Now Open: Request for Applications for Minnesota ICAN Project

The Minnesota Increasing College Access Network (ICAN) project seeks to improve educational outcomes for high school students of color and students experiencing poverty by blending dual enrollment courses with social-emotional learning to improve online instruction, increase student perseverance, and improve course completion.

Increasing Access to College Courses

The ICAN project, led by Jobs for the Future (JFF) in partnership with the Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW),The Learning Accelerator (TLA), and the American Institutes for Research (AIR) seeks to improve educational outcomes for students experiencing poverty and students of color by implementing high-quality online dual enrollment courses that integrate social-emotional learning (SEL).

Dual enrollment is a proven strategy for increasing college and career readiness and improving educational outcomes in both high school and college. Online dual enrollment courses greatly expand access to this evidence-based intervention, while integrating SEL into these courses positions students for success in online course-taking.

These innovative courses—known as ICAN courses—are the first of their kind.

JFF, GTCUW, and TLA will provide a cohort of postsecondary institutions and their school district/high school partners with funding as well as the training and technical assistance necessary to implement ICAN courses effectively and successfully over a three-year period. AIR, the third-party evaluator for this project, will assess the implementation and effectiveness of the ICAN model.

Local Opportunity, National Impact

The ICAN project is funded under a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Education Innovation and Research (EIR) Program. JFF, GTCUW, TLA, and AIR were awarded this grant in 2021 and are collaborating to develop the resources, guidance, and support for the launch of ICAN courses in the fall of 2023.

The postsecondary institution partners for the ICAN project must meet the following criteria:

  • Have existing online dual enrollment math and English courses at the start of the 2023-24 academic year and plans to continue offering these courses through at the 2025-26 academic year. These dual enrollment courses need to be reflected in a formal memorandum of understanding with partner school districts/high schools to ensure that students receive both high school and college credit for completion.
  • Offer and enroll high school students in two comparable sections of online dual enrollment math and English courses—one course section that has been transformed into an ICAN course and one section that has not, allowing AIR to measure the impact of the ICAN model. The same instructor must teach both sections of either the math or English course.
  • Have instructors that are, for the duration of the project, willing to: 1) commit to ICAN trainings, 2) incorporate SEL components into the design and teaching methods for the ICAN courses, 3) utilize associated resources provided by JFF, TLA, and GTCUW 4) participate in communities of practice, 5) be available for site visits and tailored technical assistance (in-person or virtual), and 6) provide feedback to JFF, TLA, GTCUW, and AIR.
  • Work with school districts/high schools in offering the ICAN opportunity to all students while prioritizing students of color and students experiencing poverty.

This is a unique opportunity for Minnesota’s postsecondary institutions to not only act locally in an intentional and coordinated way for the benefit of their students and communities but also contribute to a national understanding of effective online education.

The resources developed for the ICAN project, as well as the lessons learned over the years of implementation, will be codified and made available to participating postsecondary institutions, school districts, high schools, and other education systems across the state, and to schools nationwide as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s ongoing EIR efforts.

Partnership and Support

In addition to funding, colleges will join each other and their partner school districts/high schools in a community of practice, regularly participating in trainings and sharing effective practices. JFF, GTCUW, and TLA will provide written guidance, ongoing support, and tailored technical assistance for the duration of the implementation and beyond.

The project aims to reach 850 high school students, with an emphasis on students of color and students experiencing poverty. As suggested above, postsecondary institutions are expected to provide the faculty, instruction, and online platform necessary to realize this opportunity.

School districts/high schools will be expected to support the project in the following ways: orienting their respective communities (students, their families, and key educators) to the ICAN opportunity; identifying, recruiting, and enrolling students; and providing access to the technology (such as computers, printers, and internet) that will allow all students to participate.

We envision the ICAN project as a value-add to colleges and their partner school districts/high schools. Specifically, this should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen an existing or planned program—online dual enrollment—and expand it so that Minnesota’s students have greater access to the state’s high-quality postsecondary education. The ICAN partners are excited to share this opportunity with colleges and their school district/high school partners and look forward to collaborating with and supporting them in the years to come.

The ICAN Project by the Numbers

In addition to funding, colleges will join each other and their partner school districts/high schools in a community of practice, regularly participating in trainings and sharing effective practices. JFF, GTCUW, and TLA will provide written guidance, ongoing support, and tailored technical assistance for the duration of the implementation and beyond.

The project aims to reach 850 high school students, with an emphasis on students of color and students experiencing poverty. As suggested above, postsecondary institutions are expected to provide the faculty, instruction, and online platform necessary to realize this opportunity.

School districts/high schools will be expected to support the project in the following ways: orienting their respective communities (students, their families, and key educators) to the ICAN opportunity; identifying, recruiting, and enrolling students; and providing access to the technology (such as computers, printers, and internet) that will allow all students to participate.

We envision the ICAN project as a value-add to colleges and their partner school districts/high schools. Specifically, this should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen an existing or planned program—online dual enrollment—and expand it so that Minnesota’s students have greater access to the state’s high-quality postsecondary education. The ICAN partners are excited to share this opportunity with colleges and their school district/high school partners and look forward to collaborating with and supporting them in the years to come.

Calendar

ICAN courses will be implemented in the school years 2023-24 through 2025-26.

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Through their affiliations with postsecondary institutions, at least10 colleges and their district and high school partners will participate in the ICAN project.

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Postsecondary institutions will receive $70,000, including an initial award of $10,000 for upfront administrative costs and one-time instructor stipends. In the implementing and continuing-instruction phases, high school partners will receive per-pupil funding in the amounts of $600 and $300, respectively, to offset any costs of enrolling students through the ICAN opportunity.

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850 students, with a particular focus on students of color and those experiencing poverty, will have increased access to high-quality college English and mathematics online courses and an opportunity to earn high school and college credit.

Request for Applications

The application deadline is October 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. (Central Time). Submit your application here.

Contact

Please email Anna O’Connor, a JFF director, at aoconnor@jff.org with questions related to the RFA and the application process.

This opportunity is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program.