2018 Award for Excellence in Educational Access

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Standing Together in a Changing Landscape:
A Call to Action

New Orleans – April 11-13, 2018

Award for Excellence in Educational Access

The National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) and Jack Kent Cooke Foundation are pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 Award for Excellence in Educational Access. For the third year in a row, NPEA Member Jack Kent Cooke Foundation generously sponsored the Award for Excellence in Educational Access. Congratulations to this year’s winner: Chicago Scholars!

2018 Award Winner


Derrick Fleming, Jr., Director of College Access for Chicago Scholars, accepted the award on behalf of the organization at the 2018 NPEA Annual Conference in New Orleans on April 12, 2018. View the formal press release for additional details.

About Chicago Scholars

Chicago Scholars supports cohorts of 600 students through a seven-year, multi-tiered program that focuses on college access, college persistence, and career success, reaching students in each of the city’s 74 neighborhoods. The program’s hope is to build the next generation of diverse leaders that will change the leadership landscape of its vibrant city and revitalize its communities. As part of its strategic plan, the organization is increasing its annual class size by 30% from 2016 to 2019 and will serve 4,000 students annually by 2019.

Among Chicago Scholars’ impressive statistics, some 94% of its scholars matriculate to college and 86% graduate college within six years, compared to 44% and 48% of peers in the city’s public schools, respectively. 88% of these students are eligible for free and reduced price lunch and another 81% are first generation college-bound.

One unique aspect of Chicago Scholars’ program model is the organization’s annual Onsite Admissions Forum, which offers early admission decisions to more than 170 college/university partners before any other students in the country and prior to admission decision deadlines. Even more impressive, beyond reaching its own students with this incredible opportunity, Chicago Scholars invites 500 students outside of their programming to participate and benefit from the onsite college admissions interviews and decisions.

2018 Award Nominees

We were pleased to receive several strong nominations for this year’s award:

The Award recognizes an NPEA Member Organization, Program or School who has made a notable difference in the lives of underserved students and has demonstrated:

  1. Effective practices in supporting underserved students with high-quality educational opportunities along the K-16 continuum;
  2. Commitment to using data to inform and improve programming as well as organizational/school practices more broadly;
  3. Support for students’ personal growth and success as critical thinkers, ethical leaders, and supportive community members;
  4. Commitment to sustainability, including evidence of systems that support long-term success and/or potential growth;
  5. Leadership in the community and commitment to the field of educational access; and
  6. Creative problem-solving, innovation, adaptability, and productive growth in meeting the needs of their constituents.

Previous Winners

To read about the winner of the 2017 Award for Excellence in Educational Access, “I Have a Dream” – Des Moines, please click here.

To read about the winner of the 2016 Award for Excellence in Educational Access, LINK Unlimited Scholars, please click here.

To read about the winner of the 2015 Award for Excellence in Collaboration, The Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou School, please click here.

Past winners also include Buffalo Prep (2014), Aim High (2013), The Partners Program at The College Preparatory School (2012), and Middle Grades Partnership (2011).