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Read the To&Through Project's latest op-eds, essays, and updates.

High school sophomore answers the question of how important sophomore year of high school is and whether colleges look at students' sophomore year grades.

Three Common Myths & Facts About Sophomore Year to Read Before Fall

Nearly half of all off-track sophomores in the 2013–2014 CPS freshman cohort were on-track as freshmen. They graduated from high school at a rate of 43%. Their peers who remained on-track sophomore year graduated at a rate of 93%. Read more surprising research about the sophomore year.

teacher student relationship student intervention adolescent development building relationships with students

This Fall, Let Building Authentic Relationships With Students Be the Best Incentive

Thousands of schools around the country still use rewards as a central technique despite clear research evidence about their ineffectiveness. When we monetize student behaviors, we create a transactional relationship between students and adults, relying on extrinsic rewards rather than grappling with the deeper question of why we think students need incentives in order to perform well in school. Read more about why — and how — educators across the country are beginning to rethink their rewards systems.

To&Through Newsletter Summer 2021 features resources about social emotional learning for middle school and higher education research about Chicago Public Schools data on students' college pathways and postsecondary experiences

The To&Through Project Summer 2021 Newsletter

Read our summer newsletter to learn about our new research, data tool, and resources ranging from leveraging student voice to unearthing trends in Chicago Public Schools graduates' experiences after high school.

Middle school student sits on the floor near her bed reflecting on how the pandemic impact her social emotional learning and adolescent development

The Humanity of Our Students

As we prepare to welcome all students back to school this fall, it is vital that we learn more about how the last year-and-a-half has affected them. In April, the six schools in the To&Through Middle Grades Network gave their middle grade students an assignment that asked them: “How have you changed and grown since the beginning of the pandemic?” Students’ responses took several different forms: poetry, drawings, playlists, or written reflections to describe their experience. Read their responses.

A girl in a college graduation gown stands alone, she is meant to represent Chicago Public Schools graduates who have low GPAs but deserve more equitable higher education funding to have the systematic supports she needs to graduate from college

Illinois must change the way it funds higher education

If Chicago is going to significantly increase the completion rate for all CPS graduates, the next step is to focus on providing more systematic support for CPS graduates with less than a 3.0 GPA. These students, who make up more than half of CPS graduates, don’t always have access to selective schools with high graduation rates, but they are accepted into college, they want to earn certificates and degrees and some do graduate. However, many require additional academic, financial and social supports on campuses.

Screenshot of Sankey diagram on the cover of the report with a purple color gradient on top

New Report Busts Four Common Myths About College Completion

The findings from our new report Navigating the Maze: Understanding CPS Graduates' Paths Through College suggest that some long-held beliefs about persisting in and completing college may be incorrect. During the college choice process, adults supporting students should be clear with themselves and clear with students and their families about how CPS students actually move through higher education systems. 

Two girls who are college students sit on their front porch with face masks on. They are doing homework on their laptops.

Three Implications from Our Report on CPS College Enrollment and Retention During the Pandemic

This blog post provides a high-level summary of findings and implications from our report College During the Pandemic: Immediate Enrollment and Retention of CPS Graduates in Fall 2020.

To&Through Project Newsletter Winter 2021

The To&Through Project Winter 2021 Newsletter

Read our winter newsletter to learn about updates to our data tools for educators and stakeholders, new middle grades success resources, and our recent research releases and op-eds.

Karen Lewis smiles

Remembering Karen Lewis

"Karen was a powerful education leader in Chicago who impacted teachers, schools, and students across the city, but behind the scenes, she was also a great friend who pushed me and many others to be kind, reflective, and human," writes To&Through Project Director Alex Seeskin.

A high school senior walks into his college counselor's office.

Understanding the Limitations of Descriptive Research and Data

At the To&Through Project and the UChicago Consortium, we have done a lot of critical reflection over the past year about the ways we show up as individuals and as an organization, the limitations of descriptive research and data, and the importance of framing our findings around equity.