Illinois Adopts New Framework for Preparing Students for
Postsecondary Education, Careers, and Financial Aid
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[June 28, 2017]
CHICAGO -- The State of
Illinois has adopted a new Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE)
framework that outlines what students should know and actions they
should take from middle school through 12th grade to select the
right postsecondary option, prepare for careers, and access
financial aid opportunities.
Through the action of their governing boards, the
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Board of Higher
Education (IBHE), Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), and the
Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) have all adopted the
framework and will be using it to support and advance their efforts
in these areas.
Grade level learning standards help teachers, students, and parents
make sure that students are on track when it comes to learning
academic concepts. But when it comes to what a student should know
about life after high school—concepts like how to choose a college
or what to look for when exploring careers—there has not been a
similar set of grade level milestones addressing what students
should know and when.
“The new PaCE guidelines offer a framework that teachers, schools,
and others who work with students can use to help improve college
and career readiness," said Dr. Beth Purvis, Illinois Secretary of
Education and Chair of the Illinois P-20 Council. “We are pleased to
support this important cross-agency effort to ensure middle and high
school students have academic and work experiences that support them
and their families in making well-informed plans and decisions for
their adult life.”
The PaCE framework is one of four key strategies included in the
Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness Act (Public Act 99-0674) (PWR
Act), which unanimously passed the Illinois House and Senate in May
2016 and was signed by Governor Rauner in July 2016. The PWR Act
takes a student-centered and competency-based approach to assist
Illinois students to prepare for and select the right postsecondary
option, and ultimately obtain meaningful employment. The PaCE
framework provides an important foundation for the three other
strategies implemented by the PWR Act: a new system for school
districts to award college and career pathways endorsements on high
school diplomas, supporting students to avoid remediation in college
through targeted math instruction during the senior year, and
piloting competency-based high school graduation requirements.
The framework is intended to be used by communities to organize
their activities around postsecondary education and career readiness
and financial aid supports. While the PWR Act does not require
school districts to adopt it, state agencies will use PaCE to
organize their supports in these areas to local communities.
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For example, ISAC is using PaCE as a framework to guide the
assistance it delivers through a recently awarded seven-year, $18.6 million
federal Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR
UP) grant that will provide services to approximately 30,500 students in 25
middle schools and 25 high schools across Illinois. ISAC is also supporting the
work of the Northern Illinois University P-20 Center in the creation of
professional development modules on the PaCE framework for administrators and
school counselors. In addition, the Northern Illinois Regional P-20 Networkhas
created tools to help implement the PaCE Framework, especially On PaCE to
Thrive: A Guide to Community Action for College and Career Readiness, which
provides activities to be shared by stakeholders in each community.
PaCE was developed through a multi-year process led by the Illinois P-20
Council’s College and Career Readiness Committee. The advisory committee that
developed PaCE included over 30 members from across the State representing
school counselors, district administrators, universities, community colleges,
teacher, employers, state agencies, and nonprofit organizations.
While PaCE was not officially adopted until this month, some Illinois school
districts have already begun to implement it.
“Our district has done a significant amount of work on college and career
readiness, and we have found PaCE to be a great modeling tool to build on that
work,” said Dr. Travis L. McGuire, Superintendent of Hinkley-Big Rock CUSD #429.
“The flexibility of the framework has allowed us to identify and implement
important components aligned to our local needs and resources.”
ISBE will be live on Facebook at 3 pm on Wednesday, June 28, to answer questions
about PaCE at
www.facebook.com/ IllinoisStateBoardofEducation. ISBE Director of
Community Partnerships and Secondary Transformation Mary Reynolds and Illini
Central CUSD 189 Superintendent Mike Ward will share how they envision using the
framework to help all students prepare for college and career.
The official PaCE framework is available at
https://www.isbe.net/Documents/ PaCE_Revisions.pdfResources for PaCE
and other aspects of the PWR Act are available at
[ISAC/Illinois Board of Higher