FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Board of Education announces grants to regional agencies to provide services to schools in academic difficulty
The Illinois State Board of Education today announced grant awards totaling about $6.9 million to ten regional agencies to help provide services to schools in academic difficulty, particularly those on the states academic early warning and watch lists.
The grants were made under ISBEs System of Support, which has responsibility for providing technical assistance to schools identified for school improvement based on state test data and as required under the No Child Left Behind Act as well state law.
No Child Left Behind has required us to re-think how best to help the schools in academic difficulty, said Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education. We have developed a new model that will deliver these important services in the most cost-effective way possible, through local providers instead of a centralized state government approach.
Historically, the System of Support has provided technical assistance directly through ISBE staff members and a support program called Educators-in-Residence. However, with the growing number of schools in need of technical assistance and in order to meet the demands of state and federal laws, the enhanced and regionalized approach was developed to assist schools in helping all students master the challenging content of the Illinois Learning Standards.
A request for proposals (RFP) was released in late July, inviting qualified providers to compete for funds to assist schools in their school improvement efforts. Those competing for the funds were required to demonstrate in their proposals that they were capable of providing services to schools in four broad categories:
Grantees, under the supervision of the ISBE System of Support, will work with schools and provide a wide range of tools to create comprehensive school improvement plans with measurable and documentable results, model research-based and school-appropriate teaching practices, and show how schools can become full-service agencies to meet of the needs of increasingly diverse student populations, as well as providing teachers and administrators with enhanced knowledge and skills.
There will be particular emphasis on increasing the number of teachers in Illinois who meet the NCLB highly-qualified definitions and the number that are National Board certified; for administrators, there will be increased focus on the kinds of observational and support practices that research shows lead to increases in student achievement.
The total of the grant awards is approximately $6.9 million and includes both state and federal funds. The awardees are:
Iroquois-Kankakee Regional Office of Education
South Cook Intermediate Service Center
Boone/Winnebago Regional Office of Education 4
Egyptian Regional Office of Education 2
North Cook Intermediate Service Center
Peoria Regional Office of Education 48
St. Clair Regional Office of Education
West Cook Intermediate Service Center
Will County Regional Office of Education
In addition, a separate, but related award will be made to the Illinois Association of School Boards.
Illinois State Board of Education