Skip to content

Alliance for College and Career Student Success

Alliance for College and Career Student Success (ACCSS) includes organizational members from Elgin Community College District 509 and its public school districts, Community Unit School District 300, Central District 301, St. Charles School District 303, and Unit District 46.


All students in our region, from all backgrounds and abilities, have the opportunities and support to succeed in college, career, and civic life.


The mission of ACCSS is to align and leverage the partner organizations' joint resources and expertise and the communities they serve through continuous improvement of secondary-to-postsecondary educational systems that empower and support all students in the region toward postsecondary success.

Shared Values

In pursuing our vision and achieving our mission, we value and practice:

  • Equity-centered policies that foster model practices;
  • Aligned goals, collaborative planning, and efficient operations;
  • Robust, inclusive dialogue with the engagement of stakeholders;
  • Data-informed decision-making based on common metrics to inform our focus;
  • Research-based strategies, including innovation built on models of best practice;
  • Strong systems of support for staff and students.

This initiative promotes collaboration between educators from kindergarten through college and careers. Area educators from public and private education systems are welcome to participate. The goal of this collaborative partnership between ECC and the public school districts in Community College District 509 is to ensure that all District 509 young people are ready for college-level courses and can experience success after high school.

Members of ACCSS work in cross-organizational teams to establish regional priorities for strengthening regional students' college and career readiness. In recent years, the priorities have largely been driven by the state of Illinois’ education legislation, the Illinois Postsecondary & Workforce Readiness Act (PWR Public Act 99-0674).

Collaborative Priorities

The Alliance for College and Career Student Success at Elgin Community College establishes annual priority areas for collaboration. The current areas of focus are outlined below. This web page's sidebar includes quarterly college and career readiness reports detailing progress toward the priorities for a given year.

College-Career Pathways

ACCSS develops robust college-career pathways that will help students move seamlessly from high school to college-level courses in specific career fields. These pathways will align with regional employer expectations, meet state-defined competencies, and promote student preparation for regional employment opportunities. The course maps for each pathway include identifying strategic (high-value) dual credit courses to aid students in earning college credit while in high school. The following publications detail recent products of our collaboration:

In addition to defining regional and district-specific course maps, our teams collaborate to create opportunities for students to experience team-based challenges and engage in various forms of work-based learning. This work supports the development of the College and Career Pathway Endorsements in our district high schools.

Student Transitions

The state of Illinois has published a detailed framework to guide students, families, and educators on the types of experiences and information a student should have to make the most informed decision about college and career planning. The framework recognizes the developmental nature of this preparation for students in that it begins in 8th grade and continues through high school.

The Postsecondary & Career Expectations (PaCE) framework has been adopted by Community Unit School District 300, Central District 301, St. Charles School District 303, and Unit District 46. Within each district’s plan for developing students for success after high school, the framework details learning experiences within three key areas:

  1. Career Exploration and Development;
  2. Postsecondary Education Exploration, Preparation, and Selection;
  3. Financial Aid and Literacy.

Recognizing the strength of pooled resources and regional events, the ACCSS team responsible for student transition collaborates to plan regional college and career readiness for students and their families. For more information about upcoming workshops, see the College-Career Readiness Events link in the sidebar.

Instructional Design

ACCSS members believe all students should graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and life, prepared to pursue the future of their choosing. This expectation is reinforced by the current federal and state education legislation that defines expectations for student readiness. To aid regional educators in supporting their students, ACCSS provides various professional development opportunities for educators:

  • High school counselor professional development to learn more about postsecondary pathway options, coaching strategies, and tools that help youth explore their passions
  • Transitional math instructors participate in orientation before teaching the high school math course for the first time and ongoing professional development sessions designed to assess and strengthen student learning.
  • Dual-credit high school instructors participate in orientation before teaching the college course for the first time. They receive one-on-one support from ECC faculty who also teach these college courses. Elgin Community College follows the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships accreditation standards to ensure college courses taught at the high schools are held to the same quality and rigor standards as those taught at the college campus.
  • Teach CTE is an annual conference for regional career-technical program instructors from secondary and higher education institutions. At this event, instructors learn about evidence-based instructional practices and collaborate to strengthen student learning and engagement.

Transitional Courses

As part of the Illinois Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness Act (PWR), transitional courses are developed through a collaboration between high school and college-level educators and taught in high school. These courses give high school seniors who are not college-ready opportunities to improve their communication/literacy and math skills. Students who successfully pass these transitional high school courses with a C or better have direct placement into college-level courses in these subjects, thus bypassing the placement tests.

  • Transitional Math Courses: Using the available statewide curriculum resources for transitional math, high school and college faculty and administrators developed three high school math courses College Algebra, Quantitative Literacy Statistics, and Technical Math.
  • Transitional English Courses: In April 2020, Illinois released transitional English course parameters and competencies recommendations. Once ISBE, ICCB, and IBHE adopt these, the ACCSS will collaborate with school districts to develop implementation plans for these new high school transitional courses.

College Readiness Data and Trends

The ACCSS uses data to inform collaboration priorities. Regular review of regional college-career metrics ensures collaboration results in meaningful improvements for students. Data sources used include:

  • Illinois Report Card: Data on each public school and its performance on key state metrics.
  • National Student Clearinghouse: National data regarding collegiate enrollment and degree information for U.S. colleges and universities students.
  • ACCSS Data Sharing: Pooled district and ECC data to illustrate regional college readiness trends. An online data visualization tool is available for Alliance for College and Career Student Success members only (login required via ECC's Tableau tool).

Students who attend ECC can demonstrate readiness for college coursework using several pieces of data (see Minimum Competencies and Placement Testing). Since the Alliance for College Readiness’s creation in 2006 college readiness rates - PDF have increased in reading, writing, and math.

The following charts illustrate college readiness rate trends for students from District 509 high schools who enroll at Elgin Community College.

College Readiness Overall

In fall 2019, nearly one-third of graduating students from Community College District 509 high schools demonstrate they have college-level skills in reading, writing, and math. This is up from only 24% of graduates in 2006.

College Readiness by Subject

The preparation of graduating students from Community College District 509 high schools in the individual subject areas varies. In fall 2019, 81% of students demonstrated they have college-level skills in reading and writing compared to only 33% in math. For all three subject areas, the percentage of graduates with college-level skills has increased since 2006.

In ECC’s community college district 509, the college-going rate is higher than the national average college-going rates - PDF. The Alliance continues to focus on maintaining and increasing high rates of college-going and persistence.

College-Going Rates Chart: Percent of students enrolled in college after high school graduation. All district 300, 301, 303, and U-46 students combined.

64% of the Community College District 509 high school graduates from 2018 are enrolled in college the first fall after high school graduation. The percent of 2017 graduates enrolling in college the first fall was 66% but then rose to 73% within one year of high school graduation. These percentages exceed national averages.

College enrollment information for high school graduates provided by National Student Clearinghouse, Fall 2018.

Although not all who take college classes seek a degree or certificate, completion of these milestones within 6 years is one measure of the region’s educational success. The Alliance continues to focus on maintaining and increasing high rates of college-going and persistence degree or certificate completion - PDF so that our students can achieve their goals.

Degree/Certificate Completion Chart: Cumulative Percent of Students Earning a College Degree (Certificate or Higher), Within 6 Years of HS Graduation, By Race/Ethnicity. All district 300, 301, 303, and U-46 students combined.

38% of all Community College District 509 high school graduates from 2013 earned a college degree within six years of high school graduation. Different racial/ethnic groups demonstrated differing degree completion rates: 20% of Black students; 31% of Latino students; 41% of White students; and 49% of Asian students.

College enrollment information for high school graduates provided by National Student Clearinghouse, Fall 2018