, moderates a discussion of what it takes to scale impactful organizations in the Chicago education landscape today. Learn from Liam Krehbiel, Founder and CEO of A Better Chicago, Daniel Anello, CEO of New Schools for Chicago, and Chris Broughton, the Executive Director of Bottom Line Chicago.

Organizational Strategy: Creating an Effective Strategic Plan for Your Org

Where is your org headed and how will you get there? Join Vanessa Douyon, the Senior Director of Strategy at New Orleans College Prep, for a quick primer on how to set direction and priorities for your organization, align your team to that vision, and, ultimately, drive results. Participants will walk away with a framework for creating their own strategic plan, quick tools and tips for executing your strategic planning process, and a sharper sense of organizational strategy.

What Gives? Delivering State-of-the-Art Schools in an Era of Declining Resources and Rising Needs

This session examines the state of Chicago's educational facilities footprint, the progress that has been made under Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the work that remains. It asks you to reflect on what work you might prioritize - and what you might choose to leave "undone" - if you were in the seat of a decision maker and could not afford to do it all. Given financial constraints, hard choices will need to be made and many desired improvements will be inevitably and indefinitely deferred.

  • Health and safety is always the priority, but would you replace potential carcinogens based on emerging but uncertain science?
  • Would you build new schools in under-enrolled areas, if it meant leaving overcrowded schools in other areas?
  • Would you defer repairs to leaky roofs, crumbling walls, and old boilers at risk of failure, so that you could afford new academic programs or technology investments?
  • Which would you consider a higher priority: playground equipment for elementary schools, air conditioning of classrooms, or making schools fully accessible to students with disabilities?

The session will be led by Todd Babbitz, who was the district's Chief Transformation Officer, with responsibility for CPS's Educational Facilities Master Plan, demographics team, and capital planning initiatives.

2:15 - 3:15 pm: breakout session 2

Building Human Capital Panel

Great people are the lifeblood of any high-performing organization. Lauren Schwartze from Bellwether Education Partners' Talent practice will lead a discussion on how to recruit, hire, empower, and retain excellent talent in the education sector with Aneesh Sohoni, Executive Director of Teach For America - Chicago, Carmita Vaughan Semaan, President and Founder of the Surge Institute, James Troupis, Chief Talent Officer for Chicago's Noble Network, and Annie Davis-Korelc, Midwest Director for Education Pioneers.

Innovative School Models Panel

How are today's schools solving similar challenges in different ways? What are the greatest challenges and opportunities schools face in providing students with a great education? Leaders from Intrinsic Schools, Great Lakes Academy, and University of Chicago Charter share their unique approaches to K-12 education: what they have in common and what sets them apart.

How Schools Compete and the Impact of District Policies

Join University of Chicago Professor of Economics Michael Dinerstein for a discussion of how the effectiveness of educational policies depends on the types of schools in a given school district and how they compete for students. The session will develop a straightforward framework of school competition and consider several examples of in-the-news school district policies – e.g., public school funding formulas, charter school caps, school closures -- that might be more or less effective depending on the competitive environment. Participants will leave with an appreciation for the difficulty in setting district-wide policy and an understanding of how policies might affect even non-targeted schools. Such insights may aid school practitioners in reacting to changes in district policies or advising the district on how its policies might affect their school.

3:30 - 4:30 pm : breakout session 3

The Economics of Investing in Young Children… And Why It's Not as Simple as it Sounds

From economics to neuroscience, linguistics to social sciences, top researchers agree that reaching children during their earliest years provides the greatest return on investment. Join the founders of VOCEL, an innovative early education center, to discuss the impact that high-quality early learning has on children, communities and society and dig in to the complexities specific to Chicago's early education landscape, seeking to answer the question, "If we know what works, why aren't we doing it?"

LEAP Innovations Pilot Network: Supporting Successful Personalized Learning Strategies

Transforming from a one-size-fits-all education system to one that is tailored to the needs and skills of individual learners requires planning, collaboration and professional development support. Participants in the nationally-recognized LEAP Innovations Pilot Network program will offer the educator's perspective of the journey through implementing and evaluating personalized learning strategies in this session. Led by Amy Huang, LEAP's Senior Director of Programs, Dr. LeViis Haney, principal of Joseph Lovett Elementary and Ms. Anglense Jones, a teacher at Wendell Smith Elementary will give participants tangible examples of classroom redesign along with the challenges and rewards it represents.

To & Through: Using Data to Improve High School Graduation

The University of Chicago's To&Through Project provides educators, policymakers, and families with research, data, and resources on the milestones that matter most for college success. This interactive session will focus on the first of these critical milestones, Freshman OnTrack, an indicator that uses course failures and credits to predict whether a student will drop out of high school. Research from the UChicago Consortium, real-time data from CPS, and training and resources from the Network for College Success have helped spur Chicago high schools to improve high school graduation rates from 57% to 74% in less than a decade. Part of the reason Freshman OnTrack data was so effective is that it prompted CPS high schools to build organizational capacity, often by building 9th grade teams. Participants in this session will have the opportunity to role-play a 9th grade team meeting, using real Freshmen OnTrack data from the Network for College Success to analyze freshman performance against incoming credentials.

Understanding Impact in Education: Lessons from UChicago Urban Labs

Assessing impact is one of the biggest challenges facing managers in any social sector organization. Carmelo Barbaro ('12), Executive Director of the University of Chicago Poverty Lab, and Kelly Hallberg (MPP '05), Managing Director at the Urban Labs, will introduce us to their work during this session. They will provide an overview of different approaches to evaluating impact, and will describe their research partnerships with three innovative organizations that support low-income students in accessing and completing postsecondary education.

4:30 PM onward: networking reception