Theme: Culture of Achievement
Organization Level: System
Critical elements: The leaders and teachers within the district/system believe that preparing all students for success in college and careers is an essential and attainable goal. This college- and career-bound mindset is central to all communication to parents, students, and teachers about the district/system’s mission. The college- and career-readiness goal influences all instructional decisions.
Practice: Establish system-wide mission of college and career readiness for all students. Provide schools with leadership and resources to support a culture of achievement.

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CriteriaLess Effective PracticesSuccess Factors for Meeting State StandardsSuccess Factors for College and Career Readiness
College & Career-Ready Mission

Little consensus exists within the school community regarding the definition of achievement and the purpose of schooling.

Academic achievement and mastery of the standards-based curriculum is at the heart of the district/systems mission.

College and career readiness and persistence to obtain a certificate or a degree and pursue career pathways is the district/systems primary mission; all members of the school community share a common vision and commitment to the goal of a postsecondary degree/certificate and a living-wage job for all students.

Clear Messaging about College

College and career readiness does not figure prominently in messaging to stakeholders and the larger community. References to college and career readiness are vague and may imply that college and a living-wage job with a stackable career ladder is an expectation for some students but not within reach for all.

The value of meeting standards and graduating from high school is communicated consistently to all stakeholders. District/system leaders express their belief that education is essential for students future lives and that all students can learn.

The district/systems messaging and outreach activities clearly communicate the college and career readiness goal; all members of the community, including families and students, identify college and career readiness as the district/systems educational purpose and the goal for all students.

College-Bound Mindset

Competing claims regarding the schools mission dilute available resources; promoting a culture of achievement occurs at a superficial level or is not a high priority in terms of time or budget. Though individual schools or classrooms may celebrate achievement, the district/system provides little support for such efforts.

The district/system fosters a culture of achievement by allocating resources of budget and time to activities that communicate the value of learning and showcase diverse examples of student achievement, such as assemblies, guest speakers, student exhibitions, advisory groups, and newsletters.

The district/system devotes significant resources to promote a college and career bound mindset via a coordinated program of college and career oriented activities, such as partnerships with colleges, dual credit, field trips to college campuses, college knowledge courses, and public celebrations of excellence.

College Knowledge and Culture of Engagement

College Knowledge is not an integral part of the school systems curriculum.

Students planning to attend college receive school-level support for applying to colleges and for financial aid, especially during junior and senior years.

The district/system allocates time, personnel, and resources to support college knowledge as an integral part of the college and career ready curriculum beginning by PreK/K. Career and life skills resources are also devoted to supporting students who may pursue non-traditional postsecondary educational pathways after high school. The district/system has explicit partnerships with institutions of higher education to support students articulation.

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