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Watch: District 99 talks about how Paper helped raise student grades and freed teachers for more 1:1 instruction.


From ELL to AP, Chicago’s District 99 boosts learning for all students

The dilemma

District 99 aims for every student to excel, no matter their socioeconomic background nor how demanding their after school commitments. But when it came to providing extra help to every student who needed it — they were challenged to find a solution that met everyone’s needs.

“How do we support kids knowing we want them to take ownership of their learning ... but I’m not awake at 2 a.m.?”

— Lisa Lichtman, Instructional Coordinator, Community High School District 99, Illinois

The solution

The district sought a solution that promoted self-advocacy, allowing students to access extra help on their own time and at their pace. After considering developing an extra help program in-house, District 99 elected to implement Paper’s unlimited 24/7 academic support platform.

“We were looking for a solution we could do for all students. Not just EL students or special education students.”

— Gina Ziccardi, Associate Superintendent for Student Learning, Community High School District 99, Illinois

The rollout

District 99 centered its deployment strategy around teachers. After teacher PD led by Paper, teachers made using Paper part of their classroom assignments. They recognized and rewarded students who made use of the platform. As students began to see Paper’s benefits, word-of-mouth took hold and adoption grew.

“We got more kids to use it because they talked to each other about it.”

— Marjorie Thomas, English Teacher, Community High School District 99, Illinois

The impact

Taking advantage of Paper’s on-demand tutoring and essay review, students saw their marks go up by nearly an entire letter grade. Teachers were freed up for more 1:1 instruction and lesson planning. Administrators saw students of every background and ability level taking advantage of Paper to help them reach their potential.

“The teachers were coming back to me saying ‘wow, this is awesome.’ I can’t think of another product that has happened with.’”

— Lisa Lichtman, Instructional Coordinator, Community High School District 99, Illinois

About the district

Located just west of Chicago proper, Community High School District 99 includes the densely populated suburbs of Downers Grove and Woodridge, Illinois, serving a diverse set of students.

  Enrollment Socioeconomically
English learners
Community HS District 99


4,890 24.1% 3.3%

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