After July’s in-person annual College Changes Everything® (CCE) conference was cancelled in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ISAC, our partners, and colleagues put together an online conference that included a series of recorded sessions, as well as live sessions that ran over a period of two weeks this summer.
With the impact of the pandemic, it’s even more important for stakeholders from all aspects of students’ communities to work together to provide them with the support, knowledge, and opportunities needed to successfully transition from education to employment. Our online conference showcased programs and services available to help with increasing college access and success, as well as career readiness. While we missed the in-person, face-to-face interactions that have grown to be a key part of the event, we were pleased to still be able to share information and resources from state and national experts that can help you in your work in supporting student success.
The conference was free to all, and all conference materials continue to be available to all, simply by clicking on the links below.
Financial Aid Form Filing: The New Public HS Graduation Requirement in Illinois
Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, public high school seniors will be required to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid, or a nonparticipation form as part of a new high school graduation requirement. Join us for this session to learn more about this new requirement, what it means, and how it will be implemented directly from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). ISBE will share the FAFSA Nonparticipation form and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) will highlight the services and resources available to school districts as we all help students meet this new requirement.
Presenters: Jeff Aranowski, Executive Director, Safe and Healthy Climate, Illinois State Board of Education; and Eddie Brambila, Managing Director, Capacity Development, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Educating During the Pandemic: Efforts to Improve Access, Equity, Affordability and Excellence
Join Deputy Governor Jesse Ruiz and agency heads from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission as they discuss the challenges and solutions in educating students this fall in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics will include addressing the increased obstacles to equity and access as a result of the pandemic; improving hybrid and remote learning; addressing affordability, particularly for low income, rural and students of color; and reducing “pandemic melt” and maintaining/improving attainment in light of rapidly changing guidelines and plans for fall. This session is for education professionals as well as students and families looking for information and resources about educating Illinois students from kindergarten through postsecondary during this unique and uncertain period.
Moderator: Jesse Ruiz, Deputy Governor for Education, Office of the Illinois Governor
Panelists: Dr. Carmen Ayala, State Superintendent of Education, Illinois State Board of Education; Ginger Ostro, Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; Dr. Brian Durham, Executive Director, Illinois Community College Board; and Eric Zarnikow, Executive Director, Illinois Student Assistance Commission
Keynote: Music, Movies, and NASA: Pop-culture and space exploration illuminating the way for change
One problem with business-as-usual approaches to deal with emerging issues is they fail to create innovative solutions, prevent personal growth, and do not propel organizations and communities forward. Given issues are continually emerging that require people to develop new skills and provide innovative solutions, it is surprising that people are so resistant to change and hold onto status quo approaches that prevent the solving complex and important problems. This session will explore reasons people and organizations have trouble changing and adapting to emerging problems. A series of interactive activities will illuminate the difficulty of change and provide evidence-based strategies and techniques to break free from business-as-usual approaches. Breaking free from the status quo will facilitate personal growth, foster innovative solutions, and propel organizations and communities forward.
Presenter: Dr. Shawn Bergman, Kulynych/Cline Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Appalachian State University and Director of Research at Vela Institute
Touching the Third Rail: Creating Campus Equity Plans to Eliminate Gaps in Degree Completion by Race and Pell-status at National Louis University and Moraine Valley Community College through the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative
This session presents the experiences of two institutions developing campus-wide equity plans through the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA). The session will describe ILEA and the supports provided to each institution during the planning process, highlight challenges and successes that each institution experienced during the development process, and detailed lessons learned from the equity plan development process. This session is designed to help institutions that are interested in closing equity gaps for college completion.
Moderator/Facilitator: Julian Williams, Equity Program Manager, Partnership for College Completion
Presenters: Julian Williams, Equity Program Manager, Partnership for College Completion; Tracy Templin, Executive Director, Strategy and Operations, National Louis University; Scott Friedman, Dean of Student Engagement, Moraine Valley Community College
Guidance for Guides: Skills & Tools to Support Postsecondary Planning
This session will dive into growing efforts to re-think postsecondary planning. Participants will learn about how college and career guides in high schools, community-based organizations, and beyond can gain the skills and information they need to effectively guide young people to and through postsecondary education, as well as explore exciting new data tools like the Illinois Postsecondary Profiles and CareerPathways.net designed to support students and their guides.
Presenters: Emily Rusca, Director of State Policy & Strategy, Education Systems Center at NIU; Charlie Rosemond, Data & Outcomes Manager, Education Systems Center at NIU; Dr. Matt Liberatore, Director of Professional Learning & Student Services (D214) and President, Illinois School Counseling Association; Dana Horstein, Program Manager, Chicago Jobs Council
Collaborative Partnerships: Engaging and Supporting Youth in Work-based Learning
This session will explore and provide resources on how to create work-based learning experiences that engage youth in meaningful and authentic tasks, while also providing opportunities for them to take initiative and offer new perspectives in the workplace. Session attendees will hear from community representatives who are actively engaged in collaborative partnerships that set expectations and provide support for an assets- and needs-based approach to professionally develop youth.
Moderator: Heather Penczak, Policy & Program Manager, Education Systems Center
Presenters: Jennifer Irvin, School-Community Education Partner at BJC Healthcare; Tana Francellno, Career Partnership Manager, Youth Job Center; Neil Gambow, Chair - Mayor's Employer Advisory Council, Evanston, IL; Marc Battista, Associate Vice President of Workforce Education, Oakton Community College
Navigating College & Career Pathways as a Postsecondary Student During COVID-19
Students from Illinois colleges and universities will discuss their future college plans and how they may have changed as a result of the public health crisis. We’ll hear what supports have helped them navigate these challenging times and what instructors, administrators, or policymakers can do to smooth the pathway to completion in a world of remote learning.
Presenters: Marisol Moreno, Office and Accounting Coordinator, Women Employed; Carolyne Rivera, incoming freshman at Wright College, City Colleges of Chicago; Alexis Jenkins, Student, University of Illinois – Springfield; and Taylor Mazique, Student, University of Illinois – Champaign/Urbana
Adapting 21st Century Skills into the Virtual High School Classroom
High schools across the nation are adapting to a new educational environment and seeking out meaningful experiences in a time of isolation. The Illinois Science and Technology Institute (ISTI) has been innovating in this space for years, working to connect students with mentors and STEM experiences regardless of geographic barriers. ISTI recognized a need to bridge the gap between corporate and classroom communities. The Mentor Matching Engine was born as a virtual platform to connect students with industry professionals in their areas of interest. During this session, participants will have the opportunity to explore the Mentor Matching Engine and learn how to enroll in the program. Our focus as an organization revolves around meaningful partnership in STEM through high dosage mentorship. This model allows students to develop greater communication, problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork, and research skills with the help of a mentor. Participants will also have the opportunity to dive deeper into developing 21st century skills with their students through the use of professional contacts. We will share authentic industry challenges that students have tackled in the past and engage teachers in discussion on best practices for developing lifelong STEM skills.
Presenters: Becky Goldberg, Program Manager, Illinois Science and Technology Institute; Emily Cooper, Director, Illinois Science and Technology Institute
Career Pathway Endorsements - What & Why
Graduating high school seniors in the State of Illinois can now earn a Career Pathway Endorsement after completing a sequence of courses, including those that can earn postsecondary credit, and requisite work-based learning experiences. Most school districts are still in the earliest stages of preparing these opportunities for students, and this session provides a road map and helpful steps and tools to get start along that journey.
Presenter: Jason Klein, Director of P-20 Initiatives, Northern Illinois University Center for P-20 Engagement
Supporting Dreamers Pathway to College
How can high schools and colleges work to engage, empower, and graduate immigrant students, in the midst of the times we are living under? Come learn about current policy and financial options for these students.
Presenters: Luis Narvaez, Project Director, Chicago Public Schools; Dr. Miguel Saucedo, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Special Populations, Chicago Public Schools; Luis Narvaez, Project Director, Chicago Public Schools
Addressing the Growing Disparity Towards College Readiness and the Significant Impact on Students with Disabilities
Discussion consists of two strategies addressing the disparity perceived by students with disabilities towards their college readiness by reducing unknowns and demystifying college transition; additionally, how IDEA and ESSA are impacting students’ success. First, a ½-day high school college transition conference for students, educators, and parents. Secondly, a 3½-day orientation program for incoming college students and their parents. Students receive resources to include in their 504/Individualized Education Plan or to utilize during the summer.
Presenters: Paige Lindahl-Lewis, M.S., Associate Director, Beckwith Residential Support Services
Employer Advisory Council
Description, purpose and benefits of having a semi-annual Employer Advisory Council meeting between employers and career services. Opportunity for immediate feedback on various topics that impact students, graduates and employers. It is also a way for employers to connect with each other and share ideas and processes.
Presenters: Natalie Pavon, Manager, Career Services Operations, Chamberlain University; Ryan McCollum, National Career Advisor, Chamberlain University
Next Steps Towards a Career? Let Employment 101 Help You Decide
Illinois workNet's Employment 101 helps students plan for their careers. With an interactive function, Employment 101 supports students considering what jobs, education, or credentials are just right for them. This session demonstrates recent updates that guide youth through the career plan process that includes: Prepare a Career Plan; Preparing for a Job Search; Achieving Goals. Employment 101 guides students in determining whether a college degree or a stackable credential is their destiny.
Presenters: Dee Reinhardt, Field Trainer, Illinois workNet; Latoya McRae, Integration & Training Coordinator, Illinois workNet
Creating a High-Impact Leadership Development and Career Readiness Experience
This session will share a highly engaging, step by step approach on how to create a high impact leadership development and career readiness experience for College level students. Using research outlined by Forbes and the National Association of Colleges and Employers, this session will include a curriculum overview, foundational research implications as well as learning growth data captured from student participants as related to selected leadership competencies.
Presenter: Cason Brunt, Director of College Success and Postsecondary Leadership Development, The Chicago Scholars Foundation
Focusing on Career Exploration Outside of the School Day!
After school and summer are the best times for youth to focus on career exploration. This time is flexible and informal and allows youth to explore their passions and new content areas. In this session, you will receive resources, activities, and curriculum for how you can incorporate career exploration outside of the school day and find afterschool programs with who you can collaborate.
Presenters: Susan Stanton, Network Lead, ACT Now; Emma Spencer , Youth Development Associate, ACT Now; Emma Vibber, Quality and Professional Development Specialist, ACT Now
College Accessibility for Students Experiencing Homelessness
Despite facing many challenges such as deep poverty and instability many youth experiencing homelessness desire to pursue careers that require postsecondary education. This session will discuss recent and upcoming legislation including the College Hunger Bill and College Accessibility Bill that provides necessary supports for students to access and succeed in college.
Presenters: Alyssa Phillips, Education Attorney, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Niya Kelly, Director of State Legislative Policy, Equity and Transformation, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
Micro-Internships: Addressing Macro Issues for Students
Staff from Chicago Semester, an off-campus studies program will explore the importance of micro-internship programs for non-traditional students who need to build their professional networks while finishing classes and supporting themselves financially. For our first generation, adult studies, and underrepresented students, a micro-internship allows participants the flexibility to complete coursework while gaining real world experience. Presenters will share best practices and challenges with this learning format.
Presenters: Hannah Kiefer, Internship Coordinator, Chicago Semester; Mackenzi Huyser, Executive Director, Chicago Semester
Promoting College Access through the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy
The Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes graduating high school seniors who are able to exhibit high levels of proficiency in English and a second language. As of last year, by state law, recipients are able to earn college credit through their bilingual skills. Come learn how!
Presenters: Ernesto Matias, Chief Education Officer, Illinois State Board of Education; Luis Narvaez, Project Director, Chicago Public Schools; Dr. Joaquin Villegas, Associate Professor Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University; Maribel Ouielle-Silva, World Language Dept/ ELPT Coordinator, Hancock College Prep High School; Yvette Vazquez, World Language Teacher, Frederick W Von Steuben High School
Transfer Student Experiences: New School Who Dis?
Presentation on lateral transfer student experiences at a highly-selective private institution in Illinois. Most research on transfer students is done at public institutions. This is an inside look to a case study institution that is seeing a dramatic increase in their transfer student undergraduate population. This presentation will help administrators anticipate transfer students' needs and resources.
Presenter: Alisha Gomez-Shah, Graduate Student, Northwestern University
High Hopes for Higher Education: Honoring Black Students’ Aspirations
This session will feature the screening of a 30-minute documentary produced by Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest on evidence-based practices to support Black students on their pathways to postsecondary education and encourage success in college. The program also features stories from students and educators in Madison, Wisconsin.
Presenters: Jameela Conway-Turner, Researcher, REL Midwest; Kyle Fagan, Researcher, REL Midwest
Motivational Interviewing: How to Spark, Support, and Sustain Change
Motivational Interviewing is a communication style for helping individuals who are struggling to make and sustain positive life changes. In this presentation, Foster Progress outlines the key principles of Motivational Interviewing in a mentoring relationship in order to provide practitioners with concrete strategies to support high school and college-aged youth in foster care to making lasting changes.
Presenters: Kate Danielson, Executive Director, Foster Progress; Jasamine Young-Paulhill, Program Manager, Foster Progress
Understanding Equity in Practice
An understanding of equity at the individual and institutional levels will be critical to advancing the state’s Goal 2025. Moving beyond this, practitioners must know how to put equity in practice to advance systemic change. With support from ICCB, the Office of Community College Research and Leadership has developed numerous resources to advance equity-driven change. This session will provide opportunities to understand equity and apply it to practice toward closing outcomes gaps.
Presenters: Marci Rockey, Project Coordinator, OCCRL; Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, Director and Professor, OCCRL; Colvin Georges, Jr., Research Associate, OCCRL
COLLEGIATE (COLLEGe Information And ouTrEach) Community Initiative
Learn about a suite of three initiatives building college-going knowledge in the community. Parents Educating Parents Program (PEP) delivers important academic success information to parents in an interactive workshop format. W2C college intern program develops informative resources. Last summer the team created and rolled out a free texting service, offering all Waukegan parents access to key academic success information. W2C Ambassadors build a college-going culture in elementary schools through workshops and a college fair.
Presenters: Laura Rios, Program Director, Waukegan to College; Daisy Hernandez, Program Associate, Waukegan to College
MISS-Education of Women in STEM
Throughout history innovative women have imagined, developed, tested, and perfected their creations, and yet most of us would be hard pressed to name even a single woman inventor. In fact, women inventors are behind many of the products and technologies used every day! Learn how IMSA’s “Girls IN2 STEM” program uses its peer-to-peer mentoring movement to educate, empower and inspire our next generation of STEM Champions.
Presenter: Betty Hart, Innovation Program Manager, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Breaking Down Illinois’ Affordability Barriers to College Access and Completion Through State Policy
Grounded in the findings and takeaways from the Partnership for College Completion’s recent study, Priced Out: On Illinois’ Disinvestment in Higher Education & What Can Be Done About It, this session will outline the effect of 17 years of disinvestment on Illinois’ students of color and rural students. It will then connect current problems to the equity-focused policy solutions needed to start reversing these trends.
Presenter: Mike Abrahamson, Policy Analyst, Partnership for College Completion
Transfer College Connections
How can community colleges and high school counselors better support transfer-bound students? This presentation focuses on how high school counselors and admissions representatives collaborate to help students learn more about the transition from local community college to Illinois state universities. Come learn how you can improve or promote transferability starting at the high school level.
Presenters: Aseret Loveland, Asst. Director for Admissions, Records, & Transfer Services, Illinois Valley Community College; Lauren Yates, High School Counselor, Ottawa Township High School; Morgan Johnson, Transfer Counselor, Illinois State University
2020 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee
- Illinois Student Assistance Commission
- Illinois Board of Higher Education
- Illinois Community College Board
- Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
- Illinois State Board of Education
- Illinois College Access Network
- Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
- Advance Illinois
- Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University
- Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
- Generations Serving Generations
- ACT Now
- Women Employed
The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.
Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion
of adults in Illinois with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025