As school systems across the country recommit themselves to ensuring college and career readiness and success, they must rely on districts to translate federal and state policies into the local context. The College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center has released a new brief, The District Role in Supporting College and Career Readiness for Students, which builds upon recommendations from a 2009 Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Practice Guide that describes evidence-based practices that promote postsecondary access for high school students. While the IES recommendations are relevant for schools, this brief points to the important role that districts play in ensuring schools have the resources to provide students access to a coherent set of activities that support their college and career goals.
Prepared with funding from the National High School Center, the brief focuses on three large school districts – Long Beach, Philadelphia and Albuquerque – that have initiated district-wide, systemic approaches to college and career readiness and success. The snapshots provide concrete examples of just a few initiatives underway in these districts that can provide the infrastructure for schools to support college and career ready outcomes for students. They illustrate the central role that strong counseling units can play and the importance of providing students opportunities to participate actively in shaping their goals and their pathways for reaching those goals. Further, these examples point to the importance of working across traditional boundaries – whether across units within the district office or across multiple community-based organizations, higher education, and local businesses – that help provide multiple pathways for students to reach their goals.
Dr. Helen Duffy is the Deputy Director of the CCRS Center and a Senior Researcher at the American Institutes for Research.