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UChicago Network for College Success

Contact Information


Meghan Baer
969 E. 60th Street
School of Social Service Administration
Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: 7737023094


Adelric McCain
969 E. 60th Street
School of Social Service Administration
Chicago, IL 60637

Phone: 7737023094

General Information

Screenshots / Demo:
Effectiveness Data:
Type of Organization: Institution of Higher Education
Organization is best described as: Non-Profit
Age of Firm / Number of Years in Operation: 13
Level(s) services may be provided: - High School
- District
Provides performance guarantees in contract: NO
Educational Services Provided Assessment
Comprehensive & Effective Planning
Curriculum Alignment
Diagnostic Review
District Culture
Dropout Prevention and Intervention Services
Educator Effectiveness
Organizational Structure and Resources
Professional Development
School and District Improvement
Staff Evaluation
21st Century Skills

Name of Schools/ Districts that this organization has served in Colorado:


Recent References:

Toya Fick
Executive Director
Stand for Children – Oregon
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Emily Pallin
Connecticut RISE Network, Inc.
700 State Street, Suite 301, New Haven, CT 06511

Name of Schools/ Districts that this organization has served in other states:

Megan Hougard
Chicago Public Schools Network 16 Chief
(773) 535-8240

Megan Hougard previously served as the Chief of Network 11, where she worked with students, teachers, and principals from 44 CPS schools. She is now responsible for managing one of the four CPS networks devoted specifically to the needs of Chicago’s high school students.

Megan previously taught at Chicago’s South Shore High School, served as resident principal at Kenwood Academy, and was the assistant principal at Harper High School. She led the development and opening of two CPS high schools – Sarah Goode and Back of the Yards – and was then promoted to deputy chief, and eventually chief, of Network 11.

Megan holds a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of New Orleans and a master’s degree in educational leadership from National Louis University.

Qualifications of this Organization (licensure, trademark, etc.):

Established in 2006, the Network for College Success at the University of Chicago (NCS) has grown at a pace and scale that enables our staff to comprehensively serve District 299, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) district, and schools with substantive and quality professional development services. NCS now has the capacity to provide services to district and schools nationwide. NCS currently collaborates with CPS leaders to transform high schools across the city to improve instruction, increase graduation rates, and support high levels of postsecondary enrollment and success for all students. NCS’s track record of working on the ground in schools, as well as the extensive relationships, experience, and expertise of NCS staff, give the organization a deep and real-time understanding of state and district priorities, structures, complexities, strengths, and needs. This knowledge has developed NCS’s credibility, respect, and trust throughout Chicago and nationally, and distinguishes us as a premier organization in the country to provide quality professional development services and supports to districts, schools, and educators.

Over the past thirteen years, NCS has purposefully expanded our Whole School Improvement Model to tackle new layers of work with districts and schools receiving professional development services. Our strategy balances the push toward necessary change while scaffolding the readiness and resources that enable educators to fully engage in change processes. This has allowed reforms to take hold and yield dramatic results. This deepening of NCS supports, from school-based work to district-level professional development, was systematic and organic, providing just-in-time tools and learning for educators as they deepened their understanding of new priorities and policies, the potential obstacles to implementation, and the skills, resources, and supports necessary to address them.

Qualifications of Instructors/ Staff that Provide Services:

The Network for College Success (NCS) brings the resources of the University of Chicago to bear in addressing the complex challenges of high school leadership. NCS is run by successful high school leaders and researchers whose experience gives them credibility and a toolkit to guide educators through difficult change efforts. Leadership team members each have 15+ years of experience in school innovation and improvement.

Adelric McCain, NCS Director of Equity and Impact
Adelric manages NCS's educational services to school and districts outside of Chicago. He leads NCS's National Freshman Success Institute, a yearly seven-day professional development training, and he currently leads NCS programming to schools and districts in Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, and other states. Prior to NCS, Adelric worked for 12 years as a public high school teacher-leader in Boston and Chicago. He taught Humanities, History, and English to students ranging from 7th to 12th grade. Adelric has served as the Coalition of Essential School’s Small Schools Project Coordinator as well as a Teacher Leadership Team member with Facing History and Ourselves. Adelric is also a certified National Lead Facilitator for the San Francisco Coalition of Essential Small Schools.

Adelric works with LaKisha Pittman, NCS Impact Manager, and Kareem Sayegh, National Student Success Manager, to develop and facilitate education services to districts and schools.


Diagnostic Review: Up to $25,000 per school
Improvement Planning: Up to $25,000 per school

A service plan will be designed based on the diagnostic review

School Improvement Domains:
Instructional Transformation
Talent Development
Culture Shift

Explanation of how we are able to provide differentiated services to meet the individual needs of schools and districts.

Prior to leading professional development or implementing services, the Network for College Success at the University of Chicago (NCS) will work with the district and/or school to determine clear goals and objectives stemming from a needs assessment and identified project scope. NCS has an explicit and intentional focus on educational equity and so all services will incorporate an equity lens to better serve Colorado’s historically underserved students. Professional development service objectives, outcomes, and materials are designed well in advance of the sessions and incorporate topics and needs observed in the field or explicitly articulated by the district or school leaders we serve. Both the content and processes of NCS’s professional development service delivery are aligned with the research-based practices and principles that inform the state and district’s intentional professional development standards.

NCS services are differentiated to meet the individual needs of schools and districts by:

•Incorporating actionable data analysis of trend and/or in-time data;

•Utilizing visual supports that promote learning, increase engagement, and improve the responsiveness of professional development service to participant needs;

•Ensuring participants are engaged and active, discussing, critiquing, and applying what they learn through purposeful and carefully chosen activities;

•Providing opportunities for sustained learning with a plan that builds across sessions and addresses key topics, and contributes to the long-term professional development plans of the state, district, and/or school;

•Accounting for different learning styles of the participants and respecting participants’ prior experience, knowledge, and skills by making professional development service differentiated to their needs, being responsive to their questions and concerns, and offering appropriate leadership roles;

•Surface barriers to student success by closely examining their work and addressing the technical and adaptive challenges of radically shifting teaching and learning in this era of Colorado Core State Standards implementation; and

•Promoting access to and support for the effective use of relevant research and data: student work samples, student performance data reports, rubrics, research, and analysis to identify areas of need and measure progress.

How will we evaluate our services and support to schools and districts and its effectiveness in school/ district/ student achievement?

NCS Coaches and the Directors of Continuous Improvement use internally-developed tools identify each school's progress and areas in need of improvement, and the impact our programs have on participants. The indicators NCS uses to measure program success are validated by research as the key levers for improving supportive conditions in high schools and student outcomes. The tools include: 1) feedback surveys administered to participants after each professional learning to determine quality of implementation, knowledge and practices learned, and the need for post-training support, 2) research-based assessment tools monitoring development of the individual/team/school, and 3) an annual survey to determine the effectiveness of NCS's supports to improve the systems, structures, and leadership skills that enable schools to successfully manage improvement efforts.

The ultimate measure of our success is the success of the young people in schools, although we do not work directly with them. NCS works with schools to capture real-time student data, including: On-Track to Graduation, Grade Point Averages, College Application and Enrollment rates, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion, and attendance. These data are reviewed and discussed during professional learning and/ coaching sessions to set goals and next steps, and to provide additional supports to students when needed. NCS tracks student outcomes that prominent education researchers have identified as critical indicators for student success in high school and college.

Sample of services offered for a school or district:

Under 500 Students:

The Network for College Success approach to professional development service delivery includes a commitment to coherence, alignment, customization, and sustainability. Individualization is a way of being for NCS. The priorities and needs of the District, Network and/or school will determine the scope, length, and frequency of NCS PD services. Therefore, services are not necessarily differentiated by the number of students.

The following delivery options for our educational services offer a variety of methods for implementation that allow for differentiated services and supports for participants.

Targeted Professional Development (PD)
NCS can provide targeted PD that will vary in length and frequency (i.e. five-day workshop, quarterly or monthly sessions, etc.) according to the identified project scope articulated by the District and/or schools. PD sessions may introduce participants to a specified service area or focus on a concentrated learning objective within that service area. For example, NCS PD can provide general support in Common Core State Standards English Language Arts/Literacy to familiarize participants with the standards, or the PD session can engage participants in an in-depth study into text complexity and comprehension. In addition, NCS PD will use original content including specific frameworks and rubrics to guide schools’ efforts to address District priorities.

Leadership Development
NCS will offer PD to District and school leaders, including principals, assistant principals, and other administrators. Depending on the participant, his/her role, and a needs assessment, coaching may address instructional leadership, team leadership, communication, change management, team-building, time management, ethical leadership, talent development, resource management, and political mapping within the context of the specified service area.

Instructional Improvement and Teacher Development
NCS provides customized, research-based professional development services focused on instructional improvement by helping districts and schools develop and sustain effective Instructional Leadership Teams (ILTs). Comprising principals, assistant principals, and teacher leaders, ILTs are charged with leading schools in implementing school-wide targeted instructional areas. ILTs also support teacher collaboration teams to improve classroom instruction by increasing rigor, student engagement, and learning. On the district and school levels, NCS services will help education leaders to develop the technical skills to support school-based ILTs.

On Track to Graduation
NCS is known nationally for developing and implementing professional services and supports on freshman success. NCS helps districts and schools to develop effective practices to increase ninth grade students’ on-track to graduation rates. Freshman OnTrack is important because there is a direct correlation between the number of core courses failed in freshman year and an increased rate of dropping out of high school. NCS professional development services will support district and school leaders to develop Freshman Success Teams with the goal of increasing freshman core course pass rates. Professional development sessions will include strategies for building school teams; identify methods for schools to track students at risk of not graduating, using data to monitor and support student progress, and developing academic and social interventions for struggling students.

Postsecondary Access and Enrollment
NCS can support the district and/or schools to increase students’ access, enrollment, and success in postsecondary education. Our goal is to embed a system in high schools that ensures all students, those traditionally targeted for college and those who might be otherwise overlooked, receive the necessary supports to access the best possible postsecondary options according to their qualifications, interests, and needs.

Job-Embedded Coaching
NCS will offer coaching to individual District, Network and school leaders, including Network Chiefs and principals. Depending on the participant, his/her role, and a needs assessment, coaching may address instructional leadership, team leadership, communication, change management, team-building, time management, ethical leadership, talent development, resource management, and political mapping within the context of the specified service area. NCS utilizes the Blended Coaching model to engage leaders in instructional and facilitative conversations that will help them identify and develop strategies and solutions for the problems they face in practice.

Research Consultation and Technical Assistance
NCS can provide analysis, technical assistance, and job-related implementation of the research and data on education. NCS can assist the District and schools understand and make use of the latest findings and reports. NCS will deliver this support through consultancies, coaching, trainings, conversations, and presentations to address the various learning styles of participants. Regardless of the delivery method, providing this technical support aims to help individuals understand the findings, appreciate the implications, and sequence next steps for integrating the research into practice when and where appropriate.

500-1000 Students:

Please see above.

1000+ Students:

Please see above.

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