Chicago Public School Teachers


Small Grants | Team Member Grants | Coach Grants | ARLI Fellowships | FFT Fellowships | Workshop

Teacher quality is one of the most important factors in improving student achievement outside the home.
Since 1985, CFE has been investing in leadership, learning, and grant opportunities for Chicago Public School educators.

CFE currently offers five grant‐based programs (jump links above) and an annual teacher Workshop to encourage
curricular innovation and the replication of effective instruction. 

Feel free to contact CFE with any questions regarding our offerings. We are a small-yet-mighty staff, and are thrilled
to connect with and support new and veteran teachers alike! Complete 2019-20 Program Calendar available HERE



Chicago Foundation for Education Small Grants fund the implementation of classroom and school-wide curricular projects that respond to the specific academic, social, and emotional needs of a student population. Grants of up to $500 are available to fund books, supplies, materials, field trips, or any other items that will deepen student engagement and promote active learning. 

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partner pilot programs

For a second year, we are including an initiative within Small Grants called “CFE-OS Classroom Grants”. CFE will award Classroom Grants to 40 new teachers working in CPS’s Opportunity Schools (OS). Each grant will be in the amount of $500, and grantees may purchase resources and materials ranging from general classroom supplies to books to artifacts.

And, new this year, we are including a second initiative within Small Grants called “CFE-TST Impact Grants”. CFE will award Impact Grants to 10 Teachers Supporting Teachers (TST) Teacher Liaisons working in CPS schools with TST partnerships. Each grant will be in the amount of $500, and grantees may purchase resources and materials that help drive their TST team’s school-wide goal.

Review Process

Each Small Grant application is evaluated by a minimum of three CFE volunteers, and winners are determined through both quantitative (Scoring Rubric) and qualitative (committee discussion and determination) methods.

Small Grant References

Dates and Deadlines

  • Application Available: OPEN! 2019-2020 CFE Small Grant Application

  • Application Due: November 4, 2019

  • Application Review Period: Late November to December 5, 2019

  • Award Notification via Email: Week of December 9, 2019

  • Implementation: January through June 2020

Study Group Team Member Grants


CFE Study Groups bring together PreK-12th grade CPS educators (Team Members) to learn effective teaching methods from their peers (Coaches). The Study Group Program launches in June with Coach-led kick-off meetings, wherein groups come together for the first time to set shared goals and develop a meeting schedule. During subsequent meetings, Team Members share strategies, support each other through implementation, and adapt teaching methods for optimal efficacy across classrooms. Peer feedback and reflection on progress are hallmarks of the Study Group process. Collaboration becomes essential, allowing teachers to share suggestions and form a network of fellow professionals working toward similar goals. Benefits to Team Members include the following:

Study Group Coach Hannah Nolan-Spohn and her Team Members in "The Art of the Story - Teaching Graphic Novels" group.

Study Group Coach Hannah Nolan-Spohn and her Team Members in "The Art of the Story - Teaching Graphic Novels" group.

  • Learn new teaching methods and strategies in such topic areas as STEM, math, creative dance, guided reading, and more.

  • Obtain content and lessons learned from teachers who have extensive experience in each study group topic.

  • Gain an opportunity to connect and network with colleagues across the district.

  • Receive 15 PDHs and $300 for classroom materials and resources.

    Team Member Reference

Dates and Deadlines

  • 2019 Application Available: CLOSED

  • 2019 Application Due: CLOSED

  • Award Notification via Email: CLOSED

  • Study Group Kick-Off Meeting: CLOSED (each group will hold its own meeting based on group member availability)

  • Meetings and Implementation: June through November 2019

Study Group Coach Grants


CFE Study Group Coach Grants are awarded to experienced PreK-12th grade teachers interested in sharing a Teaching Approach with colleagues across the Chicago Public School district. CFE considers a Teaching Approach to be a particular methodology or thematic project involving multiple teaching strategies that has been proven to increase student achievement. Teaching Approaches may be focused within one core subject area or integrated across the curriculum. A majority of Study Groups are district-wide, but a limited number of area- and school-based applicants will be selected.

Each Coach mentors 6-8 teachers (Team Members) in implementing this Teaching Approach in their own classrooms. Coaches do not need to recruit Team Members; they will be selected in May through a separate application process.

Study Group Coach MK Victorson and her "Creative Dance in the Primary Grades" Team Members

Study Group Coach MK Victorson and her "Creative Dance in the Primary Grades" Team Members

After participating in a training session, Coaches develop a Study Group curriculum that includes scholarly articles, student work samples, and videos. Additionally, individual experiences are analyzed and used to adapt strategies to classroom and student needs. Peer feedback and reflection on progress are hallmarks of the Study Group process.

Dates and Deadlines

  • 2019 Application Available: CLOSED

  • 2019 Application Due: CLOSED

  • Award Notification via Email: CLOSED

  • Mandatory Study Group Coach Training: CLOSED

  • Study Group Kick-Off Dinners: CLOSED

  • Meetings and Implementation: June through November 2019

Action Research Fellowships


For 16 years, CFE has offered Action Research Leadership Institute Fellowships to Chicago’s most outstanding PreK-12th grade teachers. Action research is the systematic process of looking closely at a specific aspect of one’s practice in order to improve student outcomes, improve the school environment, and make positive changes to one’s teaching. Fellows conduct action research in their schools, increase their leadership engagement, and use their findings to impact education policy.

The ARLI Program spans the full academic year, during which Fellows reflect on the strategies they are using to improve both the quality of their teaching and student achievement. Our Fellows participate in approximately 45 hours of whole-group and small-group meetings organized around the action research process.

ARLI Fellow Spotlight: Heather Duncan

Why It’s Important to Rethink Whole Group Lessons in Pre-Kindergarten

In their first school experience, preschool students must learn to navigate the world outside their homes and adapt to interacting with peers. Early childhood teachers like Heather Duncan of South Shore Fine Arts Academy are continually searching for ways to ease the transition for students while facilitating learning.

When faced with students who had an unusually difficult time sitting still in whole group instruction, Ms. Duncan recognized this as an ideal time to try a new way of using the classroom and seized the opportunity to study the outcomes.

Ms. Duncan applied to the Chicago Foundation for Education (CFE) for an Action Research Leadership Institute (ARLI) Fellowship and was awarded this prestigious grant. The ARLI program spans the full academic year, during which Fellows reflect on the strategies they are using to improve both the quality of their teaching and student achievement.


Ms. Duncan’s primary research goal was to find the most effective way to help her (antsy) students gain important knowledge about language, specifically letters, letter sounds, phonemic awareness and phonological awareness. At the conclusion of her study, she intended to share her findings with colleagues and work to effect change in early childhood policy.

Ms. Duncan wanted to shorten the time they had to sit still, yet cover the necessary content. To test her ideas, she spent less time in whole group instruction and added more partner talks. She expanded and changed the number of small group lessons. And she revised the way the small group work was implemented.

Utilizing journals and video, Ms. Duncan gathered data and tracked observations. In her analysis of the video footage, she looked for: engagement behavior (watching, responding to questions, sharing ideas); redirection (number of times for class, number of times for individuals); feedback loops (number of times I could use inquiry questioning before losing control of the group). She measured progress and growth using two skills: alphabet knowledge and recognition and extension of patterns.  In the past, she had always talked most about these skills in group settings with practice among individuals or small groups. “There was great value in changing how I ran the school day to meet the needs of my students,” said Ms. Duncan.

I feel that teachers should be trained to use multiple formats and trusted or coached to design the day that best teaches the group in front of them. I have added skills that I will be able to use in future classrooms and situations.

Dates and Deadlines

  • 2019-20 Application: CLOSED

  • Meetings and Research: September 2019 through June 2020

Fund for Teachers Fellowships


Fund for Teachers (FFT) grants offer PreK-12th Grade Chicago Public School teachers the opportunity to develop summer fellowship experiences around the learning needs of their unique student and school populations, and ultimately aim to enhance the skills necessary to address those needs.

Applicants self-design research-based projects and submit proposals that detail how a FFT Fellowship would support their quests to become better teachers.  Applicants explain how they plan to transfer their improved skills to the classroom, their colleagues, and their school communities. A panel of foundation, corporate, and community leaders evaluates these proposals and selects those likely to result in the greatest impact. Individual teachers are awarded up to $5,000 and teams of two or more teachers are awarded up to $10,000. 

 Since 2006, 375 Chicago fellows have traveled to more than 50 countries across six continents to explore countless ideas, terrains, and cultures. 

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If you’d like to learn more about the Fund for Teachers Program, please visit the website of our national partner: This site includes an “Application Learning Center”, which helps any interested applicant through the process:


Dates and Deadlines

  • 2020 FFT Application Available: October 1, 2019

  • 2020 Application Deadline: January 2020

  • 2020 Award Notifications via Email: April 2020

  • 2020 Orientation Event: Spring 2020

  • 2019 Post-Fellowship Reports Due: September 12, 2019

  • 2019 Reflection Event: October 16, 2019


2019 Event Details

SAVE THE DATE! CFE’s 2019 for-teacher, by-teacher Workshop will be held on Saturday, October 26 at Pulaski International School of Chicago. Workshop will run from 8:15am to 12:30pm, with an “After-Party” at a local establishment immediately following the event. Registration includes 5 PDHs, access to teacher-led Breakout Sessions across all grade levels and content areas, entry in our Teacher Raffle, free breakfast and parking, networking opportunities, and much more.

Confirmed Raffle prizes include: 4 Cubs tickets ($850 value), 2 Hamilton tickets + Post-Show Meet & Greet with Hamilton himself (Miguel Cervantes), $250 Amazon gift card, and a Mario Tricoci salon package ($260 value)