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ANNUAL

REPORT
2020: The People and
Innovation
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Executive Director Reflection 1

Transitioning to Zoom. Increasing programming from monthly to weekly. Getting COVID-19.


Crowdsourcing and sharing digital divide and engagement resources. Creating space for
youth to talk about policing and healing. Slashing our organizational budget. Granting
resources to promote youth voice and digital activism during nationwide youth-led protests.
Having a baby during a pandemic. Pausing and reimagining programs. Writing, grieving and
celebrating wins.

2020 has been a year of challenges, a year of new learnings, and a year of many firsts.

Though many of us have been at home, perhaps alone, these experiences have
validated the strength of our network, our relationships, and our devotion to making
change.

Among our amazing staff and CLX members, many of us stretched and leaned into our
people and innovation to overcome adversity, practice wellness, and challenge the
status quo; TOGETHER, we accomplished an incredible amount in 2020!

As I reflect on the end of the year, I start at the beginning with my introductory letter
as Executive Director of the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX). Without anticipation of
the pandemic and righteous unrest to come, each day has reinforced my original
sentiments of the importance of our people and innovation:
2
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Executive Director Executive Director Reflection1
Reflection

— 2020 has taught us the importance of educators and mentors.


They are our young people's “front line” workers. We must center, support, and recognize the
people, the people, the people...especially the educators and administrators who have
dedicated their life to serving our youth.

— 2020 was a year of innovation where seemingly every organization had to


transform their original game plan to a new one.
While doing so, we must invest in innovation, not for innovation's sake, but because we must
always dream of a better world and be open to ideation, iteration, failing, and learning.

— 2020 was a year where technology moved from the margins to the center and
we realized learning happens anytime, everywhere.
We must continue to champion and celebrate all of Chicago’s assets, from its learners to
spaces of learning — whether they are in barbershops, museums, libraries, schools, or our
2020 theme of living rooms. Whether they are on the West Side, South Side, North Side, in the
alley, or our beloved Lake Michigan. And, at the same time strive toward a Chicago where a
child’s life circumstances do not impact one’s opportunities.

To add to our 2020 list, we share with you the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX)’s first Annual
Report. The Annual Report provides a snapshot of the highlights, pivots, and many bright spots
amongst a year like no other.

We are excited to continue our journey together to support Chicago’s digital-age learners and
leaders into 2021 and beyond. Thank you for being part of the story.

At your service,

Sana Jafri, Executive Director


Ch ic ag o Le arn in g Exc h an g e (CLX)
CLX 2020 Annual Report — The Team 1 3

Meet the Team


Sana Jafri
Executive Director

Gina Grant
Director of Programs

Luke Karner
Program Manager

Kiara Hardin
Program Associate

CLX Board
Savannah Brown Daniel Ash, Board Chair
Special Projects Eric Lugo, Vice Chair
Coordinator
Valerie Chang, Treasurer
— Public Ally
Maria Hibbs, Secretary
Andrea Saénz, Member
Jenné Myers, Member
Mary Ellen Messner, Member
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Table of Contents 4

Table of Contents

Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) — pg. 5

CLX Programs— — pg. 6

Community — pg. 7

Pathways — pg. 9

Grantmaking — pg. 11

Remake Learning Days CHI — pg. 13

CLX By the Numbers — pg. 15

Acknowledgments — pg. 16

CLX Member Organizations — pg. 17


Chicago Learning Exchange Page 03
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX) 5

Chicago Learning
Exchange (CLX)
CLX is a nonprofit that serves as a network weaver across 200+ youth-serving
organizations that are united to connect, learn, and support Chicago’s
digital age-learner and leaders.

2020 marked our 10 year anniversary. Read more about how we leaned into our
history and charted our 2020 journey together.

"We worked together, sometimes on

9/10
multiple funded and non-funded projects. As a
result, we changed the way we did our work.
One practice that has greatly shaped my work is
this desire to reach out to find partnerships, to
collaborate on projects, to bring in others'
of surveyed members expertise." — 10 year reflection from Germania
would recommend CLX Solorzano + Julie Koslowsky

"The rooms [in which we gather] may


be different, especially right now, but I can
guarantee they will be engaging, interesting, CLX Members
and leave you with connections and resources
both new and old, thanks to the sharing served youth
that happens within the community." from EVERY
— CLX anniversary reflection from
Dr. Kristen Vogt Veggeberg
Zip Code
Chicago Learning Exchange Page 04
6 Programs

COMMUNITY

PATHWAYS
pathways + ecosystems

GRANTMAKING

REMAKE LEARNING
DAYS CHI
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Community 7

Community + Network: 2020 has taught us the importance of educators and mentors.
One of CLX’s core beliefs, reinforced by research from the Consortium on School Research,
In 2020, CLX hosted our
is that in order to have transformative 21st learning experiences, educators need
most community events
opportunities
in its history. to connect, tinker, and learn.
In 2020, CLX hosted the most peer professional learning opportunities in its history.

COMMUNITY
2020 reinforced the importance of mentors, educators, and trusted adults.

One of CLX’s research-based core beliefs is that in order to have transformative


21st-century learning opportunities, adults who serve youth need opportunities
to connect, tinker, and learn TOGETHER.

42 Total Events
Virtual Check-Ins 17
Professional Developments 11
Monthly Meetups 8
Field Trips 4
Unconferences 2

To respond to COVID-19, we created Virtual Check-ins Topics of Virtual Check-ins:


as a weekly Community of Practice for mentors, Digital Divide Resources
educators, learning designers, and program providers to Engagement Best Practices
Holding Space for Youth to speak
have a safe space to discuss challenges and opportunities
about Policing and Black Lives Matter
with virtual learning.
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8 Community

We began the year as learners first. In January, In response to the ongoing uprising around
we met in-person for a CLX Field Trip, an police brutality and Black Lives, Gina Grant,
educator experiential learning opportunity, Director of Community, introduced a CLX
where we visited the Chicago Architecture Wellness segment featuring long-time CLX
Biennial and long-time CLX Member, Emmanuel member, Syda Taylor, founder of Organic
Pratt, Executive Director of Sweet Water Oneness. This dedicated time in Monthly
Foundation (SWF). meetups helped to rejuvenate our community
so they could continue to show up for our
We sold out our January Meetup —monthly city’s youth.
meetings designed to connect learning leaders.
There, we welcomed our new Executive Although 2020 looked different, CLX was
Director, Sana Jafri, and featured Chicago’s First uniquely positioned to live up to our mission: To
Lady, Amy Eshleman, who provided a sneak inspire and support innovation that equips
peek to Mayor Lori Lightfoot's My CHI. My digital-age learners and leaders to close
Future., a youth-focused initiative to close Chicago’s opportunity gap.
opportunity gaps.

No one knew just how much the world would We brought together individuals from
change in a few short months. By March, across the Chicagoland area and beyond
COVID-19 hit CLX and the rest of the world. We to solve problems, share information,
paused and pivoted to virtual convenings. and connect learners to engaging
learning opportunities.
Following a suggestion by Dave Bild, a CLX
member, we began hosting weekly Virtual
Check-ins. This turned into a weekly Community
of Practice (CoP) for members to connect and
share about the transition to virtual learning.

SWF was working with CTU. Then we go to Chicago


Architecture Center who does work with SketchUp
and STEM...and we create a canvas for people to
experiment and then built the gardens. We go back to
the Hive [now CLX]. We share it within the Network.
The Network buzzes around then it brings the next
idea for the group. It’s great! Fundamentally, Chicago
Learning Exchange has been a platform for that
experimentation and growth [over the past 10 years].
It’s through these networks that we try, fail, get
better, and stronger.”

— Emmanuel Pratt, Sweet Water Foundation


CLX 2020 Annual Report — Pathways 9

CLX was inaugurated to serve


on the Illinois State Advisory
Committee
Community for+ Architecture,
Network: 2020 has taught us the importance of educators and mentors.
Construction, and Energy
One of
Model CLX’s core beliefs, reinforced by research from the Consortium on School Research,
Programs.
is that in order to have transformative 21st learning experiences, educators need
opportunities to connect, tinker, and learn.
In 2020, CLX hosted the most peer professional learning opportunities in its history.

PATHWAYS
Ensuring equitable access to high-quality 21st-century learning opportunities and
career pathways takes multiple stakeholders within an ecosystem.

In 2020, we led two initiatives to advance systems-level strategy and alignment in


education and work throughout Energy Pathways and Computer Science Ecosystem
efforts. With our work in this tract growing, we hired Luke Karner as our Program Manager.

CLX led Chicago’s first computer science strategic plan


and represented Chicago among other CSforALL national
stakeholders. We were able to secure additional funding
from the CME Group to support the implementation of
CSforCHI’s strategic plan starting in 2021.

CLX was selected to represent Chicago alongside 10 other national organizations who are dedicated to
supporting high quality access to computer science as part of CSforALL, a national nonprofit advancing
opportunity in computer science (CS) education.

We convened stakeholders across our ecosystem including representatives from the in-school,
out-of-school, and workforce development spaces to establish a core-team of CS stakeholders.
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10 Pathways

More specifically this included Chicago Public


add logos for IEP
CURRICULMS.
Schools’ Office of Computer Science, One
Summer Chicago, We All Code, Northwestern
University Center for Excellence in Computer
Science Education, Chicago Public Library, and
the University of Illinois Chicago.

Through regular convenings, we co-created a The Illuminating Energy Pathways (IEP) programs
raise awareness of career opportunities in the
Primary Goals for Strategic Plan

strategic plan aimed at addressing equity and


energy, power, and electrical utility fields. The 6-
access to CS opportunities in Chicago, a first for week "learn + earn” programs provide students
the city. Some final recommendations included with a critical starting point on a pathway toward
1.) increasing awareness and opportunities related careers. Participating students can enroll in
Energizing Opportunities, an overhead electrical
for youth and families to build interest in CS;
line workers curriculum, or Empowering Designs,
2.) promoting standardized CS-related a solar energy construction curriculum.
language and best practices among
practitioners and educators;
Like many nonprofits impacted by COVID-19, we
3.) building out pathways that connect all
had to shift our plan for our Energy Pathways
existing CS education and workforce entities;
work. Instead of offering an in-person summer
4.) strengthening data and ecosystem
“learn and earn” program, CLX focused on
infrastructure with transparency.
planning and building curriculum for a second
cohort that would focus on solar work in
addition to our piloted construction careers.
With additional flexibility, we also committed to
implementing student voice in our work and
“It’s really strong. I just love
hosted youth focus groups with our partners
what you all have done. You Learning Dimensions and Mumkin Studios.
have a lot of momentum... You
can see the range of experiences Pivoting from our original summer
that any given student in programming plan, CLX built targeted
Chicago could have. You also recruitment materials and activities for the
made a great case for equity upcoming summer program and is continually
with the tagline abundance is incorporating youth voice into the program
not evenly distributed. CSforCHI design. We have continued our partnership with
can be the central hub for CS Chicago Public Schools Career and Technical
efforts to make learning Education department, and are now
opportunities connected and collaborating with One Summer Chicago — the
abundance distributed.” City’s summer youth employment program. This
expanded recruitment is critical to our
— Michael Dupont, Senior Program organization’s equity goals and ensuring that
Officer at the Charles and Lynn opportunities in these career paths are
Schusterman Family Foundation accessible to all students in the city.
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Grantmaking 11

54 youth were
served directly
across all
Community + Network: 2020 has taught us the importance of educators and mentors.
programs and
800Research,
One of CLX’s core beliefs, reinforced by research from the Consortium on School via social
media.
is that in order to have transformative 21st learning experiences, educators need
opportunities to connect, tinker, and learn.
In 2020, CLX hosted the most peer professional learning opportunities in its history.

GRANTMAKING
Fueling Innovation and People. CLX offers support for innovative learning projects and
recognizes outstanding 21st-century mentorship through its annual Brother Mike Award,
supported by Chicago Public Library, Northwestern's Office of Community Education
Partnerships, and Social Works.

In 2020, we continued to provide grants that support youth voice and digital activism. We were
pleased to support youth and organizations leading efforts for change through youth media and
activism during the national righteous uprisings of youth against police brutality and COVID-19.

With support from The McCormick Foundation, Youth Digital Media Activism (YDMA) grants
brought together youth media creators and youth organizers in order to leverage and exchange
their expertise to address issues within their community. Since 2020 was a presidential election

YDMA Community of Practice Grantees: Grantees, Projects, and Collaborators:

Community TV Network +
Freshwater Labs:
Project Waters: Water Advocacy
to Ensure the Region’s Survival

Yollocalli + Public Media Institute:


Pathways to Civic
Journalism Careers

Street Level + Chicago Votes:


Empowering Youth Voice
through Civic Discourse
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12 Grantmaking

year, many youth groups focused on the


election as well as other social justice issues
like climate change. CLX also piloted a YDMA
CoP for our grantees. In this CoP, the group
engaged in collective learning about issues as
it related to their media-focused practices Participants of the YDMA CoP shared
and the work of their programs' youth. that it provided a “safe and welcoming
space for exchanging ideas,
networking, and collaborating.”
Next year, CLX plans to build on the CoP Convergence helped us to pilot our first official
model with a focus on racial equity and CoP with Participate, an online platform that
healing for youth practitioners across the housed shared resources and discussion boards.
youth development field. There were 4 grantee meetings, 3 professional
developments, and 24 total CoP participants.

At the end of the year, we hosted our second


annual Brother Mike Award (BMA) ceremony
virtually, honoring and recognizing one
outstanding out-of-school time “connected
mentor” with $5,000 no-strings-attached
financial support. With this, we continued the
celebration of mentors who embody the
2020 Brother Mike Award Winner:
ideals of mentorship that Brother Mike Elizabethe Reyes, Yollocalli Arts Reach
exemplified. Although we weren’t in person,
Other nominees of mention: Andre “Add 2” Daniels
the love and appreciation felt amongst our 50 (Guitars Over Gunz Organization), Evelyn Benitez
plus audience was vocalized. Such was (DFSS), Daitra Renae Pope (The BEDProject- The Night
Ministry), Elizabeth Elie (Lizzie G Entertainment, LLC),
highlighted by our three performers (one James Duke (Street-Level Youth Media),
young poet and two musical artists/mentees Norman Anthony (Gary Comer Youth Center),
Bill Sacco (Community TV Network),
of Brother Mike), emcee (also a mentee), and
Tony Alvarado-Rivera (Chicago Freedom School)
keynote speaker, Phenom (last year’s winner
and friend of Mike).

"Mike Hawkins, the man whose legacy we honor with the annual Brother Mike Award for
"Mike Hawkins, the man whose legacy we honor with the annual Brother Mike Award for outstanding youth
outstanding youth mentorship, believed that learning must be a lifestyle. Mike’s ethos is now
mentorship, believed
more widely that learning
understood mustwe
because be have
a lifestyle. Mike’s ethos
all experienced is now
a year more
when allwidely understood
traditional because we
thinking
have regarding
all experienced a yearhas
education when all challenged.
been traditional thinking
When CLXregarding education
was formed, somehas been challenged.
struggled When CLX
to understand
our purpose
was formed, sometoo. But after
struggled a year when
to understand ourall norms too.
purpose haveBut
been upended,
after our commitment
a year when to been
all norms have support
networks
upended, of people that
our commitment connectnetworks
to support young people outside
of people thatof traditional
connect youngin-school time to
people outside create
of traditional in-
space that safe, loving, supportive and inspiring have never been made clearer."
school time to create space that safe, loving, supportive and inspiring have never been made clearer."
- Daniel Ash, CLX Board Chair
— Daniel Ash, CLX Board Chair
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Remake Learning Days CHI 13

Community + Network: 2020 has taught us the importance of educatorsCLX


and highlighted
mentors.
Chicago's Connected
One of CLX’s core beliefs, reinforced by research from the Consortium on School Research,
Learning scene in the
is that in order to have transformative 21st learning experiences, educators need Forerunners
HundrED's
opportunities to connect, tinker, and learn. Report on global
education innovations.
In 2020, CLX hosted the most peer professional learning opportunities in its history.

REMAKE LEARNING
DAYS CHI
2020 was a year where technology moved from the margins to the center and
we realized learning happens anytime, everywhere. It became clear that
connecting to and with families would be as important as ever.

Along with national partners Remake Learning Network, we host an annual


festival to connect youth and families to 21st-century learning opportunities.
Although we weren’t able to host the 4-day citywide learning festival in 2020,
we reflected, reimagined, and began preparing for 2021!

Remake Learning Days CHI Core Team and Funders


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14 Remake Learning Days CHI

literal connection. We, therefore, added


“For institutions aiming to tackle Comp-u-Dopt as a core team partner to help
opportunity gaps, ensuring that with bridging the digital divide by setting up a
students have access to deep and laptop drive for Remake Learning Days 2021.
diverse connections is critical.”
— Julia Freeland Fisher
We approach all of our work with user-
centered design. To get input about current
Remake Learning Days CHI is an initiative to and future parent and learner needs, we
increase awareness about the abundant hosted focus groups in Austin with core team
opportunities to learn throughout the city. members at Project Exploration.

We were gearing up for 2020; right when the


ball was rolling, COVID-19 brought everything Always representing Chicago, we joined our
in our world and Remake Learning Days CHI national partners at Remake Learning
to a halt. Network and other cities across the nation
on October 13 for the Remake Learning Days
Our core partners were determined to Across America National Kickoff. The event
reimagine the festival to not only focus on provided an insider preview of the free,
connecting to learning opportunities, but also hands-on learning events coming in 2021 —
and celebration of a new report by
global innovation-spotter
HundrED. Their Learning
Forerunners Across America report
highlights the groundbreaking,
scalable work of leading
innovations in education. CLX and
its network members, Chicago
Public Libraries, and CCIE were
proud to be featured among other
national leaders.
Chicago Learning Exchange Page 03
CLX
CLX2020
2020Annual
AnnualReport
Report——Chicago
CLX ByLearning
the Numbers
Exchange (CLX) 15 3

CLX By the Numbers


We value feedback! Through Mentimeter polls, surveys, and stories, we collected
quantitative and qualitative data. CLX by the Numbers shows a snapshot of our
members' needs, reach, and CLX impact.

Here's some of what we heard in 2020:

EQUITY
93% of CLX members
advance equity by serving
youth of color, girls, or those
who qualify for free and
reduced lunch.

TECH 6/10 reported incorporating


new technology or shifting
the way technology was used

CONNECTION
77% of responding members
reported making 1-10 connections
in the past year.

60% of responding members


reported making 1-10 connections
for youth they serve.
16 Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments
We aren’t sure who coined the term, “change moves at the speed of trust.” However, we do know that
without your trust and support we would not have been able to accomplish all that we did while
navigating the highs and lows of 2020.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of our supporters, donors, partners, network members, board,
and staff. We are incredibly proud of 2020. Together, in trust, we changed the opportunity landscape
for and with Chicago’s digital-age learners and leaders.

Major Supporters
CLX received $5,000+ from theses recognized supporters.

Illinois Science & Energy Innovation Foundation (ISEIF)


The Chicago Community Trust (Trust)
Robert R. McCormick Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Spencer Foundation
CLX audited
Field Foundation of Illinois
financial
CME Group Foundation
CSforALL statements can
Google be found on
Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania the website via
ArcelorMittal chicagolx.org.
H.B. Fuller
Healing IL - Illinois Department of Human Services and Trust
Hibbs Family Charitable Fund
Northwestern Office of Community Education Partnerships
SocialWorks
Anonymous

Partners
Chicago Public Schools CS4ALL & Career & Technical Education
Convergence Design Lab
Learning Dimensions
Mumkin Studios
University of Chicago Outlier Research
Andersen Financial
WomenUnite!
University of Chicago Net Impact Board Fellows
CLX 2020 Annual Report — Mentimeter Feedback 17

CLX Member Organizations


220 Leadership Collins Engineers, Inc.
826CHI Columbia College- Civic Media MA
Academy of Scholastic Achievement Common Threads
Adjust Creative CommUnity
Adler Planetarium Community TV Network
After-School All-Stars Communities In Schools of Chicago Contexture
Afterschool for Children & Teens Now (ACT Now) Deepwalk Research
Agape Werks, Inc d/b/a LevelUP IRL Dominican University
Alternative Schools Network Education Couture
Art Institute of Chicago Family Matters
Black Metropolis Convention & Tourism Field Museum
Breakthrough Free Spirit Media
Bright Star Community Outreach FUSE
Carole Robertonson Center for Learning Future Founders
Center for Companies That Care Gary Comer Youth Center
Chasing23 Gateway to the Great Outdoors
Chicago Academy of Sciences/ Peggy GCE Lab School
Chicago Architecture Center Global Glimpse
Chicago Botanic Garden Goldin Institute
Chicago Chess Foundation Harry S Truman College
Chicago Convergence Design Lab Helix Chicago
Chicago Freedom School Henry Williams Love Foundation
Chicago Furniture Bank Homewood Science Center
Chicago Park District Hyde Park Art Center
Chicago Public Art Group Hyde Park Neighborhood Club
Chicago Public Library Hyde Park Suzuki Institute
Chicago Public School Department of Academic Illinois Digital Educators Alliance
Competitions Illinois Green Alliance
Chicago Public Schools IMPACT Family Center
Chicago State University InterAction Initiative, Inc.
Chicago Youth Centers International Capoeira Angola Foundation
Chicago-Lawndale Amachi Mentoring Program Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
ChickTech John G. Shedd Aquarium
Children's Home and Aid Junior Achievement of Chicago
Ci3 | University of Chicago Kuumba Lynx
City Incite Inc. Learning Dimensions
Civic ArtWorks Lincoln Park Zoo
Civitas Education Partners Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy
Code Nation Lumity
CodeCreate MAPSCorps
CoderDojoChi Marwen
CoderSpace Media Burn Archive
18 Remake Learning Days CHI

CLX Member Organizations


Media Network UIC | Center for Literacy - FAST
Mikva Challenge Uncommon Classrooms
MOSAYEC United Way of Metro Chicago University of Chicago
Mumkin Studio Universidad Popular
Museum of Science and Industry Unsilence
National Museum of Mexican Art UpMetrics
National Veterans Art Museum Urban Initiatives
NewsGuard Vote16 Illinois
NEXT.cc Designopedia we all live here
NextWaveSTEM West Town Bikes
NIU STEAM Youth Empowerment Group
Notebaert Nature Museum Youth Job Center
Outlier Research & Evaluation, University of Chicago Youtopia
PEAK
Peer Health Exchange Chicago
Poetry Chicago
Project Exploration
Project Increase
Project SYNCERE
Public Media Institute
RedShelf
Richard J. Daley College
School of the Art Institute of Chicago,
Early College Program
Science Olympiad
Scientists for Tomorrow
Seneca Foundation
Serendipity Theatre Company DBA 2nd Story
Shine On, Chicago!
Sidekick Education
Sisters in Cinema
Spark
STEM Education, University of Chicago
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Sweet Water Foundation
Territory NFP
The A-Team! Educational Consulting
The Anti-Cruelty Society
The ARK of St. Sabina
The Laboratory Chicago
The Remix Project
The Wishcraft Workshop
Prepared by: Designed by:

CLX Staff Savannah Brown