Chicago Public Schools: Preparing Students for College and Career Success

Portrait of Jon Furr
Jon Furr

Executive Director

Portrait of Juan Jose Gonzalez
Juan Jose Gonzalez

Pathways Director

Meagan Mitchell, PhD

Pathways Manager

Portrait of Heather Penczak
Heather Penczak

Innovation & Implementation Director

In 2019, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Office of College and Career Success (OCCS), established a pathways vision framework that defines a comprehensive approach for implementing the Learn. Plan. Succeed. graduation requirement. This approach emphasizes student attainment of foundational skills (i.e., employability, SEL), academic and financial readiness, and acceleration towards a career area of interest. In addition, CPS, with OCCS as the lead department, and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) developed the Chicago Student Success Roadmap to ensure Chicago students are graduating from high school ready for college and careers and succeed once they matriculate to college, with a specific focus on closing equity gaps.

Our Role

With the support of Crown Family Philanthropies, CPS brought in EdSystems to provide strategic counsel and support of the OCCS pathways vision framework and Student Success Roadmap through:

  • Advising on state policy alignment, including the PWR Act, the ESSA College and Career Readiness Indicator (CCRI), and the State’s Perkins V plan.
  • Mapping and supporting the implementation of dual credit pathways in alignment with the College and Career Pathway Endorsements and State Model Programs of Study.
  • Defining and scaling a work-based learning continuum aligned with State policies and definitions for programs administered by OCCS.
  • Providing deep technical support to implement Transitional Math and Transitional English courses.
  • Launching and supporting the Chicago Equity-Centered Innovation Forum.
  • Developing recommendations for improvements to the CPS-CCC youth apprenticeship system.

In Spring 2021, EdSystems began a project to provide strategic counsel, analysis, and recommendations to CCC to enhance its systems for onboarding and supporting dual credit high school instructors. After investigating existing national and Illinois models, EdSystems conducted focus groups and interviews with CPS dual credit instructors, principals, and central office administrators and CCC administrators, early college coordinators, and faculty coordinators. Throughout the summer EdSystems worked with CCC and CPS administration to refine an emerging set of recommendations for next steps beginning in Fall 2021. The Strengthening Supports for Dual Credit Instruction in Chicago: Takeaways and Promising Practices report outlines the process EdSystems used for this analysis and the resulting insights and recommendations. It is intended for both CPS and CCC system administrators and instructors as well as other community colleges and school districts seeking to strengthen their systems for dual credit delivery. EdSystems continues to partner with CPS and CCC in ongoing consultation for implementation of the recommendations, including facilitating teams of CPS and CCC instructors to develop course packets for dual credit instructors.

As an expansion of this work, in 2019, the McDougal Family Foundation funded EdSystems to support CPS to join the Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois (SEPI) project. Through SEPI, EdSystems is helping a cohort of CPS high schools to build education pathway systems that begin in high school and continue through to initial teacher placement using the College and Career Pathway Endorsement process. In addition, EdSystems is:

  • Fostering collaboration between CPS and university teacher preparation programs, such as Golden Apple Foundation, that agree to provide formal recognition of the endorsement in their application, advising, or placement processes.
  • Supporting implementation of education pathways aligned to the PWR Act in a cohort of CPS CTE Teaching Academy schools.

The Latest


HB3296/Public Act 102-0917 Brief

An brief on HB3296/Public Act 102-0917, signed into law on May 27, 2022, that advances the Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Framework and the College and Career Pathway Endorsements.

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