Supported Instructors, Stronger Students: Study Provides Key Recommendations to Strengthen CCC’s Early College Program

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To strengthen supports for our Dual Credit instructors, City Colleges and CPS are already working to implement recommendations outlined in a new report by EdSystems.

Chicago high schoolers are used to thinking and talking about college, but at City Colleges of Chicago, we’re giving them the chance to start taking college classes—for free.

As part of our Early College program, Dual Credit classes allow high school juniors and seniors to take college-level courses right at their own schools. The opportunity to earn college credit while working towards a high school diploma has expanded rapidly at Chicago Public Schools over the last several years, as CCC and CPS have worked to build a seamless pathway from pre-K to and through college through the Chicago Roadmap.

In fact, in just six years, Dual Credit courses have grown over 250% at CPS:

  • 2015: 101 courses with 2,460 student enrollments
  • 2021: 275 courses with 6,500 student enrollments

In light of the growth, both CCC and CPS have recognized that continued expansion requires an examination of existing support structures for the instructors who teach Dual Credit classes. That’s why in Spring 2021, we engaged Education Systems Center (EdSystems) to begin a project to provide strategic counsel, analysis, and recommendations to enhance onboarding and support for such instructors.

Through an examination of existing national and Illinois models, and focus groups and interviews with key CCC and CPS stakeholders, an emerging set of recommendations for next steps was created.

Losing no time, City Colleges has already implemented the following recommendations:

  • Introduced a cross-institutional Dual Credit Implementation Committee that meets bi-weekly to discuss Dual Credit issues, as well as make and implement recommendations.
  • Launched six Dual Credit course teams with faculty from both CCC and CPS working collaboratively to develop model course materials for Dual Credit implementation.
  • Started to develop a ‘Credentialing Help-guide’ for specific courses to help CPS better identify qualified teachers to teach key Dual Credit courses.

Our work to further implement key recommendations from the report will continue through Spring 2022 and into the future. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with our partners at CPS to ensure Chicago students have an accessible and affordable pathway to and through college, thereby strengthening our city’s future workforce.

To learn more about the Chicago Roadmap and read our 2021 Progress Report, visit www.chicagoroadmap.org.