Chicago Makes Childhood Education Data Accessible Through New Cloud

Chicago launched a cloud-based data environment that will allow multiple agencies to share data and create citywide visibility into early childhood education. 

The Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data System will allow for citywide and neighborhood-level analyses by bringing together data from across systems and programs in near real-time. CECIDS will also feature program-specific dashboards for administrators, policymakers, funders, advocates and families, city officials said in the April 12 announcement

"Through the Chicago Early Childhood Integrated Data System, we will be able to better understand and create initiatives that have the most positive impact on children,”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

CECIDS builds on recent philanthropic investments to modernize the city’s early childhood data infrastructure at the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS)  and Chicago Public Schools. 

A collaboration between the Mayor’s Office, the McCormick Foundation and data-solutions firm Third Sector Intelligence led to a DFSS data warehouse that used cloud-based technology to accommodate data integration and information sharing across agencies and organizations. It also featured a data governance structure that supported access while protecting confidential information, a March 2021 exploratory report explained. 

“Fragmentation and complexity have long impeded progress in early childhood, so this initiative to provide transparency into how we’re doing by all 175,000 of our youngest children has exciting potential to pinpoint inequities, galvanize collective problem-solving and catalyze improvement,”

said Timothy Knight, president and CEO of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

“Important things happen when researchers, communities, families, policymakers, advocates and elected officials are empowered with good data to take smart action.”