Advocacy Alert: September 14, 2023


September 14, 2023 | by Emma Olson

Critical need for disability representation in CPS’ search for new head of ODLSS

Access Living friends and allies,

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is in the process of selecting the next Chief of the Office of Diverse Learners and Support Services. Also known as ODLSS, it is the district’s office of special education.

Public engagement, and community feedback, is important. In the past, students with disabilities have too often been an afterthought in the district. It is vital that the voices of students with disabilities, their families, and those invested in their success, are heard now during the search process.  Please consider offering your feedback in one or more of the following ways:

1. Attend a community engagement session. There will be four community engagement sessions, all with the opportunity to participate virtually. Three of the sessions will have an in-person participation opportunity as well.

Click the hyperlinks to register for a session: 

2. Fill out the Leadership Profile Survey. This survey asks what leadership characteristics, and areas of focus would be most important in the next ODLSS Chief. 

3. Fill out the Chief Search Process Survey. This survey offers the opportunity to provide questions you would like candidates for the role to answer during their interview.

4. Email your comments directly to Access Living’s Education Policy Analyst, Frank Lally ( At Access Living, we are advocating for the next ODLSS Chief to work on improving community engagement, transportation, transition opportunities, and accurate placements in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE(. Additionally, we would love to hear your thoughts about what the next chief should focus on.  More information, and updates about the process, can be found on the CPS website at Let’s go Chicago families!