2017 Progress Report

Our Annual Letter

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Since AUSL began our mission in 2001 to transform educational outcomes in Chicago’s lowest-performing schools, our network of schools has demonstrated significant success in helping our students close the achievement gap. Today the AUSL network is comprised of 31 neighborhood public schools serving nearly 17,000 Chicago students – 92.5% of which qualify for free or reduced price lunch – who are receiving a high-quality education as a result of AUSL school improvements and supports.

We were recognized by the Bridgespan Group, a global nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for those in need, as an “innovation zone” (iZone) for our approach to transforming schools. Bridgespan studied the work of AUSL and other iZones across the country and found that these iZones have the potential to result in substantial improvements in public school student outcomes. The iZones model shows success where previous initiatives to reform public education have not.

The following report is dedicated to honoring the progress made by our school network, as well as the many programs that our supporters and partners make possible. On behalf of the AUSL Board of Directors, we thank our donors and community partners for their dedication and support of our students. Through your generous commitment to AUSL, you ensure that our students receive effective teaching and learning and the extra-curricular programs needed to help them thrive.


Gary E. McCullough
Board Chairman

Donald Feinstein, Ph.D.
Executive Director

The Five Pillars of the AUSL Innovation Framework

As described by Bridgespan, AUSL is an innovation zone consisting of a network of 31 neighborhood public schools that is transforming academic outcomes for 17,000 students in Chicago’s most underserved communities, delivering on its mission of realizing the promise of education equity in Chicago and beyond. AUSL’s innovation framework is the way in which we approach the work we do across our organization every day.

1. Create Better Teachers and Leaders

We develop, place, and advance high-quality teachers and future leaders by providing targeted and scaffolded pathways.

2. Transform School Climate & Culture

We ensure previously underperforming schools are safe, supportive, and diverse learning environments that enable each child to thrive academically and socially.

3. Supporting the Whole Child

We build and sustain Pre-K through 12 academic, social-emotional, and extracurricular supports to enrich all aspects of student learning.

4. Lead with Data

We implement, nurture, and refine the data systems and culture to enhance how we serve our students.

5. Continuous Improvement

We evolve the leadership structure and relationships necessary to help the underserved populations succeed within large urban school systems.

Create Better Teachers and Leaders


The number of residents that have graduated the Chicago Teacher Residency to date.

AUSL believes highly effective teachers are the “secret sauce” to student achievement. AUSL develops new teachers, and gives them the skills they need to drive student achievement in some of Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods through the Chicago Teacher Residency (CTR). The CTR is the nation’s first and largest teacher residency program, and to date we have graduated over 1,000 residents. The CTR is a yearlong program in which residents train under the guidance of mentor teachers in AUSL classrooms and obtain a master’s degree at one of our partner universities: either DePaul University or National Louis University.

Our residents become teachers, mentor teachers, coaches, assistant principals, and principals who make a difference in some of Chicago’s highest-need schools.

With the help of these highly-effective educators,


growth in the number of students at or above grade level in both reading and math With the help of our residents entering the Chicago Public School System,

Students reading at or above grade level increased:

Before AUSL
3 Years After AUSL

Math scores improved:

Before AUSL
3 Years After AUSL

Transform School Climate AND Culture

Champions in the Classroom and On the Field

The Orr Academy Spartans celebrated their first state title as a school in Division 2A basketball.

In November, the Phillips Academy Wildcats celebrated their second state football championship, this time Class 5A, becoming the only CPS school to earn a football state championship, let alone two – ever.

The Solorio Academy Sun Warriors celebrated their first ever Division 2A state soccer championship in November 2017.

But our students are not just champions on the field. At our schools, as Craig Elmore, a Phillips senior running back and linebacker sums up, our focus is clear: “The legacy we want to leave behind is good grades, good football, better students.” Whether its football, soccer, drama, or drumline, our students know that it’s about grades first and extracurricular activities second on the way to becoming a well-rounded student and school citizen.

In the News

Quincy Patterson will be Virginia Tech’s First Quarterback to Major in Engineering

If you follow Chicago’s high school football scene, you probably already know Quincy Patterson, the Solorio Academy High School quarterback who drew lots of attention from college recruiters before committing to Virginia Tech last spring. But you probably don’t know he’ll be the first Virginia Tech quarterback in history to major in their highly-regarded engineering department.

This is all possible because Quincy’s high school academic record is just as stellar as his athletics: a 27 on the ACT, a slew of AP courses and a weighted GPA now hovering around a 4.4. And he earned all this despite some elementary school experiences that could have thrown off even the brightest kid.

Quincy’s family moved to Gage Park when he was in the fifth grade, and enrolled him in Marquette, two years prior to AUSL managing it. After his sixth grade year, Quincy’s mom, Kimberly Dalton-Patterson, almost moved him to a different school, but decided to see if AUSL would make a difference.

They have not been disappointed. Quincy finished his elementary schooling at Marquette School of Excellence under AUSL management, and decided to continue within AUSL’s network and attended Solorio. As a freshman, Quincy got his first classroom taste of engineering in an elective and loved it. “My egg didn’t break,” he says of the results of his design project creating something that would keep an egg from breaking when dropped from a second-story window.

Like most high school freshmen, Quincy struggled at first to manage his time and meet new levels of responsibility in sports and studies. But he got key support from his athletic director and AP Human Geography teacher, Jeff Niemiec. When Quincy’s grades slipped under the pressure, Niemiec “forced” him out of JV games and kept him focused on varsity football and studies.

“Freshman year was a little shaky in the beginning, but he got it under control,” Dalton-Patterson said. “I’ve loved it here.” In fact, Dalton-Patterson
has loved it so much she now works in Solorio’s front office. This year she also became the first parent to win Solorio’s Mike Koldyke Friend of the Athletic Program award.

While it’s clear Quincy wouldn’t be where he is today without his dedicated mom, his educational trajectory also took a turn for the better thanks to AUSL, from their work turning around Marquette to providing an outstanding neighborhood high school, Solorio.

In reflecting on the progress made by AUSL in Chicago Public Schools over the last 10+ years, creating new and better choices, especially in high schools, has made a real difference, not just in numbers and statistics, but in lives of young people, like Quincy Patterson.

Supporting the Whole Child

USL and SGA Youth and Family Services developed a partnership to address the social-emotional needs of AUSL students, while providing a year-long clinical experience for Master’s level students with SGA’s oversight and training. SGA recruits interns from graduate-level social work, psychology and counseling programs across Chicago.

The program was formally named SCOPES (School Collaboration Offering and Providing Emotional Supports). Since the program’s inception, it has provided classroom and school-wide social emotional support through comprehensive case management, individual and group counseling as well as crisis intervention to approximately 800 AUSL students. Therapy approaches are used to help students increase social skills, improve relationships, learn positive coping techniques, and improve anger management skills.

Interns see student clients individually or in small groups. They serve their schools three days per week, for an entire school year and receive academic credit at their institution of study. SGA interns are supervised on-site by the school counselor/social worker/psychologist. SGA hired clinicians who each provide supervision for five interns and provide clinical support at each intern’s assigned school one day per week. Twice per month, the interns meet as a collective for group supervision with the program coordinator and supervising clinicians.

“[Our interns] are instrumental in the social emotional interventions at [our school]. Our young people benefit from the relationships they make with SGA so much. I am very pleased with the two interns we have this year and the progress they are making with our students!”

In 2017, AUSL had 17 SCOPES interns at 14 schools. Here are some of the results of the program:

97.4% of students agreed that they received helpful information from their clinician

93.5% of students agreed their clinician helped them reach their goals

94.8% of students agreed that they learned new ways to handle their problems because of their clinician

98.7% of students would recommend SGA services to others

“We are able to provide support to students who struggle with behavior in multiple settings. Students who need counseling because of grief or loss are able to get additional minutes outside of what the school social worker can provide. Our intern has also built relationships with students and staff so this has helped us improve our restorative justice.”

“[Our intern]; is truly a joy to have in our school. He has provided us with a different perspective on social emotional learning and restorative practices. He is consistently calm and nurturing to our students and staff which has allowed for him to make great gains in building relationships with students, teachers and staff. We trust him and we know that he truly supports the work we are doing here at [our school].”

Lead with Data

Know Your Numbers

Data ensures we are able to impact student achievement at scale. One way in which we bring data to life is through our Know Your Numbers campaign in our schools.

This is designed to keep students informed of their progress toward graduation and college. They are designed to be easily interpreted by students and their families.

At the middle school level these reports familiarize students with the most important metrics around their educational success. These are an additional resource as students navigate the high school application process. These also equip middle school counselors to have targeted conversations around successes or challenges.

Continuous Improvement


The number of AUSL Schools scored that are in Good Standing on the SY2018 Ratings.

This is nearly double the number of schools which scored in Good Standing in the SY 2015 Ratings. For the first time we have no Level 3 high schools or elementary schools.

AUSL has increased the percentage of schools scoring in Good Standing in every year since SQRP was introduced following the 2013-2014 school year.

  • CPS
  • AUSL

AUSL SQRP Ratings: School Year 2015 to 2018


  • Level 1+
  • Level 1
  • Level 2+
  • Level 2
  • Level 3


  • Level 1+
  • Level 1
  • Level 2+
  • Level 2
  • Level 3


  • Level 1+
  • Level 1
  • Level 2+
  • Level 2
  • Level 3


  • Level 1+
  • Level 1
  • Level 2+
  • Level 2
  • Level 3


AUSL’s public-private partnership with Chicago Public Schools demonstrates an innovative model for urban education reform that is proving effective in revitalizing low-performing schools.

Longitudinal studies of children growing up in high-needs areas, like the neighborhoods AUSL schools are located, consistently reveal that these students are at a high risk of educational underachievement as early as first grade. AUSL raises substantial funding from foundations, corporations, government agencies, and committed individuals to provide our students with extra support structures above and beyond the resources CPS provides for general school operating budgets. These services range from teacher coaches to after-school programming and everything in between.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has described the AUSL model as a “good return on taxpayer investment,” going on to say that “with AUSL, I get every dollar back.”

Fiscal Year 2017 Expenses Breakdown

  • Network Schools
  • Chicago Teacher Residency
  • Network Educational Services*
  • Network Curricular Enhancements
  • Administration & Financial Development

*Includes coaching, professional learning, performance management, and advisory services


AUSL recognizes that developing and learning do not — and should not — begin and end when children walk through the doors of the school. In addition to forming strong relationships with parents and community members, AUSL establishes partnerships with many community-based organizations and local agencies that provide vital in-school and out-of-school services to our students. From tutoring to fine arts programming, AUSL’s partners offer our students an incredible range of life experiences.

Better Schools. Brighter Futures.