Carnegie Foundation to Spotlight Quality Continuous Improvement Work in Education

November 17, 2020

Two enterprises make exceptional progress in disrupting long-time, multigenerational opportunity gaps

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching today announced the two recipients of its 4th annual Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement. The Connecticut RISE Network and the UChicago Network for College Success will be honored in two virtual presentations of their work.

“We are thrilled to honor the exemplary efforts of these two educational enterprises and share with the field practical lessons from their work,” says Anthony Bryk, President of the Carnegie Foundation. “The improvement work of the Connecticut RISE Network and the UChicago Network for College Success has produced demonstrable success in keeping students on track for high school graduation. The first year of high school is a critical transition point for students and a valuable predictor of students’ success in high school, so by focusing their improvement work on 9th grade, these two networks are having a profound impact on their communities by disrupting long-time, multigenerational opportunity gaps.”

The Carnegie Foundation launched the Spotlight program in 2017 to elevate clear and compelling examples of how the rigorous application of improvement principles, methods, and tools can solve challenging educational problems. Selected from a large and diverse group of applicants, the two Spotlight honorees for 2020 were selected as Spotlight honorees for the following reasons:

  • The UChicago Network for College Success (NCS) leveraged continuous improvement methods and principles to dramatically increase the number of 9th-grade students, especially Black and Latinx children and children from low-income families, that were on track to high school graduation. The Chicago schools that NCS partnered with saw their average graduation rate grow from 71% in 2013 to 84% in 2019.
  • The Connecticut RISE Network applied networked improvement approaches in five high schools in four of the state’s largest districts. These efforts generated demonstrable improvement of 9th grade on-track achievement and four-year graduation rates for students of color and those from low-income families. The network of teachers, counselors, school administrators, and central office leaders, which came together to ensure all students experience success, saw the graduation rates of the RISE Network’s schools increase from 78% in 2016 to 87% in 2019, while statewide graduation rates remained constant.

In previous years, the Spotlight honorees were introduced at an event in Washington, DC. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has been modified to two individual web-based events in February. In these presentations, the honorees will share their work and participate in panel discussions. They will also host sessions at the Carnegie Foundation’s 2021 Summit on Improvement in Education scheduled for April 25–28, 2021.

“We received many impressive applications demonstrating a wide range of improvement work underway across the country, in many contexts, and at varying stages of development,” says Penny Carver, senior fellow and director of the Spotlight program. “We are delighted to celebrate the outstanding work of the Network for College Success and the Connecticut Rise Network, which are compelling examples of how the rigorous application of networked improvement approaches can solve even our most challenging educational problems.”


About the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is committed to solving longstanding inequities in educational outcomes. The foundation addresses problems that impact large numbers of students, tests innovations on the ground, understands what works and why in what contexts, and shares what it learns for use by others. In so doing, Carnegie integrates the discipline of improvement science and the use of structured improvement networks to build the education field’s capacity to improve.