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OneGoal and Illinois State Board of Education Announce 17 Districts Accepted Into Statewide Postsecondary Success Program

The program, which supports students’ postsecondary success, is accepting applications through Wednesday, December 22.

ILLINOIS, Dec. 16, 2021 – Leading postsecondary success organization OneGoal and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), announced a new partnership in October that will bring OneGoal’s postsecondary success support to districts and high schools across the state. To date, 17 districts have been approved by ISBE to be a part of the inaugural cohort to receive robust postsecondary professional development at the school and district leadership levels. The initiative is part of a state-wide effort to ensure equity in postsecondary advising, especially as COVID-19 has resulted in a postsecondary enrollment crisis nationwide and across the state.

The approved districts include Canton USD 66, Champaign CUSD 4, Dunlap CUSD 323, East St. Louis SD 189, Elgin U-46, Frankfort CUSD 168, Freeport SD 145, Harlem UD 122, Joliet TWP HSD 204, Rich Township HSD 227, Riverton CUSD 14, Rockford SD 205, Round Lake CUSD 116, Sparta CUSD 140, Taylorville CUSD 3, Vienna HSD 133, and Waukegan CUSD 60.

The districts will embark on a two-year commitment. In the first year of partnership, OneGoal will offer its OneGoal Leadership Network—a range of leadership development services to build capacity at the system level to ensure more equitable outcomes for students. As an approved Administrator Academy in Illinois, school and district leaders who participate in the network will receive credit toward their administrative license renewal requirements. In the second year, leadership development services will continue, and districts will have the opportunity to adopt OneGoal’s core school-based model, which pairs a teacher with a cohort of around 25 students.

“We are a rural district where the administrative team wears many hats,” explained Sparta District Superintendent Dr. Gabe Schwemmer. “Building capacity among the staff would be very beneficial, and we are hopeful that OneGoal could come into our district, evaluate our processes, and give us a plan for success.” The Sparta District in Randolph County and the other inaugural partner districts will leverage this new support from OneGoal and ISBE at no cost as the state is deploying $7.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds to fully fund the collaboration for two years.

Postsecondary enrollment in the U.S. dropped by 5.4% from 2019 to 2020, with larger decreases in community college enrollment (13.7% decrease) and undergraduate enrollment (7.2% decrease) (1). The Illinois P-20 Council highlighted the need to address this crisis, specifically prioritizing a “targeted (re)engagement strategy and communication program to boost enrollment in postsecondary,” (2). Leaders in these approved districts will receive support to strengthen postsecondary enrollment and persistence in their communities through their collaboration with OneGoal and ISBE.

“The OneGoal team is thrilled to begin working with new district partners across Illinois,” shared OneGoal Chief Impact Office Patty Diaz-Andrade. “District leaders play a critical role in our collective responsibility to close the degree divide, and when we enable them to take stock of structural barriers and assess current practices, they are better positioned to bridge secondary and postsecondary transition for all students.”

The application deadline for school districts in Illinois is Wednesday, December 22. The application is open to all school districts; ISBE will select inaugural districts to participate based on current postsecondary outcomes, opportunity gaps, and financial need. Leaders interested in accelerating system-level change in their district are encouraged to visit OneGoal’s website to learn more and connect with OneGoal’s team.

(1) Preliminary Fall 2020 Enrollments in Illinois Higher Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education
(2) Learning Renewal Resource Guide, Illinois P-20 Council


OneGoal is a national postsecondary access and success organization dedicated to closing the degree divide in America and creating a more equitable future for all students whose career aspirations require a postsecondary degree, certificate, or credential. We do this by building adult capacity across schools and districts and providing robust one-on-one advising to students so that more institutions can equitably support their students’ postsecondary aspirations. 84% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution, and 75% of those who enroll persist one year after high school. In the 2020/21 school year, OneGoal reached more than 12,000 students through partnerships with schools and districts across the country.

Contact Stephen Barker, [email protected], (316) 734-1042

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