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Brief: Elev8 Chicago: Demonstrating the Power and Potential of Community Schools

Resource type: Research Report

Elev8 Chicago |

Communities across the country are grappling with the challenge of preparing young people for a bright future. Elev8 Chicago – an Atlantic-supported initiative to strengthen community schools by providing, school-based health services and after-school programmes and enhancing family engagement – has made a positive difference for its students, families, schools and communities.

This brief summarises some of the early findings about the impact of Elev8 Chicago’s work:

  • Elev8 Chicago helps students to succeed in school. For example, in the 2011-2012 school year, 1,096 students participated in Elev8 Chicago’s expanded learning programmes and attendance in Elev8 Chicago schools ranged from 93 to 97 per cent, well above average for Chicago public schools.
  • Elev8 Chicago keeps students healthy. There were more than 5,700 visits to Elev8 Chicago’s school-based health centres during the 2011-2012 school year. The vast majority of students say the school-based health centre allows them to receive services sooner and to access information and resources that are otherwise unavailable.
  • Elev8 Chicago transforms schools into better places to learn and work. There were notable declines in disciplinary actions in Elev8 Chicago schools after the initiative’s launch. Through expanded learning programmes, Elev8 Chicago allows students to nurture positive relationships with teachers. 84 per cent of the students say they have a caring adult in their life outside their family.
  • Elev8 Chicago strengthens communities. Elev8 Chicago students and parents are actively engaged in their communities through an array of community events and coordinated advocacy programmes at the local, state and federal levels. Elev8 also smartly leverages resources and encourages public and private investments that help communities flourish.

This brief also points to several insights about how to effectively evaluate and continuously improve community school initiatives.

To Learn More about Elev8:

> Visit or the websites of the local initiatives:

Elev8 Baltimore
Elev8 Chicago
Elev8 New Mexico
Elev8 Oakland

Elev8 is a grantee of Atlantic’s Children & Youth programme in the United States, which funds efforts to support and expand community schools.

Related Resources


Children & Youth

Global Impact:

United States


Elev8, Local Initiatives Support Corporation