Inquiry to Action Framework

Inquiry to Action Framework

Our CPS Inquiry to Action framework is designed to support the development & implementation of classroom service learning projects that bolster civic oriented project-based learning in all disciplines, PK-12.

Complete Your Service Learning Projects

The aims of service learning has shifted from individual responsibility to participatory action. As we work to enhance the role of youth’s civic engagement and readiness within our schools, district and communities, we seek to promote learning that situates students as experts and leaders capable and able to bring about transformational change. To support the development of project-based learning that positions students to take informed action, the Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement has developed the Inquiry to Action Framework, shown below, that can support the design of a service learning project.

The IA Framework

The framework aims to:

  • Align to the CPS Instructional Core, emphasizing identify, relationships, and community through inquiry skill development
  • Elevate action projects as part of core instruction, showing the rigorous engagement and complex knowledge and skills students develop along the way
  • Provide a pathway for teachers to make course content in any subject area relevant to students by connecting it to community-based social, political, and environmental issues
  • Support truly student-driven research and action
  • Provide a bridge for teachers to utilize other civic action frameworks and tools within their projects

2 Copy of Project Logo (1)

  • Support teachers feeling pressed for time by providing project options that meet quality criteria, but can last anywhere from one week to the entire school year

The Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Experiential Learning PLC

The Culturally Responsive and Sustaining Experiential Learning PLC is a new opportunity within CPS available to teachers in every content area, at every grade level. Participants receive training, guidance, supplementary resources and support for implementation of an inquiry to action project.

Leveraging the CPS Inquiry to Action framework, members of this community of practice will implement a student-centered project as a tool for building affirming, inclusive and action-oriented school communities.

Informed by Research

Research consistently finds that engaging students in school or community change projects has a positive impact on trust, climate and performance. Studies find that youth do not have sufficient access to civic learning opportunities and that disparate access is often related to race and income. Students in wealthier schools are twice as likely as low-income students to say they participated in service learning projects. We see similar trends in Chicago Public Schools, with disparities increasing even more for English language learners.

Among these positive outcomes:

  • More opportunities for students to volunteer and participate in civic and political activities while they’re in school are likely to lead to civic and political involvement in the future.
  • Researchers have also found that such engagement increases the chances that students will remain in school, and be more engaged while in school.

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