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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Strategist

Chicago Public Schools

Chicago,  Illinois

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third largest school district in the United States, serving over 360,000 students in 600+ schools and employing nearly 36,000 people, most of them teachers. CPS has set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career and civic life. In order to fulfill this mission we make three commitments to our students, their families and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability and integrity. Six core values are embedded within these commitments – student centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership and continuous learning.

Job Summary:

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Strategist will serve CPS’ Portfolio Office in the development of the district’s Annual Regional Analysis (ARA) report. The ARA supports the district’s mission to provide every student with a high-quality education in every neighborhood by giving stakeholders a common set of information regarding school quality (quality), enrollment patterns (quantity), school options (choice), and program offerings (variety). The ARA is directly connected to CPS’ Five Year Vision, as it allows the district to increase transparency with communities and families and helps to bolster equity.

While not working on the ARA, this strategist will support the Planning and Data Management (PDM) department’s need to support the district by creating high quality, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based map documents and other data visualizations, and conducting sophisticated demographic and enrollment data analysis using internal and public data sources.

Geographic Information Systems Strategist Typical Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Lead the development of data for the Annual Regional Analysis report, in partnership with key individuals in the Portfolio Office and the CEO’s office
  • Collect and validate key data from departments throughout CPS related to school quality, enrollment patterns and projections, program variety, etc.
  • Develop unified Tableau dashboard to integrate and manipulate all data
  • Utilize Tableau to build detailed charts and graphs at the district and regional level for incorporation into the ARA report
  • Utilize ArcGIS software to create district and regional map views of ARA school locations and associated data points
  • Support community engagement around ARA release
  • Support in the development and execution of community engagement plans that are used to share ARA results in the late winter / early spring each year
  • Capture feedback from community groups to inform future ARA reports
  • Support development of efforts to utilize ARA data for school improvement and community quality of life plans
  • Respond to requests for ARA from schools, networks, and community organizations as appropriate
  • Work with family and community engagement team to serve as a district representative in community and network planning events and workshops
  • Support the Academic RFP process as a subject matter expert on equity and program needs across the district
  • Support PDM by conducting sophisticated analysis of the District’s public and confidential data within the Portfolio Office, and providing strategic analysis, data management, and accurate demographic and spatial data to inform decisions regarding CPS school facilities
  • Compiles and analyzes geospatial/tabular data to facilitate complex student assignment and enrollment analysis
  • Delivers high quality maps and data visualizations to inform District-wide planning and decision-making
  • Maintains current/historic geospatial data on school locations, attendance areas, and student geocodes
  • Develops and maintains standards for GIS databases to ensure the integrity and agreement between GIS data sets
  • Responds to public inquiries regarding attendance area assignment
  • Coordinates with multiple departments to ensure data integrity on the School Data Management System

In order to be successful and achieve the above responsibilities, the Geographic Information Systems Strategist must possess the following qualifications:

Type of Education Required:

Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s degree in Geographic Information Systems, Computer Science, Information Technology, Geography, Urban Planning or a related field of study; Master’s degree preferred

Type of Experience and Number of Years:

  • Expert knowledge (minimum 5 years experience) of GIS software and programming, including a high level of proficiency with ESRI products (ArcMAP 10.x, ArcGIS Pro) and related extensions (Network Analyst, Spatial Analyst, Community Analyst, Model Builder). Preference will be given to those with GIS (ESRI or other) certification.
  • General knowledge of web-based mapping technology, specifically ArcGIS Online Web AppBuilder and Google Maps/Earth
  • Expertise with Tableau 10.x, Microsoft Excel and/or Google Sheets inclusive of the ability to combine and report on datasets
  • Adobe Creative Suite (optional but desired)

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Demonstrated eagerness to learn with a track record of proactively problem-solving challenges
  • Ability to communicate data and methodological details clearly and accurately to non-technical audiences
  • Strong analytical and data management skills
  • Strong data visualization skills
  • Strategic thinker able to generate actionable insights from data and make recommendations to district leaders
  • Knowledge of critical issues in education and school planning
  • Excellent report writing, analytical and project management skills, with a good attention to detail
  • Ability to build trusting relationships and function effectively with internal Departments and external partners
  • Ability to work creatively and efficiently under deadline; should be able to self-direct and balance competing priorities and deadlines
  • Is a strong communicator; speaking, listening, and writing
  • Possess a track record of success as demonstrated by superior academic and professional achievement
  • Preferred: Experience with SAS Enterprise, SQL, Python scripting for ArcGIS, and/or Microsoft Power BI

Residency Requirement:

As a condition of employment with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), employees are required to live within the geographic boundaries of the City of Chicago within six months of their CPS hire date and must maintain residency throughout their employment with the district.

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