This paper describes the Network for College Success (NCS) model and organizes chapters around its four key elements: 1) creating professional learning networks; 2) applying research-based data to practice; 3) coaching and capacity building; and 4) distributing leadership and building high-functioning teams.

This paper captures the model and history of the Network for College Success (NCS), and situates NCS’s work within current research. It uses Freshman On Track as an example of how NCS’s model builds school-level capacity for improvement.

Located in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, NCS bases its model on the belief that educators want to improve their outcomes, and need the tools, skills, and strategies to effectively implement real changes. To facilitate this, NCS has developed a dynamic model of supporting schools to build the systems, structures, and capacity to engage in a process of ongoing improvement.

The UChicago Consortium has worked closely with NCS since its founding, providing research for practitioners working to improve student outcomes.  NCS grounds its work in the problems faced by schools and school leaders. Consortium researchers’ work with NCS staff and other practitioners helps them to better understand the nature of problems from the ground, and what evidence could help practitioners be more effective in their work with students.