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Chicago Public Schools Announces 97.5 Percent of Seniors Submitted Concrete Post-secondary Plan as Part of Learn.Plan.Succeed.

10 September 2020

Overwhelming Majority of Seniors Submitted Concrete Post-secondary Plans Amid Unprecedented Global Pandemic with Only 66 Students Submitting Waivers for Extenuating Circumstances

CPS Office of Communications

Phone: 773-553-1620
Twitter: @chipubschools
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CHICAGO - Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced that 97.5 percent of CPS seniors at district high schools submitted a concrete post-secondary plan as part of Learn.Plan.Succeed. (LPS), the district’s groundbreaking initiative to ensure CPS students develop plans for life after graduation with the support of dedicated staff. Launched in 2017, the Class of 2020 is the first group of students who were required to submit a post-secondary plan in 12th grade as part of a graduation requirement. 

“Learn.Plan.Succeed. has always been part of a larger post-secondary strategy to ensure every student has the supportive, meaningful conversations they need to develop thoughtful plans for life after high school,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “This success is the result of years of planning and laying the groundwork to ensure students graduate with plans for life after high school. While so many young people have faced unprecedented challenges, these encouraging results speak to the hard work of our dedicated counselors and the incredible systems of support they have put in place.” 

LPS is an initiative centered on equity designed to ensure all students have meaningful conversations with school staff to discuss their future and develop a concrete post-secondary plan for life after high school. As part of the requirements of LPS, students must submit proof of a post-secondary plan for one of the following pathways:

  • College acceptance letter;

  • Military acceptance/enlistment letter;

  • Acceptance at a job program (e.g. coding bootcamp);

  • Acceptance into a trades pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship;

  • Acceptance into a “gap-year” program; 

  • Current job/job offer letter; or  

  • Other - which is a new category introduced in response to feedback from schools designed to capture other diverse pathways such as entrepreneurship, industry certification completion, continued education at a specialty school, or continuation of high school.

Data Overview: Overwhelming Majority of CPS 12th Graders Submitted Concrete Post-secondary Plans

In its inaugural year as a district graduation requirement, 97.5 percent of seniors at district-managed high schools submitted a concrete post-secondary plan, 0.4 percent of students were granted a waiver, and 2.1 percent of students did not submit a plan or a waiver. Detailed information about the methodology can be found here.  

  Percent Number 

District 12th Graders who Submitted a Concrete Plan

97.5 16,053
District 12th Graders who Received a Waiver for Extenuating Circumstances 0.4 66
District 12th Graders Who Did Not Submit a Plan or a Waiver by June 18*  2.1 352

*Students were not denied diplomas solely because they did not submit a plan by the LPS deadline. Students are included in this category for a variety of reasons, including meeting all graduation requirements following the LPS deadline, entering high school prior to the establishment of the LPS requirement, transferring to a non-district school during their senior year, or failing to graduate because they have not yet completed a variety of outstanding graduation requirements. This category includes 224 graduates and 128 non-graduates. 

Since its introduction, the intent of LPS has been to ensure that students have the support of school staff they need to plan for life after graduation. LPS did not serve as a barrier to graduation, and the recent record-high four- and five-year graduation rates show that student progress has continued through the implementation of this initiative.  

All four of the district’s largest racial groups (Latinx, African American, Asian, and white) submitted concrete plans above 97 percent. Additionally, the following 19 diverse schools had 100 percent of their seniors submit concrete post-secondary plans: Dunbar, Richards, Harper, Hirsch, Kelvyn Park, Manley, Chicago Military Academy, Douglass, Phoenix Military Academy, Spry, Williams, Bronzeville, Social Justice, World Language, DeVry, Austin CCA, South Shore International, Simpson, and Dyett.  

This data only includes students who were annualized 12th graders at district-run schools as charter schools do not need to follow the graduation requirements set by the district. Some charter schools did choose to implement LPS as a graduation requirement; school-by-school completion data for district and charter schools can be found at (under the “metrics” section). 

An Unprecedented Look at Students’ Plans After High School

In addition to supporting students with post-secondary planning, Learn.Plan.Succeed. provides the district with new insights about students’ post-secondary pathways beyond college. While more than 82 percent of students who submitted plans gave concrete evidence of two or four year college acceptance, a significant portion of students chose other diverse post-secondary pathways, including: 


Percentage of Seniors Who Submitted Plans

Four Year College

52.3 percent

Two Year College

30.5 percent


5.4 percent


1.6 percent 

Job Training Program

0.7 percent 


0.4 percent 

Gap Year

0.1 percent 

Other - Entrepreneurship, Industry Certification Completion, Specialty High School or Transition Learning Center, Continue High School 

5 percent

Supports and Investments: For several years, the district has been laying the groundwork for post-secondary success by making significant investments in training and processes to ensure as many students as possible graduated high school with a concrete post-secondary plan for their future. The following initiatives played a significant role in promoting post-secondary success among CPS students: 

  • Chicago College and Career Advising Credential (CCCAC): More than 276 high school counselors have earned the Chicago College and Career Advising Credential (CCCAC), with 54 counselors currently enrolled. CCCAC is a comprehensive, multi-day training tailored to help counselors support the unique needs of students throughout the city as they navigate their post-secondary options. 

  • LPS Progress Report: In 2019, the district began producing individualized reports that provide students and families with a comprehensive report on post-secondary readiness and future pathways. Customized to each student, the LPS Progress Report tracks students’ course requirements, key college readiness benchmarks, potential college and career options, and proposes concrete steps to ensure each student is making progress toward the path of their choice.

  • Network Specialists: CPS hired additional college and career specialists so that every High School Network has three dedicated specialists to help schools implement the LPS initiative. 

  • Summer Melt Efforts: CPS Summer Transition Coordinators were able to engage more than 11,000 Class of 2020 graduates in summer support to help ensure they received the support needed to follow through on  their selected pathway. 

  • Post-Secondary Navigators: Seven City Colleges of Chicago Navigators work with students at 19 high schools throughout the school year to develop their post-secondary plans.  This summer, as an effort to mitigate summer melt, the Navigators helped more than 1,300 CPS students from across the district who had applied to City Colleges through the enrollment process.

Chicago Public Schools serves 355,000 students in 638 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.