We want families and educators to easily navigate the 8th to 9th grade transition.

Big Shoulders Fund

Our Process

Kicking off the process, we interviewed students, administrators, teachers, and counselors on their experiences of navigating the transition from 8th to 9th grade. After synthesizing insights and sharing them at a workshop, we generated ideas with the learning community and distilled them into two concepts: Timeline and Match.

We then addressed both ideas with one tool: a website that allows users to enter personalized search criteria and matches them to schools that best fits their needs, while also tracking important dates in the enrollment process.

Our research led us to include a range of factors that can determine a family’s decision to apply, from practical considerations such as transportation and scholarships to academic and extracurricular programs. We tested with parents and teachers to gather feedback on the site’s effectiveness and usability, and launched in 2018 with those improvements.


Working with Greater Good helped us engage stakeholders in ways that we would not have been able to do. Through their focus groups and workshops, we were able to hear more voices and glean more perspectives that we needed to hear.”

Dan Bennett, Big Shoulders Fund

Client & Community Outcomes

Schools are actively using the site CatholicHighSchoolChicago.org and sharing information on it. As of the start of the 2018-2019 school year, 28 Catholic schools had submitted their information to the site. This tool helps Big Shoulders Fund achieve their mission of supporting children’s access to quality, values-based education in Chicago. The website allows families to directly access information to help them make informed choices about their children’s education.