A college education is increasingly becoming the norm of educational attainment — and yet the vast majority of urban public schools in the United States still fail to provide students with the academic preparation and social support necessary for high school and college success. Given the level of knowledge and skills needed to participate fully in our economy and democracy, it is a national imperative to ensure that all students are college ready and college successful.
6to16 consists of a college-readiness curriculum, a set of online learning experiences, and a web-based social network that give students the beliefs, knowledge, skills, and support to successfully complete high school and college. 6to16 begins in the sixth grade and provides students the support to continue through middle school, high school, and the four years of college (16th grade).
Students utilize each other's strengths to improve and educate themselves. 6to16 activities—such as mock interview sessions where students ask each other about their goals and strengths—help students develop the professional and interpersonal skills they need to be successful in high school and in college. 6to16 teachers stress fit, match, and affordability as target college goals for students.
The University of Chicago Urban Education Institute (UEI) developed 6to16 with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 6to16 was piloted with over 400 students in four Chicago public schools in 2009 and served over 1,300 students during the 2009—10 school year. Through partnerships with KIPP, the Woodlawn Children's Promise Zone, and the University of Chicago Charter School campuses, 6to16 will serve over 3,000 students in the 2010—11 school year. The program has helped the UChicago Charter Woodlawn Campus achieve 100% college acceptances two years in a row.