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Get the Toolkit

The CGCT Toolkit is available for pre-service and current educators, community organizers and families interested in developing key academic & critical thinking skills, engaging in local studies and/or in facilitating projects for change. The CGCT Toolkit is filled with over 120 documents aimed at making education highly engaging for all learners.

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Grassroots Curriculum seeks to build a movement towards liberatory education in all schools and communities whereby parents, students, and educators co-shape empowering, inspirational, meaningful, accurate, and challenging curriculum so students can better analyze, prepare for, and resolve great challenges in Chicago's communities and around the world.


We envision a day... when all schools, organizations, and communities build their own curricula to make sense of and constructively respond to their world in order to bring about justice and equity for all communities of people; when every school brings its educators, parents, students, and community members to the table of curriculum-shaping as equal participants in building knowledge, skills and learning experiences; when students and families use their own learning and schooling for liberation.


  • Grassroots Curriculum Building & Sharing
  • Community Inquiry to Action Program (Community Tours)
  • Organizing for Curriculum & Learning Justice
  • Training, Tool Sharing, Consulting


Although formally initiated in 2009, CGCT’s immediate roots were planted three years earlier in a graduate level course at Chicago State University. The participants in the course, all practicing teachers in alternative schools, agreed with the assessment that Chicagoans learn very little about Chicago – and almost no history from a critical perspective. As a result, they decided to launch the Chicago Area Curriculum Exchange (CASE) in order to begin developing Chicago-focused curriculum from the perspectives of historically marginalized peoples.

After meeting for about a year, the collective dissipated, but was resurrected when a young Chicagoan expressed interest in presenting Chicago history from a grassroots perspective at the Social Justice Student Expo (a local student event held at the University of Illinois at Chicago). His presentation inspired a revival of the work.

Several longtime Chicagoans heeded the call and presented a workshop at the 2009 Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair in Chicago. The presentation was called The Battle for Relevant Curriculum – Creating a Social Justice Course on Chicago from the Grassroots by Us! The response by educators and community members was overwhelming. People from across the city quickly joined the effort to produce a series of curricular units. The series was called A People’s Chicago: Our Stories of Change and Struggle, and over 100 people contributed to the first prototypical unit of study, URUR (2012).

Since URUR's release, CGCT reps have presented over 110 workshops across Chicagoland and the United States, including Canada, provided training to over 1900 teacher candidates and 375 in-service teachers, worked with over 800 students, assisted four community organizations in building curricular projects, and produced various publications, tools, guides, and maps used by thousands of people worldwide.


CGCT maintains a citywide resource center, currently situated in the dynamic community of Uptown at 4554 N. Broadway, Chicago, Il., 60640, Suite 326. We have excellent resources for all grades - especially grade 3 through 16 - with a focus on children’s trade books, social sciences, history, civics, literacy, grassroots publications, and education/teaching materials (local, U.S., and global). While there’s often someone present, we prefer folks make an appointment. Please call 773.387.1844 or email to make an appointment