Resources from Schools as Anchors: Communities Planning for Their Schools

Blocks Together and RYH hosted a 1 1/2 day event on Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13. We learned more about best practices in planning for school facilities and programming from local experts and from national expert Mary Filardo, Executive Director of the 21st Century School Fund. Below are the resources shared during the event and many more. 

We are grateful to Crossroads Fund who supported this event! We also want to thank Alexios Rosario-Moore for all his work organizing the agenda, materials, and workshops!


In 2018 a new state law mandated planning for vacant and under enrolled schools. Through practical workshops guided by national experts and local practitioners, your school community will learn best practices for:
• the joint use of buildings.
• proposing new attendance boundaries.
• developing new programs to recruit students.
• potential school mergers.



Schools as Anchors: CPS Facility ReformCecile DeMello, Blocks Together

Community PK-12 Planning Practices that Support Pathways to OpportunityMary Filardo, 21st Century School Fund

The Guide above was mentioned by Mary as valuable for national definitions that you can use for facilities advocacy.

Tool developed by 21st Century School Fund for attendance boundaries. (Note: There is one slide in Mary's presentation with a list of links for various tools produced by 21st Century School Fund. We will post them soon.)

Referenced during the event:

A Policy Framework For Joint Use: Enabling and Supporting Community Use of K-12 Public School Facilities


How to find your school's facility assessment: CPS Schools web page

  • Click "School Locator".
  • Type in school name. Select it in the drop down menu, then click "More Info"- bottom left in the box. This takes you to your school's CPS web page. 
  • Click "Download" (in the rectangular box under school and address). There are many reports here.
  • Scroll down to "Building". There are several reports here. Please note that there are two facility assessments available: "Summary Report" and "Detail Report". Facility Assessments are, by law, to be conducted every 2 years. Yes, the last facility assessments were conducted in 2014-15; 2016-17 was skipped; we're not sure about 2018-19. Also note that you can access your "Educational Facilities Master Plan" from 2013. (There is an updated version of the full EFMP from 2018- the link is below.)

CPS Facility Standards web page

There are many links to information and data here. It is worth checking out this CPS web page- and perhaps bookmarking it. Some content to note:

CPS School Transitions web page

This page houses all information related to Community Submitted School Proposals, Guidelines for School Actions, School Actions, and School Transitions. See the tabs below for more information.

Illinois School Code

For the purposes of this resources page, we direct you to prec. Sec. 34-200 - School Action and Facility Master Planning (which is under Article 34 - Cities Of Over 500,000 Inhabitants - Board Of Education.)

CPS School Data web page: Find the Annual Regional Analysis (ARA) here.

Click on the CPS School Data web page link, then click on "Annual Regional Analysis" (ARA) to get a drop down menu. Scroll down to find both the 2018-19 ARA and 2017-18 ARA. Yes, it is broken into many sections based on "regions" of the city and each region needs to be downloaded separately.

Below are some RYH links containing some concerns about the ARA and our posts about "community engagement" for both the ARA and the 2018 updated EFMP:

In response to the recent release of the Annual Regional Analysis (ARA), RYH wrote the linked statement with Blocks Together and Generation AllThis statement was included in this article by Chalkbeat ChicagoChicago schools chief urges principals to apply for enrollment-boosting programs.

In the above post we try to explain the ARA when it was first revealed to the public. There are many links where you can learn more. 

The Annual Regional Analysis (ARA) is unnecessary. There's already an Educational Facilities Master Plan (EFMP) required by law, as noted in the link above. CPS should embark on an overarching, citywide authentic community engagement process to prepare a real, genuine EFMP that can be implemented in a transparent and accountable manner. In the above post we document the Summer 2018 "Outreach" meetings for the EFMP which was eventually released in October 2018.

Archived web page of the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force (CEFTF)

PA 96-0803 established the Chicago Educational Facilities Task Force. The purpose of the task force is to ensure that school facility-related decisions are made with the input of the community and reflect educationally sound and fiscally responsible criteria. The task force, with the help of independent experts, will analyze past Chicago experiences and data with respect to school openings, school closings, school consolidations, school turnarounds, school phase-outs, school construction, school repairs, school modernizations, school boundary changes, and other related school facility decisions on students; consult widely with stakeholders, including public officials, about these facility issues and their related costs; and examine relevant best practices from other school systems for dealing with these issues systematically and equitably.​​​​

This archived web page includes links to resources as well as agendas and minutes from their meetings.

Press coverage of the event

Chalkbeat ChicagoAre there alternatives to closing schools? Chicago parents consider options.