Hero: Communications Toolkit

Research is most effective when it is accessible. When educators, families, and policymakers share a common understanding of what matters most for students' success, they can collectively transform outcomes.

Elaine Allensworth
Lewis-Sebring Director of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research

The To&Through Project's Communications Toolkit is a collection of briefs, posters, student videos, lesson plans, and other resources created to support school leaders and partners in their efforts to share the research that matters most for high school and college success with educators, students, and families. The Toolkit was developed with input from high school principals across Chicago, and the resources within it are designed to: increase awareness of and spark meaningful dialogue about what fosters high school and college attainment among school leaders, students, and families; aid teachers and counselors in supporting students' journeys to college; and promote a college-going culture within schools.

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Social Media Posts

This social media toolkit consists of sample Facebook posts and tweets that illuminate important insights on what matters most for students' high school and college success. The language in this toolkit can also be used for other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat. Each post includes a link to student and parent/guardian resources designed to illuminate what matters most for students' high school and college success.

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Posters

This set of "Did You Know?" posters highlights key facts on what it takes to make it to and through college. The posters are designed to draw students' attention to what matters most for their high school and college success, based on decades of UChicago Consortium research. They can be printed and displayed in schools, after-school program facilities, and other spaces in which students are engaged in learning and pursuing their postsecondary goals. They can also be used as handouts or flyers.

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Flyers

These one-page flyers summarize key UChicago Consortium research findings on what matters most for students' high school and college success: Freshman OnTrack, attendance, grades, and college choice. The flyers can be printed, or the text within the flyers can be incorporated into emails, newsletters, or other communications designed to highlight key facts on what fosters high school and college attainment for students and families.

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Student Videos

The To&Through Project sat down with 19 current college students from Chicago Public Schools to hear about their journeys to and through college. The students discuss their transition from high school to college, barriers and challenges they've faced on the road to and through college, and the advice they would give to others aiming to earn a college degree.

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Lesson Plans

This counselor-created series of lesson plans is designed to foster student reflection and discussion on college hopes, fears, and goals. The lesson plans cover a range of topics—from motivations to attend college to the transition to college and challenges students may encounter in college. They also feature videos of current college students reflecting on their journeys to and through college and offering first-hand advice on how to prepare for life after high school. 

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T-shirt Design

UChicago Consortium research has found that students who attend high schools with strong college-going cultures are significantly more likely to apply to college than students who attend high schools with weak college-going cultures. This t-shirt design is meant to help foster a college-going culture within schools and encourage students to wear their college aspirations with pride.

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PowerPoint Presentations

This set of PowerPoint presentations breaks down and illustrates key University of Chicago Consortium on School Research findings on key indicators of high school success, the importance of ninth-grade GPA, and college choice. The presentations include detailed talking points and can be shared with teachers, counselors, and other school staff members or partners to foster shared knowledge of the factors that matter most for students’ high school and college success.