For the first time, Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois and Education Systems Center (EdSystems) are partnering to offer a unique advantage for students earning a College and Career Pathway Endorsement (CCPE) in education. Through this collaboration, Golden Apple will automatically advance any applicants who have earned or are on track to earn a CCPE to the final stage of the application process.

In addition, Golden Apple is not limiting the number of CCPE students who will automatically advance to the final round. The opportunity to become a finalist and move straight to the interview is significant as it moves CCPE students to the top 20% of the applicant pool. 

“Students who earn the Pathway Endorsement undertake significant early college work and meaningful work-based learning opportunities and we are confident these scholars will be an asset for our program  becoming exceptional educators serving high-need areas across Illinois,” says Ziggy Blackwell, Director of Recruitment at Golden Apple.

“This is especially advantageous for school districts in our Scaling Education Pathways Initiative, which helps communities build streamlined teacher career pathways,” says Juan Jose Gonzalez, Pathways Director at EdSystems. “SEPI is focused on helping students from diverse backgrounds become educators, and by connecting those same students with Golden Apple, we can together build a strong teacher pipeline for the State that reflects our communities’ changing demographics.”

Golden Apple Scholars receive up to $23,000 tuition assistance at any of the 48 Illinois partner universities as well as paid summer professional development, called Scholar Institutes, that include courses and extensive classroom/work experience, academic and social-emotional support, job placement assistance, and mentoring from award-winning teaching faculty. To apply, students must be Illinois residents graduating high school in the spring, enrolled as a freshman or sophomore at a partner university, or enrolled in an Illinois community college and planning to transfer to a partner university. Golden Apple Scholars commit to teaching for five years in an Illinois school-of-need within seven years of graduation.

“Like many other states, Illinois faces a teacher shortage that is particularly acute in rural and urban areas,” says Jonathan Furr, Executive Director of EdSystems. “We are working to address these challenges through SEPI as well as designing the Model Program of Study for Education. This new partnership will accelerate these efforts – it’s a win-win for both organizations and the State.”

Making College and Career Pathways Official

The Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act includes a voluntary process for school districts to award College and Career Pathway Endorsements to high school graduates.  Students earn endorsements by completing an individualized learning plan, a career-focused instructional sequence, and professional learning opportunities. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, over 80 high schools across Illinois are implementing College and Career Pathway Endorsement systems under the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act. Last year, Ridgewood High School, located in the Chicago suburbs, was the first high school in Illinois to award the College and Career Pathway Endorsement to Class of 2020 graduates who successfully completed the Education, Manufacturing, and Engineering pathways.

If you have not already submitted your pathway to ISBE to be approved for CCPE, please email Juan Jose Gonzalez at In SY 2020, districts authorized for CCPE submitted their pathway plan via an online platform and completed a brief application.

Download a Factsheet about the Partnership with Instruction for Students

About Golden Apple

The Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois program is a teacher preparation and tuition assistance program for high school seniors and freshman and sophomore Illinois college students who have the determination and drive to be highly effective teachers in Illinois schools-of-need.

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