Alliance for College and Career Student Success (ACCSS)

The Alliance for College and Career Student Success (ACCSS) includes organizational members from Elgin Community College District 509 and its public school districts Community Unit School District 300, Central District 301, St. Charles School District 303, and Unit District 46.

Vision

All students in our region, from all backgrounds and abilities, have the opportunities and support to succeed in college, career, and civic life.

Mission

The mission of ACCSS is to align and leverage the joint resources and expertise of the partner organizations and the communities they serve through continuous improvement of secondary-to-postsecondary educational systems that empower and support all students in the region toward postsecondary success.

Shared Values

In pursuing our vision and achieving our mission, we value and practice:
  • Equity-centered policies that foster model practices;
  • Aligned goals, collaborative planning, and efficient operations; 
  • Robust, inclusive dialogue with an engagement of stakeholders; 
  • Data-informed decision making based on common metrics to inform our focus;
  • Research-based strategies, including innovation built on models of best practice;
  • Strong systems of support for staff and students.

This initiative promotes collaboration between educators from kindergarten through college and careers. Area educators from public and private education systems are welcome to participate. The goal of this collaborative partnership between ECC and the public school districts in Community College District 509 is to ensure that all District 509 young people are ready for college-level courses and can experience success after high school.

Members of the Alliance work in cross-organizational teams to establish regional priorities for strengthening the college and career readiness of the regional students. In recent years, the priorities have largely been driven by the state of Illinois’ education legislation, the Illinois Postsecondary & Workforce Readiness Act (PWR Public Act 99-0674).

Collaborative Priorities


The Alliance for College and Career Student, Success Elgin Community College, establishes annual priority areas for collaboration. The current areas of focus are outlined below. The sidebar of this web page includes quarterly college and Career Readiness Reports that detail progress made toward the priorities for a given year.

College-Career Pathways 

The Alliance continues to develop robust college-career pathways that will help students to move seamlessly from high school to college-level courses in specific career fields. These pathways will align with regional employer expectations, meet state-defined competencies, and promote student preparation for regional employment opportunities. The course maps for each pathway includes the identification of strategic (high value) dual credit courses to aid students in earning college credit while in high school. The following publications detail recent products of our collaboration:

In addition to defining regional and district-specific course maps, our teams collaborate to create opportunities for students to experience team-based challenges and engage in various forms of work-based learning. This work supports the development of the College and Career Pathway Endorsements in our district high schools.

Student Transitions

The state of Illinois has published a detailed framework to guide students, families, and educators on what types of experiences and information a student should have to make the most informed decision about college and career planning. The framework recognizes the developmental nature of this preparation for students in that it begins in 8th grade and continues through high school.

The Postsecondary & Career Expectations (PaCE) framework has been adopted by Community Unit School District 300, Central District 301, St. Charles School District 303, and Unit District 46. Within each district’s plan for developing students for success after high school, the framework details learning experiences within three key areas:

  1. Career Exploration and Development; 
  2. Postsecondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection; 
  3. Financial Aid and Literacy.

In recognition of the strength of pooled resources and regional events, the ACCSS team responsible for student transition collaborates to plan regional college and career readiness for students and their families. For more information about upcoming workshops, see the College-Career Readiness Events link in the sidebar.

Instructional Design

The Alliance members believe all students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and life, prepared to pursue the future of their choosing. This expectation is reinforced by the current federal and state education legislation that defines expectations for student readiness. To aide regional educators in supporting their students, the Alliance for College Readiness provides various professional development opportunities for educators: 

  • High school counselor professional development to learn more about postsecondary pathway options, coaching strategies, and tools that help youth explore their passions
  • Transitional math instructors participate in orientation before teaching the high school math course for the first time and on-going professional development sessions designed to assess and strengthen student learning.
  • Dual credit high school instructors participate in orientation before teaching the college course for the first time. They receive one-on-one support from ECC faculty who also teach these college courses. Elgin Community College follows the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships accreditation standards to ensure college courses taught at the high schools are held to the same quality and rigor standards as those taught at the college campus.
  • Teach CTE is an annual conference for regional career-technical program instructors from secondary and higher education institutions. At this event, instructors learn about evidence-based instructional practices and collaborate to strengthen student learning and engagement.

Transitional Courses

As part of the Illinois Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness Act (PWR), transitional courses are developed in collaboration between high school and college-level educators and taught in high school. These courses give high school seniors, who are not college-ready, to improve their communication/literacy and math skills. Students who successfully pass these transitional high school courses with a C or better have direct placement into college-level courses in these subjects, thus bypassing the placement tests.

  • Transitional Math Courses: Using the available statewide curriculum resources for Transitional Math, high school and college faculty and administrators developed three high school math courses STEM/College Algebra, Quantitative Literacy/Statistics, and Technical Math.
  • Transitional English Courses: In April 2020, the state of Illinois released transitional English course parameters and competencies recommendations. Once these are adopted by ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE, the Alliance will continue its collaboration with school districts to develop implementation plans for these new high school transitional courses.

College Readiness Data and Trends


The Alliance uses data to inform collaboration priorities. Regular review of regional college-career metrics ensures collaboration results in meaningful improvements for students. Data sources used include:

  • Public School Data: Information for all public schools is available through the Illinois Report Card Provides data on each public school and their performance on key state-defined metrics.
  • National Student Clearinghouse: Provides national data regarding collegiate enrollment and degree information for students who attend US colleges and universities.
  • ACCSS Data Sharing: Through pooled datasets, District data is integrated with Elgin Community College data to illustrate college readiness trends. Selected district and college personnel have been provided access.
  • Alliance Tableau Access: Online data visualization tool available for Alliance members only at online.tableau.com (login required).