Alain Locke

10 Oct, 2014



The mission of Alain Locke Charter School (Alain Locke) is to serve as a demonstration site for urban schools exemplifying excellence in academics, the arts, personal and social development, and producing students who are globally competitive. Alain Locke, in Chicago, Illinois, serves approximately 550 students in Grades PK–8. The school was founded by Pat Ryan, Jr. and has been in operation for 14 years. In 2013, 94 percent of its students qualified for free and reduced-price lunch.

The goal of Alain Locke is to produce students who are globally competitive. Student achievement has been recognized nationally as among the best in the United States. Alain Locke uses a learner-centered approach that focuses on preparing students for a successful college experience. It provides an extended day, year-round program with four 10-week quarters separated by three weeklong intersessions and a short summer break.

This continuous cycle of learning allows in-depth exploration of each core subject and provides time for participation in a wide array of enrichment programs—including Spanish, technology, art, music, library, and physical education—that promote academic achievement and social growth. With the extended day, year-round program, Alain Locke students, compared with students at many traditional schools in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), have an additional 10 instructional days per year and 3.5 extra hours of instruction per day.

Alain Locke has been profiled by the U.S. Department of Education for making significant inroads towards closing the achievement gap in their school communities in the publication,

K-8 Charter Schools: Closing the Achievement Gap. The school was also 1 of 37 schools recognized as a "2013 Spotlight School" by the Illinois State Board of Education for the 8th consecutive year; this award recognized schools in low-income areas where academic performance is closing the achievement gap.


This case study provides information on the following focus areas that have been identified as key areas for consideration in the shift to implementing the Common Core:

Strategic Planning for Common Core Implementation and Assessment. This section examines the development, monitoring, and assessment of the school’s three-year transition to the Common Core.

Aligning the Curriculum and Instructional Practices to the Common Core. This section focuses on the process for developing the scope and sequences in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, professional development, and the partnership with the Achievement Network (ANet), which provides coaching and data analysis platforms.

Technology Capacity Building and Strategic Partnerships. This section focuses on how Alain Locke scaled up its technology infrastructure by using strategic partnerships and e-rates.

Tools and Resources

Common Core Case Study Documents

Achievement Network Overview for Leadership Team
This document provides information about goals, data use and understanding standards.

Math Common Core Transition Plan Overview
This document provides notes about plans for Common Core transition for mathematics, including expectations, use of resources and unit plan development.

Overview of Support Plan
This document provides notes about plans for work such as updating lesson scope and sequencing, analyzing assessments and goals for professional development.

Schedule of Assessed ELA Standards
This document provides a breakdown of Achievement Network assessed English language arts standards for grades 3-8.

Schedule of Assessed Math Standards
This document provides a breakdown of Achievement Network assessed math standards for grades 3-8.

Staff Roles and Responsibilities Overview
This document provides summaries of staff roles and responsibilities, including classroom instructor, instructional assistant, enrichment instructor, special education case manager, special education instructor, dean of students and operations and principal.

Essential Curriculum Components
This document provides a list of essential mathematics and literacy curriculum components.