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Civitas Community Impact Experience



Re-designing High School


Work doesn’t look the same as it did in 1930.

Why does school?


The Civitas Community Impact Experience (CCIE) is an experiment in revolutionizing education in America through Project Based Learning in urban education. It is an immersive innovation program for High School seniors where they work as consultants on projects with real companies and organizations that have a direct impact on their community. Students spend half their day at CCIE, and half in a traditional school setting.


Program Core

Project Based Learning

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At CCIE students work on Projects that are inspired by their passions, and lead to interdisciplinary real world learning.

Student Led Classroom


When students take control of their classroom and the trajectory of their education they gain skills in working in teams, handling ambiguity, and project management.

Student Passion


Students should be able to pursue the things that drive them, and have a direct impact on their community, school, family and friends.

Program Foundations

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Restorative Justice: To disrupt the School to Prison pipeline ideology CCIE used restorative justice practices to develop a culture of compassion.

Reflection: Weekly reflections provided students a rare opportunity for introspection on their growth, successes, and obstacles they faced.

Public Presentations: Being competent at presenting in any context is necessary for achieving your dreams, and students presented constantly to their peers, clients, and facilitators.

Leadership and Team Building: Working in teams is necessary for functioning in the 21st century workplace, and the project teams mirrored cross-functional teams.

Community Partners: Students met weekly with their client or topic expert to get professional and real world guidance and feedback.

Individual Learning: Learning at CCIE was tailored to each student, and they were evaluated in terms of their own growth and not a standard.


Student Profile



  • Grade: High School Senior

  • Age: 17

  • From: South Side of Chicago

  • On track to graduate


  • Degree in Plant Chemistry

  • Owning his own Business


  • Taking care of family

  • Giving back to his community

  • Music and Friends

Pain Points:

  • Unmotivated by school

  • Boredom and lack of support leads to acting out or not attending class

  • Limited real world opportunities through school

Student Journey

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Sample Projects



Junkyrd is a brand dedicated to changing the fashion culture in Chicago by inspiring black teens to take ownership of their style by creating their own unique pieces of clothing. Through collaborations with Chicago designers and production houses, Junkyrd hosts events for teens to create their own pieces.

“Junkyrd has really helped me with showing off the many talents I have acquired. I was able to show leadership when we hosted 2 Pop-Up Shops at Chicago Quest. I was able to teach my fellow classmates how to properly design and create their own apparel.” - Tesher

Monthly Leaks


Monthly Leaks is a social venture with the mission of creating menstrual equity for incarcerated women through awareness, care packages, and legislation. Recently, Rep. Wallace served as keynote speaker during our First Annual Tea Party Pad Drive!

“I am taking this project to college, turning it into a real non-profit, and one day, when my mother is no longer incarcerated, she will join me as the face of my movement.” - Diamond


No one actually knows exactly how many abandoned buildings (and schools) are located in the city of Chicago. These spaces are often unsafe, unused, and eyesores preventing upward mobility in communities of color. Team Abandoned proposed rehabilitating similar spaces as opportunities to close the “Adventure Gap” that exists for low income students of color, and were recognized as finalists in the BP Student Ideas Competition by The Chicago Architecture Biennial.

“I want to memorialize a whole neighborhood to honor those residents who were displaced by gentrification. I will strive to preserve a piece of its cultural identity for future generations.” - Yaree


By the Numbers

  • 34 Successful High School Graduates

  • 100% Acceptance to College

  • Completion of 16 Partner Projects

  • “C” average student pre-CCIE is an “A” average student post CCIE, with average GPA increase of 0.8 out of 4.0 for every student.

  • Successful integration of Scrum and Agile frameworks into daily program functions

  • Decrease in discipline infractions by 75% from previous year

  • Completion of 90% of Core Standards

  • 8 Major public speaking engagements

  • Students work highlighted on the local news for work in menstrual equity for incarcerated women.


Student Testimonials


“I would describe myself before CCIE as a person who didn’t like school and felt like I didn’t have a motivation to get up and go to school. After CCIE I was able to relax and be able to get up and go to school and be excited to do my work and communicate with teachers and friends.”


“Something that is unique about the CCIE community is that we are focused the on real world problems while learning. We are fixing our community as young people, and we are learning at the same time.”



Year One Community Partners

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