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Model Overview

Program Overview

Year Launched
3 - 4
Blended Grades

Implementation Q & A

When you first implemented blended learning, why did you choose that particular model? (has your model changed? why?)

When Irving Park first implemented blended learning we chose a station rotation model in order to increase student choice and student agency.

What was one of your biggest challenges when going blended, and how did you overcome it?

When we started we worried about flexible learning environments, designing the physical space of the classroom and the time space of the schedule, the mere mention of competency-based progression was enough to give us heart palpitations. Before long, our flexible staffing, schedules, and learning spaces naturally evolved to produce a system where students are evaluated on a mastery basis, rather than a time-bound block. We use our three learning studios to create small group instruction where all 3rd and 4th grade students transition on a personalized schedule to areas that capitalize on their individual learning strengths and address personal skill gaps.

At a meeting we were once asked to change one thing about our personal appearance and then have a partner try to guess it. That one change seemed so important, so difficult; we had to get it right. By the end of the icebreaker we were asked to change six things at once, and the changes came fast and easy. Our journey has been similar. When we started on the path to personalization every change felt hard, uncomfortable, now each step towards personalization feels more natural, more logical, but also more vital. A big reason for that is that we have a strong school culture where everyone understands why we are engaging in the innovation: At Irving Park, we base everything we do on what is best for students and we firmly believe that personalization will lead to the success of every student that walks through our doors.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give to emerging blended-learning programs?

Changing your model is part of the process. As a team we tried many ideas that didn't work at first and had to meet to reflect, make changes, and try again. Programs are extremely helpful in implementing blended learning and station rotation, but students do not learn from devices alone. Face-to-face time with the teacher is extremely important and vital.

Select up to two focus areas you feel that you demonstrate leadership in, and tell us why here:

As a team that got creative around the schedule, time, and talent, we can share our experiences and successes. We implemented our blended learning model in 3rd and 4th grade first and are now rolling that model out to the whole school, so strategies for implementation are also something that we feel strongly about.

Program Focus


School Partners

LEAP Innovations

Blended Subjects

English Language Arts

School Overview

CICS Irving Park is a premier K-8 urban charter school in Chicago's Irving Park neighborhood and part of the Chicago International Charter School network.

CICS Irving Park prides itself on the highly positive school culture that is fostered by working alongside families and forming decisions based on what's best for each student. The teachers at CICS Irving Park are dedicated and committed; they consistently use data and research-based best practices to deliver high levels of instruction designed to promote student achievement.

Collaboration among staff and families is one of many strengths at CICS Irving Park. The CPS 5Essentials Survey produced an overall rating of "Well Organized" - the highest rating in all areas of school performance - along with "Very Strong" rankings in the following areas: Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, and Effective Leaders.

Ratings Source: GreatSchools

Community Rating

GreatSchools Rating


out of 10

School Contact

CICS Irving Park
Chicago, Illinois
60603 United States

Telephone: (312)-651-5000


Total Students

Student Ethnicity

State Test Scores Source: GreatSchools


Blended Program Launched 2015