The Latest

News and thought leadership from the EdSystems team. For more, check out our events and resources.

News

Marking Five Years of Progress: A Status Update for the Illinois Longitudinal Data System

April will mark the fifth anniversary of recommendations to enhance and improve the Illinois Longitudinal Data System (ILDS), as made by the Illinois Education and Workforce Data Task Force to the Illinois P20 Council and Governor’s Office. Despite the pandemic, remarkable progress has been made in the development of the ILDS, and yet there is still significant work to be done.  

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News

Community Models for Essential Skill Development

Through the scaling of the GPEAK badging system, a growing number of communities are preparing students for productive lives and careers by developing innovative training programs aligned to Illinois’ essential employability competencies.

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News

New Success Network Policy Committee Memo Outlines Transportation-Related Barriers to Work-Based Learning Access

The Success Network Policy Committee convened a workgroup to explore work-based learning transportation challenges and is now publishing the first of two memos, which shed light on the significant transportation-related barriers students face in accessing work-based learning opportunities. This resource identifies and analyzes challenges impacting in-school youth at the school district, local, and system levels.

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News

Illinois Education and Career Success Network: 2023 In Review

In 2023, the Illinois Education and Career Success Network continued to expand its reach and impact through thoughtful convenings, growing the Network, engagement with students, new supports and funding opportunities for Leadership Communities, re-launching the data dashboard, and exploring policy and practice with the Policy Committee.

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Thought Leadership

Navigating Progress: College and Career Readiness in 2023

We dive into the latest release of the Illinois Report Card, revealing dynamic shifts in CTE outcomes and a wave of opportunity in dual credit enrollment. We share our perspective on the data shaping the future of college and career readiness for Illinois students.

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News

Putting Principles Into Practice: The Launch of Our Youth Apprenticeship Program

At EdSystems, our commitment to advancing racial equity and preparing more learners for productive lives extends beyond providing guidance; it’s about embodying the principles we advocate. We recognize the importance of leading by example, which is why the launch of our Youth Apprenticeship program is more than just a new initiative—it’s a testament to our dedication to practicing what we preach.

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Thought Leadership

Social Capital Is the Fundamental Outcome of Work-Based Learning

The key outcome of work-based learning is social capital, and building this valuable asset starts with being able to guarantee this outcome for all students. As a determinant factor in social mobility and overcoming socioeconomic barriers, social capital prepares students for their futures.

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News

Math Badging Receives Illinois Educators’ Seal of Approval

The Illinois Math Badging Initiative (IMBI) is piloting an alternative credentialing in math that allows for equitable student outcomes and certifies student learning through a variety of methods. Teach Plus Illinois assembled a group of math educators to understand how IMBI will alter the delivery of math and to provide suggestions to schools for supporting teachers.

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News

EdSystems Releases an Initial Evaluation of Transitional Math Implementation in Illinois

In an era where mathematics forms the backbone of our society, Illinois has taken a significant step toward enhancing college readiness through the implementation of transitional math. Now, EdSystems is releasing a study conducted by researchers from Northern Illinois University which investigates initial implementation, along with a Quick Takes which highlights key findings.

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News

Assessing the Utilization of the Illinois Model Program of Study Guides

How are the Illinois Model Programs of Study Guides being utilized statewide by community colleges and their high school partners? Are the guides useful in helping regions design high-quality college and career pathways? What additional information and support do regions need to better align with the guides? EdSystems and the Illinois Community College Board seek to answer those questions through our new State of Illinois Model Programs of Study Guides: Utilization Report.

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News

Exponential Growth: New Data and Draft Rules Released for the Illinois College & Career Pathway Endorsements

The number of school districts implementing College & Career Pathway Endorsements is increasing exponentially. To support statewide scaling, the Illinois State Board of Education has drafted a set of administrative rules that will soon be open for public comment. In this post, we examine the growth of the endorsement system and share our review of the pending rules, which point to a significant level of momentum in Illinois regarding college and career pathways.

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News

Unlocking Potential: Empowering Young Women in Manufacturing

Manufacturing has long been a male-dominated field, but the future of this industry depends on inclusivity and fresh perspectives. We gathered insights from manufacturing experts on supporting young women in manufacturing pathways. This collaborative effort has resulted in a resource that offers practical guidance for students at any stage of their career journey.

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Thought Leadership

Launch-ing Into Policy Innovation for Postsecondary Access and Success

Alongside state and local leaders from across Illinois, we have been engaging in a design thinking process as innovation cohort participants of the Launch initiative. Through this process, we are working to identify systems-level barriers to equitable access and outcomes and develop innovative solutions for pressing challenges in postsecondary transitions and success.

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News

Scaling Accelerated IT Pathways: Lessons Learned in Year One

To support the scaling of high-quality IT pathways in response to employer demand, collaborators in our Accelerated Model Pathways for Information Technology initiative designed a three-tier model giving students the potential to earn 30+ early college credits. Check out our blueprint, what we’ve learned, and how we are engaging student voices in the process.

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News

Kyle Westbrook Named Executive Director of EdSystems

Education Systems Center at NIU is pleased to announce the appointment of Kyle Westbrook as its new executive director. Kyle brings a wealth of experience and a strong commitment to educational equity, making him an excellent fit for the organization’s mission.

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Events

Performance-Based Assessment Showcase

Teachers in the performance-based assessment pilot shared their projects and the process of creating them, highlighting how performance-based assessments can be used across disciplines and with students from a range of backgrounds with a variety of characteristics.

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News

Executive Director Transition Announcement

Education Systems Center at NIU (EdSystems) today announces that Founder and Executive Director Jonathan Furr will be transitioning from his role as of June 2023 after nearly eleven years of building and leading the organization. Jon will be pursuing new professional opportunities, which he will share in the coming weeks.

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Advancing Racial Equity

Placing Our Big Bets Through 2025 and Beyond

EdSystems is coalescing around five new goals, which we call our Big Bets, to ensure that our state’s education and workforce systems truly lessen racial inequities and lead to tangible progress for our Black and Latinx students that have for far too long been underserved by these systems.

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Thought Leadership

What Do the New Policies around Dual Credit Mean?

Over the past few months, the Illinois Community College Board and Higher Learning Commission each published sets of rules for public feedback that will shape dual credit implementation in Illinois. How? Read our thoughts and public comment to ICCB:

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News

Introducing Launch: Equitable and Accelerated Pathways for All

EdSystems is excited to announce our selection as one of 11 states participating in Launch: Equitable & Accelerated Pathways for All. Launch is a national college and career pathways initiative that strives for every learner to have access to and succeed in high-quality and equitable pathways.

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Advancing Racial Equity

Advancing Racial Equity: Year Two Review

We seek to make advancing racial equity our custom, our habit — a central organizing principle that becomes part of every EdSystems internal practice and every project in our portfolio. Learn how we’ve worked to model action-orientated racial equity this past year.

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News

Governor Signs HB3296/Public Act 102-0917, Advancing on PWR Act

Governor Pritzker signed Public Act 102-0917 (HB3296) into law on May 27, 2022. HB3296 builds from the 2016 Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act and many years of dedicated work by communities statewide to develop and implement high-quality college and career pathways systems that ensure students are prepared for whatever comes after high school. 

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News

EdSystems Joins Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Accelerate ED, Launches Accelerated Model Pathways for Information Technology

EdSystems is proud to announce our participation in Accelerate ED: Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers, an initiative that seeks to blur the lines between high school and higher education and career learning experiences, allowing students to earn a career-aligned credential or degree by the end of one additional year after high school.

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Thought Leadership

Shifting the Narrative Student Voice Accomplishments

Chicago Public Schools’ CBE pilots has released “Shifting Chicago Narratives,” a four-part series of student-produced videos aimed at shifting the narrative from a focus on all that students lost through the pandemic to what they gained.

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Advancing Racial Equity

Equitably College, Career, and Monopoly Ready

From Senior Fellow Ginger M. Reynolds, PhD: I admit that the phrase “college and career ready” gives me pause, particularly with respect to students who aren’t well served through our current system. I like the analogy of Monopoly…”

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Thought Leadership

New Career & Technical Education Rules Build from Years of College & Career Readiness Innovation

New rules ensure alignment of CTE to existing policy frameworks such as the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act and that implementation embodies the spirit and intent of the articulated State Plan components. This clarified focus on college and career, with an emphasis on quality and equity, will ensure that Illinois’ students are empowered to succeed.

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Advancing Racial Equity

Advancing Racial Equity: Year One Review

What has advancing racial equity tangibly meant this last year? While we are still listening, learning, and reflecting, we share an overview of our nascent efforts to serve Black and Latinx students in Illinois.

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News

An Initial Analysis of Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois

An analysis of the initial implementation of the Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois initiative, with input from the first cohort of collaboratives. It was undertaken to understand how the components of the education pathway were being executed in practice and to collect promising practices and lessons learned.

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News

Working Toward a Thriving Illinois

EdSystems applauds the adoption of the Illinois Board of Higher Education’s new 10-year strategic plan, A Thriving Illinois: Higher Education Paths to Equity, Sustainability, and Growth.

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News

Expanding the Law and Public Safety Pathway in Rockford

The support Rockford Public Schools receives from Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University, thanks to the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois, is helping to drive aligned college and career pathways forward, including the Law and Public Safety pathway.

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News

Announcing the Chicago Equity-Centered Innovation Forum

In collaboration with leaders of Chicago Public Schools, school leaders of competency-based education (CBE) pilot schools, and other interested stakeholders, EdSystems will support the implementation of innovative instructional models as strategies for dismantling systemic inequities in traditional educational approaches.

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News

Expanding Supports for College and Career Readiness: State Adoption of Transitional English Course Parameters, Competencies, and Policies

To increase the number of high school graduates placed into college-level reading and communications courses without the need for remediation, the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Community College Board, and Illinois Board of Higher Education have adopted the Statewide Transitional English Course Parameters, Competencies, and Policies.

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