The To&Through Project’s mission is to close the aspiration-attainment gap with research, data, and resources designed to give every student who aspires to earn a college degree the opportunity and support to do so.

Chicago—with the right research, data, and resources—has moved thousands more students to and through high school and college. As a nation, we can move millions.

Arne Duncan
Managing Partner, Emerson Collective; Former U.S. Secretary of Education and CEO of Chicago Public Schools

Our Mission

69 percent of Chicago Public Schools high school freshmen aspire to earn a college degree, yet projections show only 19 percent of them will go on to earn a four-year college degree within ten years. Nationally, the vast majority of all high school students aspire to earn a college degree, yet less than one in three succeed.

The To&Through Project’s mission is to close this gap, with data and dialogue designed to give every student who aspires to earn a college degree the opportunity and support to do so.

Helping more students make it to and through high school and college is critical, not only because it will result in more students realizing their college aspirations, but also because research tells us that a college degree is still the most effective path out of poverty. People who finish college also tend to be healthier and happier—less likely to get involved in crime or suffer from illness, and more likely to volunteer, vote, engage in their communities, and even live longer.

A Collaborative Model for Change: Data and Dialogue

Our Theory of Change

 

We believe that every student who wants to earn a college degree should have the opportunity and support to do so.

We know that there are key attainment milestones on the path to and through high school and college.

We commit to providing educators, families, and policymakers with the data and dialogue they need to move more students to and through high school and college.

Our History

The To&Through Project builds off of the tremendous success of Freshman OnTrack in Chicago—the story of research, data, and resources enabling the third largest school district in the United States to make dramatic, systemwide progress on its high school graduation rates. In the late 1990s, groundbreaking research from the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research revealed that being “on-track” at the end of freshman year—having no more than one core course failure and having enough credits to be promoted to 10th grade—is more predictive of a student’s likelihood of graduating from high school than race, socioeconomic status, and prior achievement combined. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) incorporated the Freshman OnTrack indicator into its accountability framework in 2003, but the district’s Freshman OnTrack rate remained flat for nearly half a decade. In 2007, the Consortium expanded on its seminal research and issued a new report identifying specific strategies for improving Freshman OnTrack rates. In response, CPS began providing every high school with bi-weekly Freshman OnTrack data reports and the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success began providing training and resources to help CPS schools put Freshman OnTrack research and data into practice.

This combination of research from the UChicago Consortium, real-time data from CPS, and training and resources from the Network for College Success supported the ongoing work of Chicago school leaders and partners to improve the ninth grade transition across the district and helped spur a 24-point increase in Freshman OnTrack rates between 2007 and 2015. During the same time frame, high school graduation rates rose from 57 to 74 percent. The To&Through Project will provide education stakeholders in Chicago and across the nation with the same key ingredients that supported the Freshman OnTrack initiative’s success: a combination of research, data, and resources focused on what matters most for student success.

 

Our Team

Jennifer Ciok's headshot.
Jennifer Ciok
Middle Grades Network Coach of the To&Through Middle Grades Network,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Dayna Dion
Senior Director of National Engagement,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Jasmin Lee
Jasmin Lee
Research Analyst,
UChicago Consortium on School Research
Ashley Leonard
Associate Director of the To&Through Middle Grades Network,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Shelby Mahaffie
Research Analyst,
UChicago Consortium on School Research
May Malone
May Malone
Public Engagement Fellow,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Dominique McKoy
Associate Director of the To&Through Project,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
UChicago Consortium Jenny Nagaoka
Jenny Nagaoka
Deputy Director, UChicago Consortium on School Research; Senior Advisor to the To&Through Project,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Alex Seeskin
Alex Seeskin
Director, The To&Through Project; Chief Strategy Officer,
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute
Paulina Torres-Orejuela
Research Analyst,
UChicago Consortium on School Research
Alexandra Usher
Associate Director for Data Research, The To&Through Project; Senior Research Analyst,
UChicago Consortium on School Research

Our Supporters

The To&Through Project is made possible by the collaboration of many school leaders and community partners throughout Chicago Public Schools as well as the generous financial support of organizations and individuals. We would like to thank all who have been and continue to be part of our work, and recognize all of our supporters that have contributed $30k or more to fund The To&Through Project as well as the members of the To&Through Project’s Advisory Group for their guidance and support.

The Boeing Company
The Crown Family
Mary and Paul Finnegan
Harriet Heyman, AM’72 and Sir Michael Moritz
The Joyce Foundation
The Kersten Fund for Urban Education
Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation
The Neubauer Family Foundation
W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation
UEI Partners Committee of the UChicago Women's Board
Saul Zaentz Charitable Foundation

 

The To&Through Advisory Group:

 

Aide Acosta
Noble Network of Charter Schools
Daniel Anello
Kids First Chicago
Sarah Berghorst
OneGoal
Chris Broughton
Bottom Line Chicago
Matt Bruce
Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance
Jessica Canas
Enlace Chicago
Jason Cascarino
Cascarino Ventures
Duane Davis
University of Chicago
Catherine Deutsch
Braven
Aarti Dhupelia
National Louis University
Sue Farruggia
University of Illinois at Chicago
Jon Furr
Education Systems Center
Kevin Gallick
Washington High School
Veronica Herrero
City Colleges of Chicago
Amy Huang
Chicago Public Schools
Dominique Jordan-Turner
Chicago Scholars
Chris Kelly
Phoenix Pact Fund
Pranav Kothari
Revolution Impact
Gerald Morrow
Dunbar Vocational Career Academy
Kristen Perry
Chicago Public Schools
Nate Pietrini
High Jump
Paige Ponder
One Million Degrees
Tamara Prather
Surge Institute
Barrington Price
Dominican University
Stephen Raudenbush
University of Chicago
Shaz Rasul
University of Chicago
Maurice Swinney
Chicago Public Schools
Will Torres
University of Chicago Charter School
AJ Watson
Becoming a Man (B.A.M.)
Kyle Westbrook
Partnership for College Completion