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Ms. Jung and Melanie

The early childhood years have long been recognized as a time of rapid brain development and the critical window for establishing positive life trajectories. However, mounting evidence from neuroscience, developmental psychology, and the education field points to a second window — the widely disdained and infamously “awkward” adolescent years. The Second Window spotlights the research that inspired Chicago Public Schools’ bet on students’ ninth grade year — once considered a “throwaway year”—and catalyzed sustained, system-wide improvement. It illuminates Chicago’s journey from “worst district in the nation” to a district leading the country in its work to keep freshmen on-track toward high school graduation and postsecondary success, and how changing adults’ mindsets about what is possible in mid-adolescence can change policy, practice, and lives. Watch the film and access accompanying resources.