Preparing Chicago Public Schools Students for College and Career Success

Portrait of Jon Furr

Jon Furr

Executive Director

Portrait of Juan Jose Gonzalez

Juan Jose Gonzalez

Pathways Director

Portrait of Heather Penczak

Heather Penczak

Director of Innovation and Implementation

Meagan Mitchell, PhD

Pathways Manager

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 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.
  • Supporting OCCS to scale pathways and work-based learning p within CPS Networks and schools, including initial implementation of the pathways framework within OCCS and a cohort of CPS schools, and CPS attainment of related first-year Student Success Roadmap milestones.
  • Launching and supporting the Chicago Equity-Centered Innovation Forum

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.

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