Accelerate ED

Last Updated: 05/17/2024

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Accelerate ED focuses on building stronger, smoother, and accelerated pathways between K-12 education, postsecondary education, and careers. The initiative is coordinated by the Education Strategy Group (ESG) and supported by the Gates Foundation. The initiative includes several efforts to build and scale opportunities for students:

  • Regional accelerator (Accelerate ED community)
  • National digitally enabled model
  • Targeted local efforts in specific states and communities.

All these levels of work are driven by four guiding principles:

  • Principle 1:  Enable young people to attain an associate degree through an additional year of formal education—year 13—leading directly to good jobs and/or further education towards a bachelor’s degree.
  • Principle 2:  Programs designed around an intentional, integrated curricular experience and integrated student supports.
  • Principle 3: Delivery model designed to minimize transitions for students and ensure opportunities are available and equitably accessible for all students across the region and/or state.
  • Principle 4: Funding and cost model designed to ultimately be sustainable via public funding and affordable for students.

From March to December 2022, 12 teams from across the country – made up of leaders from across intermediary organizations, K-12, higher education, the workforce, and student-serving organizations – formed the Accelerate ED regional accelerator. Over the course of the nine-month design sprint, each team created a blueprint for expanding access to accelerated pathways to credentials for high school students, particularly students of color and students experiencing poverty.

Lessons learned from the regional accelerator – as well as other leading states and communities – are detailed in a report (March 2023) on strategies for successfully scaling accelerated pathway programs. Lessons include:

  • Developing equity-driven programs with intentionally sequenced coursework
  • Work-based learning opportunities
  • Targeted advising and student supports
  • Identifying key enabling conditions around policy, funding, and data that are necessary for scaling these programs
  • Building the capacity of intermediary organizations and partner organizations to foster alignment across systems.

At the regional level, each Accelerate ED design team received a $175,000 grant to expand existing programs and learn from one another throughout the initiative.


Lessons Learned from Communities Accelerating Pathways to Credentials (March 2023)

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