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Pathways Initiatives

About the 21st Century Pathways Program


The 21st Century Pathways for Success program works with middle school youth to promote critical thinking, academic mindsets, and engaging STEM and Visual Arts activities as well as continual and targeted tutoring in math and literacy. The goal of the program is to help students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science and to encourage them to continue their engagement in high school and college. Our preparation helps students pursue careers in math and science professions.


The Pathways Program is based at the Center for College Access and Success of Northeastern Illinois University. The program serves seventy-five eligible students from each of two Berwyn middle schools. All program services are offered at no cost to eligible participants.


The 21st Century Pathways for Success program is funded by a grant from the U.S Department of Education.

Have questions? Contact us to request program information.

Contact Us

The 21st Century Pathways Program provides services free of charge to elementary and middle school/jr. high students residing in the Town of Cicero and City of Berwyn.

21st CCLC Pathways Program Overview

The Northeastern Illinois University Center for College Access and Success offers out-of-school-time programming for 500 elementary school students grades 4th through 6th, 100 jr. high school students and 150 middle school students through a grant from ISBE for a 21st Century Communities Learning Centers Program.


We provide 12 hours of academic enrichment programming each week for 28 weeks beginning in October of each year of the five years of the project funding; maintaining an attendance rate such that 90% of the targeted students attend 30 or more days; and reporting to ISBE grades and test scores for the targeted students as well as the results of teacher surveys regarding these students.


Our charge is to work together with administrators and teachers to provide programming that engages students and their families.


We are offering exciting programming strands for this cycle which are connected to the core academic curriculum and prepare students for careers and postsecondary education.



STEM: Making Culture and Modern Technologies

The 21st CCLC program will provide participating students with STEM activities to support the growth and development in the attainment of STEM content knowledge, critical thinking, problem-solving, experiential learning and career exploration.  Specifically, students will be part of a competitive robotics team that participates in NEIU robotics competitions as well as VEX robotics competitions.  They will be part of academic enrichment afterschool activities that explore STEM through project-based learning.  Students will also participate in symposiums to which their families and communities will be invited in order to connect them to STEM learning. Finally, students will participate in digital badging systems that will connect them to other STEM students in Chicago and will provide documentation of the skills they learn to support college and career applications.



The Visual Culture and Contemporary Arts

The arts play a powerful role in many peoples' lives. Whether it is through the making of art in a classroom studio or viewing of popular culture at home outside of school, the arts impact our lives daily. Students will become more aware of how popular culture is made and consumed within out-of-school-time activities especially the media they access daily. Students will visit local and contemporary art galleries and museums to consider how artists are making work now. Students will learn specific art making skills, including graphic design and game design, and become more critical and aware of how they consume and participate in visual culture. Students will develop critical and creative thinking in addition to visual literacy skills while making and looking at art. 



We will also offer two additional required components:



Academic Tutoring

Students will also receive tutoring in math and English language arts to support their understanding and knowledge of core academic content. This support will contribute to the academic growth of participants as well as support the partner school by providing additional academic support services. 



Family Engagement

The participants’ families will be offered activities to support their own and their children’s education attainment in the community. These family services can be connected to the students' learning goals. Depending on the school community’s needs, family programming can consist of weekly or bimonthly gatherings during the school day or before/after school. Activities can include financial literacy, supporting their children readiness for pre-college and college, human and health resources, job and career preparations and educational resources for obtaining postsecondary certificates/degrees. In addition, families will engage in student-led symposiums to connect families to the activities that are offered by the program as well as showcasing the personal development of each program participant. 


Of course, we are happy to talk with you about the specific needs of students and families and will tailor the specific STEM, Arts, Tutoring, and Family activities accordingly.

21st CCLC Pathways Program Documents

This document will help parents and families learn and navigate the procedures/approaches of the 21st CCLC Pathways program services and events.

This document will help parents and families learn and navigate the procedures/approaches of the 21st CCLC Pathways program services and events.

This document will help parents and families learn and navigate the procedures/approaches of the 21st CCLC Pathways program services and events.

This document will help students learn about the expectation of participation to be part of the 21st CCLC Pathways program.


This document will help any stakeholder understand the procedures and protocols mandated by ISBE for the 21st CCLC Pathways program. 

This document is the program application for the 21st CCLC Elementary program for Cicero East, Columbus East, Goodwin, Warren Park and Wilson in Cicero D99. 

This document is the program application for the 21st CCLC program for Unity Jr High School in Cicero D99. 


This document is the program application for the 21st CCLC Middle School program for Freedom and Heritage in South Berwyn D100.

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