Since January 2016, with generous support from The Joyce Foundation, ConnectED has had the honor of leading the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership (GLCCPP), in partnership with Education Systems at Northern Illinois University and JFF. The Initiative has as its overarching goal to create sustainable systems of college and career pathways that increase the number of young people—especially students of color and from low-income households, who successfully transition from high school into college and career. The Partnership includes four communities: the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago, IL; Rockford, IL; Madison, WI; and Central Ohio.

Last week, the Joyce Foundation released a case study, A Clearer Path to College and Career Success: The Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership, that reports on the work underway in each of these communities. There are many lessons to highlight from the last three years—and though it’s still early, there have been signs of progress across these communities, including:

  • Increased representation of students of color and those with special needs in college and career pathways;
  • Increases in students earning college credit while in high school;
  • More pathways students on tract for graduation compared to non-pathways peers;
  • Improved academic outcomes for students of color.

These communities serve as a model for what is possible, today, for students across the country.

The report underscores many of the importance ingredients that make this change possible for districts beyond the Great Lakes, including the need for:

  • A systemic approach to engaging a wide range of community stakeholders
  • Anchoring pathways in equity
  • Strategic engagement of employers
  • Strong partnerships between high school and postsecondary partners to expand dual enrollment and reduce remediation
  • Refining local data systems to support continuous improvement and implementation of high-quality pathways.

To learn more, please visit the Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership website and explore the report. Let us know what you think!

And stay tuned in the coming months for additional learning and reflections from this work.

Gary Hoachlander, President, ConnectED
Julie Koenke, Director, District and Regional Support, ConnectED