The To&Through Project builds off of the tremendous success of Freshman On-Track in Chicagoâ€”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 â€śOn-Trackâ€ť at the end of freshman yearâ€”having no more than one core course failure and having enough credits to be promoted to 10th gradeâ€”is more predictive of a studentâ€™s likelihood of graduating from high school than race, socioeconomic status, and prior achievement combined. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) incorporated the Freshman On-Track indicator into its accountability framework in 2003, but the districtâ€™s Freshman On-Track 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 On-Track rates. In response, CPS began providing every high school with bi-weekly Freshman On-Track data reports and the University of Chicagoâ€™s Network for College Success began providing training and resources to help CPS schools put Freshman On-Track 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 On-Track 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 On-Track initiativeâ€™s success: a combination of research, data, and resources focused on what matters most for student success.
The To&Through Project is a partnership among the University of Chicagoâ€™s Urban Education Institute and Network for College Success that brings together expertise across the key domains of research, data, and training resources.
UChicago Consortium at the Urban Education Institute has conducted more than two decades of research on Chicago Public Schools to discover what matters most for school improvement and student success, providing the insight and knowledge that ground The To&Through Project. Over the last 10 years, at least 13 cities have replicated the Consortiumâ€™s model for place-based research partnerships, including New York City, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
UChicago Impact, the Urban Education Instituteâ€™s not-for-profit LLC, designed the To&Through Online Tool and partners with districts and schools across the country to provide other empirically based tools and support services that foster reliably excellent schooling. UChicago Impact currently works in more than 4,500 schools across 60 major cities in 33 states, and more than 2.8 million students nationwide have used its tools.
The Network for College Success (NCS) at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration designs and provides training and support resources to help schools and school partners build the capacity to use research and data to improve student outcomes. In addition to creating the Freshman On-Track Toolkit, NCS provides To&Through training institutes to all Chicago public high schools and recently hosted its first National Freshmen Success Institute, leading seven days of learning withÂ teams of educators from across the country.
Finally, the Urban Education Instituteâ€™s Strategic Communications and Engagement Team works collaboratively with all of these units and organizations, enabling The To&Through Projectâ€™s research, data, and resources to reach educators and families nationwide.
Learn more about our team members below: