Pathways to Adult Success (PAS) is a collaborative effort of over 100 K-12 educational systems, non-profits, and institutions of higher education who are both conducting cutting-edge work and seek to learn from each other on a central questions of our times—how do we provide all our students a pathway to adult success which provide formative educational and social experiences in middle and high school, building their agency, academic know-how, and well-being,  while enabling them make an informed choice, about which combinations of postsecondary schooling, training, and work experiences will launch them towards a family-supporting wage, career? PAS learning community members firmly believe that essential to this is the provision of supports and guidance along the way, rooted by the development of student agency, belonging, and connectedness.

Over eight years of collaboration, the PAS learning community has worked collectively to develop a shared framework which highlights what is needed for this to occur, and then shared with each other and beyond, examples of how the framework is being enacted in practice.

The PAS initiative is rooted in the long-standing research and community-building mission of the Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS), a unit within the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Education.

Pathways to Adult Success learning community members have and are working to find effective solutions to all of these challenges. Over the past years, they have shared their learning with each other and beyond through PAS annual conferences, solutions forums, design challenges, and community collaboration efforts. In 2024 the PAS website was redesigned to present and share the collective learning of the PAS community.

What the learnings collected and shared on the website show is that it’s being done in K-12 districts, higher education institutions, and the non-profit organizations which support them are learning how to build better pathways to Adult Success. That tells us it can be done. We can collectively meet the challenges of working with and for our children and adolescents to enable them to have the supports, learnings, and experiences they need to thrive in school and as young adults.

We invite you to join our work.

Words from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation:

Over the past decade, we’ve seen schools and systems make tremendous progress using indicators, such as Freshman On-Track and the ABCs (attendance, behavior and course-passing/credit accrual, to foster continuous improvement and increase the number of students earning a high school diploma.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is delighted to support this informal network of practitioners and researchers to take the next steps in building effective indicator and response systems.

In particular, we’re excited about the potential to accelerate the development of new approaches and implementation practices through work together across a new and more formalized national network. And, we hope that this work will enable the field to more quickly learn and develop consensus, leading to more equitable student outcomes and similar increases in students’ post-secondary access, preparation, and success in the coming decade.

Pathways to Adult Success Framework

Student Success Systems These are the next generation, post-pandemic iteration of earlier work on early warning and on-track systems, where many PAS partners played foundational roles.  Student Success Systems combine a focus on supportive relationships between all members of an educational community, with progress monitoring all students on key predictive indicators of success, including both of the ABCs—attendance, behavior, course performance and agency, belonging, and connectedness. Teams of adults then work with students and families to understand what is behind students indicating they need additional supports or more effective learning experiences and how best to respond. One of the key developments PAS members have worked together on and continue to do so, is how student success systems can not only help keep all students on-track to high school graduation but ready for postsecondary success.  Learn More

Postsecondary Navigation Supports The pace of change in the nature of work, has accelerated rapidly in the 21st century. As a result, students and families may not be fully aware of which careers are most likely to flourish in the coming years.  Thus, more than ever middle, high school, and college students need a thoughtful series of career exposures, applications, experiences, preparations and the access to guidance informed by local and national job market information to make informed choices about the type of postsecondary schooling and/or training they will partake.  Learn More

Cross-Sector Collaborations K-12, Higher Education, Workforce collaboration at the local level. Today, high schools are no longer an endpoint of formal education. It is essential the local K-12 systems, the institutions of higher education to which the majority of their students flow, and leading local employers collaborate closely to create strong and supported pathways from K-12 schooling into and through postsecondary schooling into a career with family supporting wages.  Local high school principals, undergraduates Deans, and local employer hiring managers collectively shape the pathways available to a community’s youth, but all too often they are strangers to each other.  To create pathways to adult success for all students local communities need to create seamless transitions from K-12, to higher education, to the workplace.  Learn More

Data and Continuous Improvement. In order to create pathways to adult success, communities need to know where and why students are falling off-track to high school graduation prepared for adult success.  They need to know how many high school graduates have access to strong pathways into and through postsecondary schooling and training. They also need to know how many more types need to be created for those who do not.  In addition, they need to know which and how many students are and are not succeeding in postsecondary schooling and training, and the reasons why for those that are not.  Finally, the need to know how many young adults are successfully making the transition from postsecondary schooling and training to careers with family supporting wages.  Currently this data, if collected at all, is done so by and limited to the institutions at the point in time when they collected.  What is needed is for communities and all the institutions involved K-12, higher education, and workplace is to pool all this information into easily accessible data by all, which tracks cohorts of students as they progress through all of these institutions.  Learn More



Achieve Atlanta
Advance CTE
Alabama State Department of Education
Alliance for Excellent Education
Allied Health Education and Career Pathways of Wisconsin
America’s Promise Alliance
American Institute for Research
Arizona State University
Baldwin County Public Schools
Baltimore City Public Schools
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri
City Year
Community College of Philadelphia
CORE Districts
Degrees of Change
Denver Public Schools
Douglas County School District
Education Northwest
Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

Georgia State University
Gresham Barlow School District
Jefferson County Schools
Jobs for the Future
Long Beach Unified School District
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Metro Nashville Public Schools
National Equity Lab
National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform
National Louis University
New Mexico Public Education Department
New Visions for Public Schools
New York State Education Department
Ohio Department of Education
Oregon Department of Education
Panorama Education
Partners for Education at Berea College

Public Education Foundation Chattanooga
Riverside Unified School District
Sacramento City Unified School District
San Jose Unified School District
Shelby County Public Schools
Southern Regional Education Board
Tacoma College Support Network
The Akribos Group
The Mississippi Department of Education
The Philadelphia Education Fund
UChicago Consortium on School Research
University of Central Florida
University of Memphis/Peer Power Foundation
University of West Georgia
Uplift Education
Volunteers of America Southeast/ Helping Families Initiative
Willamette Education Service District

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