Developing a Local Advisory Panel for Transitional Instruction: Promising Practices and Lessons Learned from Illinois Communities

The Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act establishes a statewide system of high school transitional instruction courses that provide students with the knowledge and skills to be successful in college-level math and English courses while aligning with the Illinois Learning Standards. Students receive guaranteed placement at any Illinois community college and accepting universities after successful completion of a transitional course that has been approved for statewide portability, a formal process that requires demonstration that the course addresses the relevant math or English competencies and policies.

Due to the importance of the role of local course review, each partnership must create a Local Advisory Panel (LAP) with equal representation from high school and college constituents. The primary responsibilities of the LAP are to: 

  • collect syllabi and competency spreadsheets from high schools, 
  • approve the partnership’s courses, 
  • choose representative courses for statewide portability submission(s), and 
  • communicate to constituents (including school principals) information from the Statewide Portability Panel. 

As high schools and community colleges continue to partner together to develop and implement transitional courses, there is a growing need to understand how to create and maintain an effective LAP. In our role facilitating interagency efforts to implement transitional instruction, Education Systems Center engaged in conversations with LAPs from across Illinois to hear about their processes, promising practices, and lessons learned to connect community voice and experience with the guidance currently provided by the state.

Our conversations with five established Transitional Math Local Advisory Panels across Illinois have resulted in a document that is intended to provide guidance at all phases of establishing and running a Local Advisory Panel. Throughout the document are details on the community’s processes, spotlights on best practices, and direct quotes from LAP members. One of the things we heard consistently, and that we know is central to the success of all the bridges to postsecondary work, is that partnerships are important.

“Part of our success has been the partnership and relationships between the community college and districts.”

Community College Administrator

“We realized early on that we didn’t understand each other. It took time for us to learn how it flows up to postsecondary. We needed college faculty to see the progression through high school to college and also what was needed of us to prepare students for the college level.”

Community College Faculty

We hope communities will apply, repurpose, and utilize this resource to establish Local Advisory Panels that advance the work of transitional instruction and prepare more young people for success in college-level coursework.

For additional insights on how communities coordinate their LAPs, please see the session recording from the 2021 60 by 25 Network Conference of a panelist discussion with representatives from Sauk Valley Community College and Illinois Central College.

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