The initial work of the SCI Program is being developed in Chicago, where it is known as "The Inquiry Initiative." It works with twenty-four public schools in the city, and six of the city's school reform projects, each of which is part-funded by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Focusing on the development of strategies and skills to inquire into teaching and learning; student learning, progress and achievement, and schools as learning communities, as well as into experiences with change, the initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of teachers, administrators, parents, schools' encompassing communities, and school reformers, to inquire into, know, and improve, schools yet more effectively. Through engaging with each school, and the reform project with which it works, the initiative supports every school to provide an accurate account of its work - "to tell its own story."
In helping schools provide such accounts of their work, the initiative is also developing the idea of a Digital School Portfolio(c). In this undertaking, technologies are being used to enable each school not only to communicate its work, challenges, and accomplishments, but also to connect different aspects of its work in ways which can advance the public's understanding of public schools. The frameworks within which each school's Digital School Portfolio(c) is being developed, and within which their school-based inquiry is being undertaken, are identical. Both consist of three components, each with four elements, and are supported by a set of key questions.
Inquiry Initiative |
Teaching & Learning |
Student Learning, Progress & Achievement |
Schools as Learning Communities |
Digital School Portfolio |
Workshops & Exhibitions |
Online Seminars |
Conversations & Connections |
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