ANet is a nonprofitorganization that works alongside school leadership teams to strengthen their school-wide practice andculture of using learning standards and achievement data to get breakthrough results for students inunderserved communities. We do so by providing schools with Common Core-aligned digital resources forliteracy/English language arts and math for grades 2-8, coupled with customized support for educators touse these tools effectively. We have an eleven year track record of working with schools across the country to help all of their students catch up and get ahead academically. ANet’s products help our nearly 700 partner schools build a culture of continuous improvement, where every educator in the building deeplyunderstands the Common Core standards and is regularly using data and student work to adapt and targetinstruction to meet the unique learning needs of each student.
ANet’s Theory of Change is centered around building schools’ capacity to improve instruction and increase student learning:
Over the course of the partnership, ANet coaches engage in a gradual release of support to build a school’s independence with data-driven instruction first by modeling meeting facilitation and then by observing and providing coaching and feedback to leaders on school-based meetings. Similarly to how we build schools’ capacity over time to own the work, ANet also works with LEAs to build their capacity over time so we can scale back our direct support. In order to execute on ANet’s Theory of Change and ensure that the support we provide our school partners is effective and high quality, ANet uses three key metrics to measure our progress toward the goals and objectives we set alongside schools: school practice; school staff engagement; and student achievement. We monitor progress using sophisticated survey, practice tracking and student achievement data tracking tools and analysis. ANet supports various approaches to school improvement, working with schools to create and implement the conditions for teacher, leader, and student success. Numerous school districts have leveraged ANet’s instructional coaching expertise and comprehensive service model to meet the goals of school transformation initiatives through developing effective school leadership teams and building educators’ capacity for improving classroom instruction. These LEAs include AUSL in Chicago Public Schools, Springfield (MA) Public Schools, Denver Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, Syracuse City School District and others. Several states have also tapped ANet to serve as a school improvement or school and LEA turnaround partner, including the Louisiana Department of Education, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Nevada Department of Education (NDE). In Nevada, for example, ANet is approved as an evidence-based Supports for School Improvement partner on the NDE’s School Transformation Leadership Program List as related to the requirements set forth in ESSA as well as SIG and Title I funding requirements.
Founded in 1946, AIR is one of the largest not-for-profit behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations in the world. AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research to improve lives, especially the disadvantaged. AIR is unique among other organizations working in the education arena in its ability to bring the best evidence-based practices to education systems to improve all governance and management, curriculum and instruction, and climate. For the past several years, AIR has operated the Illinois Center for School Improvement, serving more than 80 districts and the schools within them and directly contributing to improved performance. With close to 200 staff in Illinois, AIR has worked with government agencies as well as public and private organizations including state and local government agencies, state and local education agencies, foundations, corporations, courts, and schools, both in the United States and abroad. As a result of placing a high value on content and education system expertise, responsiveness, flexibility, product quality, and timeliness, AIR has earned a national and international reputation for efficiently and effectively conducting work that is dedicated to serving clients’ goals.
The theory of action that will guide the work under IL-EMPOWER is based on six research-based elements for school improvement: leadership that drives change, comprehensive data use and progress monitoring, educator effectiveness, coherent instructional guidance, school climate, and family and community engagement. First and foremost, leadership is the driving force for setting a clear vision and goals and expectations that all students can achieve. Leaders are also responsible for establishing data-based diagnostic systems for implementation, monitoring, and feedback. In addition, a student-centered climate and engaged family and community members play an important role in successfully educating the whole child. Finally, we know that what happens in the classroom and school has a great impact on student achievement. Hence, a focus on educator effectiveness and coherent instructional guidance is paramount for success. The following figure shows the relationship of the IL-EMPOWER drivers of change to AIR’s research-based elements. We use evidence-based approaches in each of these elements to build stronger governance and management systems that are able support a viable and rigorous curriculum and instruction for students in a climate of high expectations with a culture of meeting the needs of all of the adults and children within a school system. We work with leaders, teachers, and the broader school community to support and facilitate change.
Atlantic Research Partners (Atlantic) recognizes that transforming educator quality is imperative to improving teaching and learning in low performing schools and have designed a data-driven approach to the improvement of schools that focuses on increasing student achievement through developing educator effectiveness to transform schools from within. Atlantic builds the capacity of schools by leveraging a team of highly skilled and experienced practitioners to partner with school districts and schools to improve education by offering tactical, researched-based, data driven strategies tailored to the specific needs of each school (customized approach). At the foundation is an understanding that schools must play a pivotal role in creating the right focus, a focus that ensures the success of every child through the creation of purposeful communities.
AUSL’S mission is to create schools of excellence by developing highly effective teachers and transforming educational outcomes for students in what were some of Chicago’s lowest performing schools. AUSL has been dedicated to school improvement since 2001, when it launched the country’s first urban-focused teacher residency program. Over the past sixteen years, AUSL has grown from a single teacher training academy to a network of 31 schools serving nearly 17,000 students in Chicago’s highest-need neighborhoods. In addition, AUSL serves a number of other schools and districts across the country as a strategic advisor and partner through our Advisory Services program.
Our work is defined by a unique set of academic supports, high expectations and rigor, rewarding relationships with the teachers and leaders we support, and a commitment to capacity building and sustainability. All our work is based on creating sustainable improvements in schools. Schools in Illinois who choose to partner with Cambridge Education can expect clear strategic direction, coherent goals, targeted strategies and interventions, and the capacity to implement and monitor progress toward improved equitable student outcomes for years to come. Cambridge Education has the breadth of experience and skills to provide all of the components in a holistic way, or as individual interventions. There is often overlap between the three components, and indeed, our approach to school improvement is to collaboratively develop an integrated program of services that best meets the needs of the individual school, its staff, and its students. However, we understand that individual schools’ needs differ, and so we have proposed solutions for each component independently, but can also deliver an entire program using the individual interventions proposed to create a whole school improvement model.
ECRA Group has a long history and established track record assisting boards of education and educational leaders improve student outcomes by adopting more evidence-based and student centered practices. By focusing on leadership, planning, and analytics, ECRA provides a best practices approach to improving student outcomes via our steadfast focus on accountability for student outcomes measured against a whole-child definition of student success and college readiness. ECRA’s systemic philosophy and analytic sophistication helps LEAs ensure energy and resources are directed toward what truly matters for students. ECRA has a 30-year history supporting school improvement efforts in Illinois. We work collaboratively with Illinois state associations, regional offices of education, and school improvement organizations such as the Center for School Improvement (CSI). Over the past three years, ECRA has supported over 1,000 schools in Illinois on school improvement related activities, impacting 750,000 Illinois students. We value our school partnerships and we look forward to continuing our mission as part of the IL-EMPOWER partner network.
ECRA’s theory of action is rooted in the belief that IF schools have better visibility into the whole-child for every child, THEN schools can more effectively scaffold differentiated and tiered systems of support tailored to the unique needs of students. ECRA uses this theory of action to create a systemic governance and performance management structure that aligns board goals to individual students and is thereby able to help schools develop policies that lead to more effective and equitable programming, and provide a framework for governance and management to implement said polices. ECRA anchors its support services to our theory of action by first helping schools be more deliberate about the outcomes they are trying to impact. We help the district operationalize their vision for students at the individual student level for every child. We then work at various levels of the school system to promote governance and management toward accelerating student growth on the outcomes articulated. ECRA provides facilitation and training to establish the District’s strategic dashboard that the board of education and central office can rely on to govern implementation of objectives as well as progress toward strategic goals. ECRA then cascades the district’s strategic goals and objectives to individual schools, and provides the administration with the professional development and technical assistance to enact implementation plans at the building level. Our focus on greater visibility into the effectiveness and return on investment of programs, policies, and personnel on student outcomes allows schools systems to create governance and management structures that promote evidence-based practices and a system of governance that is more equitable and focused on the whole child. We are excited to continue our mission of ensuring every Illinois student has access to a high quality education and excellent opportunities.
HELP provides culturally responsive counseling, psychological, case management and assessment services to children, youth and adults at schools and social service agencies. HELP bodes a diverse team of clinicians, representing underrepresented groups and cultures. There is one Spanish speaking coach. However, the diversity of HELP extends beyond ethnicity inclusive of age, professional background, and various cultural exposures. HELP clinicians have a wealth of experience training and coaching groups towards the tenants of cultural sensitivity and tolerance. HELP provides strategic support in youth, family, and community outreach and engagement. Clinicians have a plethora of experience in building partnerships among family and within community. Utilizing ISBE’s Family Engagement Framework, HELP provides a working model to support the clarification of a shared vision in the school/family partnership, utilizes the positive behavioral strategies and the tenants of restorative practices to enhance communication and create climates that are inviting and inclusive of all relevant stakeholders. HELP supports a multi-tiered structure to support total learning. This differentiated approach serves to enhance protective factors and target areas of growth. Therefore, models that serve to build and sustain social emotional learning needs (i.e. self-esteem, relationship building, etc.), will be offered as well as those that develop coping skills to process aversive experiences (i.e. trauma, loss, etc.).Examples of Tier I support offered to all include working with cultural and climate team to address systems and structure that support positive behaviors and intervention, and training all staff in restorative philosophy and restorative langue to promote and inclusive culture. Examples of Tier II supports include targeted interventions to those school with high student behavior infractions, poor attendance and disengagement. Evidence-based groups in anger management, life skills and character development or trauma informed interventions, as well as peace circle and restorative conferencing was offered at this level. Tier III support include individualize counseling and assessment for children exhibiting serious emotional disturbances that interfered with learning, as well restorative meetings with administrators, parents and students referred for suspension or expulsion.
Illinois Balanced and Restorative Justice (IBARJ) has a mission to provide leadership, education and support that promotes the principles, practices, implementation and sustainability of Balanced and Restorative Justice. IBARJ has been a leader in providing Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices training across Illinois for over a decade. The philosophy of Restorative Justice is rooted in holistic healing for all community members, especially those affected by a harm. The needs and obligations of all are equally valued when restoring relationships and repairing harm. IBARJ began working with schools in 2010 as Restorative Practices in schools were becoming of interest to districts across the state as both prevention and intervention practices. From the very beginning we worked with districts to implement with fidelity by embedding RP into their multi-tiered systems of support framework (PBIS in most cases), if they existed, while also aligning the practices with other initiatives like SEL, mental health services, trauma informed care and more. Additionally, IBARJ has been providing supports for schools needing to adjust their policies and practices to move toward becoming a restorative school. We developed an implementation model (Appendix A) based on best practices for restorative practices and schools as well as implementation science. This model has been adapted and updated over the years and can adjusted to meet the specific and unique needs of the schools and districts we work with. The implementation model and approach was developed and continues to be modified to fit the needs of Illinois schools with the help of experts in the field and published work like: -The Little Book of Restorative Discipline for Schools -Implementing Restorative Practices in Schools: A practical guide to Transforming School Communities -Minnesota Department of Education’s Restorative Measures toolkit -Advancement Project -Guides and models from Oakland, San Francisco and other places across the US Since 2010, IBARJ has increased our capacity to meet the demands of the increased interest in RP due in part to SB100 by training others as trainers and aligning ourselves with partners and organizations focused on similar work. IBARJ has developed a dozen new trainers across the state both independent consultants and school staff as well as created a full time position dedicated to training and implementation (Kathryn Rayford, Director of Training and Implementation). This is part of our model that leads toward fidelity and sustainability for RP in schools. Partners like Midwest PBIS, Illinois Association of Regional School Superintendents, Prevent School Violence Illinois, Transform School Discipline Collaborative, Universities across the state and many more have helped and supported RP implementation by working directly with districts and IBARJ in a variety of ways including conferences and awareness activities, training and partnering to develop materials.
IBARJ will provide Restorative Practices training, coaching, technical assistance and implementation guidance to schools and districts who are ready and interested in shifting their climate and culture to include RP. Restorative Practices in schools are multi-tiered and multi-faceted practices that are proactive, preventative and intervention approaches that focus on relationship and community. If there is a harm caused, the focus is on the harm, who was affected, how it can be repaired and how can relationships, community and safety be restored. Restorative Practices in schools are for all ages, grades, schools and communities. Restorative Practices work with other initiatives to improve climate and culture in schools and are most affective when implemented with a whole school approach and mindset shift for staff and students. Restorative Practices can address many of the issues schools, students and families are facing like bullying, effects of trauma, discipline disparities for minority students and more. In this proposal we will demonstrate how IBARJ can support many LEAs/schools in implementation of Restorative Practices to improve their climate and culture which also leads to improved educational outcomes including improved instructional time, reduced discipline issues, improved staff and student satisfaction and much more.
IASB’s objective is to provide in-district workshops to boards of education related to their role in clarifying district purpose, connecting with their community, working with their superintendent, delegating authority to staff, monitoring performance of the organization, and taking responsibility as a governing body. The intended participants of these sessions are members of the full board of education along with their superintendent. Other central office staff may be invited based on the content and intended discussion.
The IPA was established in 1971 when the elementary, middle level and high school principal associations were combined to make one umbrella organization for all building level leaders in the state. The IPA makes up the largest professional learning network of school leaders in Illinois currently serving over 5300 principals, assistant principals, deans, assistant superintendents, special education directors, principal preparation faculty, and aspiring leaders. The Association’s mission is to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders. Providing high-quality professional development, community building, and advocacy make up the core services IPA provides to its members. The Association employs 27 staff members who include 19 executive staff and 8 support staff. Of the 27staff members, 8 are former building level principals representing all grade levels, 1 full-time attorney, 1 full-time lobbyist,1 deputy director in charge of professional development, 1 director in charge of online professional development, 1 online content specialist, 1 media production specialist, and 2 data support specialists. Six of the eight former building level principals are field staff located throughout the state and are able to effectively and efficiently serve new principals and other school leaders with mentoring, coaching, and on-site support.
The IPA, being one of the largest providers of professional development for educators in Illinois, offers an extensive and comprehensive program of over 125 online (synchronous) and face-to-face Administrator Academies, 2 professional conferences and an array of additional online (synchronous and asynchronous) learning opportunities including the Ed Leaders Network (www.edleadersnetwork.org). During the last year, the IPA trained over 50,000 educators as a part of its professional development program. Specifically, professional development opportunities comprised of a fall professional conference and exhibition, an education leaders summer conference, workshops focusing on new administrators including relevant topics of instructional leadership and management, and mentoring. Coaching and a wide scope of professional development were also provided for experienced administrators including those in Priority and Focus schools. Online support consisted of a website with a vast array of resources, webinars, podcasts, and blogs. Evaluations and assessments were conducted regularly to identify needs as well as to gather evidence to monitor impact of leadership development on school improvement, teaching and learning, and educational practice. Recognizing the cost and time implications for educators to leave school, the IPA was the first organization in Illinois to provide Administrator Academies online. During the 2015-2016school year alone, the IPA offered 77 online Academies training over 2700 individuals. This technology assisted practice has been continually enhanced to include higher levels of live interaction with and among educators at all levels throughout Illinois as well as collaborative interactions of Illinois educators with educators in other states and with organizations across the country.
In the past three years, the IL MTSS-N has provided professional learning, TA, and/or coaching to over 500 LEAs and organizations, including more than 451 Illinois LEAs across all six ROE service areas(see appendix . The IL MTSS-N has had the longevity and experience to really understand Illinois schools, and how to engage with Illinois LEAs/school in professional learning, TA, and coaching services that are highly effective, efficient and reverent. The IL MTSS-N staff has exceptional experience serving Illinois LEAs/schools though professional learning, TA, and coaching to achieve sustainable improved outcomes for the whole child. The highly dedicated staff is highly effective in providing high quality professional learning, TA, and coaching, resulting in improved and sustained school implementation of evidence based practices and whole child outcomes. The staff is highly skilled in providing professional learning as demonstrated on national measures of high quality professional development indicators, with all staff delivering high professional learning at 97%fidelity in the past year (criterion of 80% of sessions with 80% fidelity). IL MTSS-N demonstrate equally impressive performance on high quality coaching measures, with a statewide average of 98%fidelity (criterion of 80% of sessions with 80% fidelity). The high quality professional learning and coaching has resulted in sustained improvement in LEA’s implementation of evidence-based innovations and practices. On average, across all 83 supported LEAs, fidelity of LEA leaders’ and staff members’ implementation of evidence-based indicators increased from 47% to 81% across five years. Whole child, content area outcomes also improved and sustained across the five years with reading improving 46% percent, math improving 44 percent, and behavior improving 39 percent.
Founded in 2000, New Leaders envisions a day when there is excellence and equity in the American education system—when our schools prepare all children, particularly students of color and those living in poverty, for success in college, careers, and citizenship. We have grounded our approach in a simple belief: every classroom must be led by an effective teacher, and every school must be led by a great leader who is surrounded by a high-performing leadership team. For over 17 years, New Leaders has selected, developed, and supported school leaders to transform underperforming schools and improve student outcomes in our nation’s highest-need communities. Most importantly, New Leaders get results for the students they serve. New Leaders engaged in a partnership with the RAND Corporation, which conducted an independent, comprehensive, six-year study to determine the true impact of our programs. They found that students attending schools run by New Leaders-trained individuals attained higher student achievement results than their peers specifically because they have a New Leader Principal—and the results are statistically significant, the gold standard in research.1We have successfully expanded our impact both in scale and geography. We develop leaders at all levels of the leadership pipeline: teacher leaders, assistant principals, aspiring principals, seated principals and their instructional teams, and principal supervisors. To date, we have over 3,200 leaders who now impact nearly 500,000 students in 23 districts and charter management organizations nationwide. The Need for New Leaders In the United States, only half of African-American and Hispanic students graduate high school, and of those that do graduate, less than 20 percent are seen as college-ready. These outcomes have far-reaching societal consequences. High school dropouts are three times as likely as college graduates to be unemployed, twice as likely to slip into poverty, and more than eight times as likely to become incarcerated. Illinois has made great strides toward improving the performance of its students --86 percent are graduating high school. However, there is still a 26 percent achievement gap for low-income students, and only 46 percent of those who graduate high school are considered to be college-ready, indicating there is still quite a bit of work to be done. The academic achievement of all students is both a moral and economic imperative for our country, and it is vital to ensuring that our children have the opportunity to realize their potential and to compete in a global economy. We cannot prepare children for success without great teaching in every classroom, and the only way to make that happen systematically is to develop school leaders who can cultivate and retain great teachers
The mission of New Teacher Center is to improve student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of teachers and school leaders. Our theory of change focuses on developing teachers’ expertise and the implementation of high-quality curriculum and instruction in a positive, social emotional setting to meet the needs and well-being of the whole child and ensure equitable access to high quality instruction for all students. New Teacher Center (NTC) is pleased to respond to the State of Illinois’ RFA 22040308—specifically, Curriculum and Instruction. With nearly two decades of experience and third party-evaluated program design, we are eager to join ISBE and local LEAs as an IL-EMPOWER partner. NTC proposes a sequenced and recursive curriculum of professional development that can support mentors/coaches throughout Illinois through the development of comprehensive mentoring/coaching knowledge and skills. NTC will work to provide the state, its stakeholders, and community members with the comprehensive resources and quality instructional support needed to enable equitable learning opportunities and environments throughout an Illinois student’s educational journey.
Professional Development Plus! Inc.(PDP) provides innovative and high-quality educational programs and services to Pre-K to Community College schools and school districts across the country. PDP is an eleven year company dedicated to providing systemic, on-going professional development to all stakeholders in a school district. We are an Illinois WBE / MBE company certified through the BEP certification program. The experiences and successful accomplishments of the PDP cadre have been primarily in schools and districts similar to the demographics of large and midsized urban districts in Illinois as well as in New Jersey, Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan. These are districts with high percentages of economically disadvantaged students, diverse learner populations, linguistic minorities and/or special education populations. One key benefit to partnering with PDP is the fact that our 30 plus cadre is extremely diverse and we mirror the population of the teachers and students of Illinois. We are diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender, age and areas of expertise. Most of our collective experiences have been in large to midsize public, charter or private urban districts and schools. Since 2006, Professional Development Plus!, Inc. has partnered with urban school districts including but not limited to Chicago Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools, Gary, Indiana Community School District, Posen Robbins, IL School District 143.5, Newark Public Schools, Racine, Wisconsin and Jackson, MS. We are proud of our partnerships with educational organizations that include but are not limited to Pearson Education, McGraw-Hill, Knowledge Delivery Systems, Learning A-Z, I Opening Enterprises and E-Instruction. We are proud of our outcomes when partnering with schools and school districts that are serious about systemic change and provide the time and resources to make a difference. Our partnerships with schools and school districts have resulted in double-digit increases in literacy on high stakes assessments by probationary schools, significant increases in math growth and attainment, and movement from level three schools to level 1 and 2+ ratings! Partnering with schools and school districts require familiarity with National Initiatives such as CCSS and ESSA. All of our partnerships begin with analyzing the school or districts’ data that informs our professional development focus. Our whole-school model provides coaching and monitoring of all school stakeholders including Administrators, Teachers, In-school Coaches and Parents. The PDP consultants are experts in the areas math, literacy and assessment. Several members helped to design the Common Core Training in Illinois and are certified Common Core trainers for the state. The foundation of PDP is leadership development, on-going instructional coaching and school based capacity building. Many of our Leadership Coaches are nationally certified staff developer and leadership coaches through Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council) and have worked with Superintendents and Administrators in districts including but not limited to Fort Wayne, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago, IL; Jacksonville, FL and Administrators in the New York Archdiocese. Many of our Instructional Coaches are certified instructional coaches through the California-based New Teacher Center. Our goal is always to develop or enhance school-based teacher leaders/and or school-based coaches. We offer a "Coaching Up" plan to our partners to insure that gains made in the one year contract will definitely be sustained or exceeded in upcoming years.
All of our partnerships begin with analyzing the school or districts’ data that informs our professional development focus. Our whole-school model provides coaching and monitoring of all school stakeholders including Administrators, Teachers, In-school Coaches and Parents. The PDP consultants are experts in the areas math, literacy and assessment. Several members helped to design the Common Core Training in Illinois and are certified Common Core trainers for the state. The foundation of PDP is leadership development, on-going instructional coaching and school based capacity building. Many of our Leadership Coaches are nationally certified staff developer and leadership coaches through Learning Forward (formerly National Staff Development Council) and have worked with Superintendents and Administrators in districts including but not limited to Fort Wayne, Indiana; Indianapolis, Indiana; Chicago, IL; Jacksonville, FL and Administrators in the New York Archdiocese. Many of our Instructional Coaches are certified instructional coaches through the California-based New Teacher Center. Our goal is always to develop or enhance school-based teacher leaders/and or school-based coaches. We offer a "Coaching Up" plan to our partners to insure that gains made in the one year contract will definitely be sustained or exceeded in upcoming years.
Roosevelt University’s College of Education is submitting this proposal to be considered as a vendor in the area of Curriculum and Instruction for the State of Illinois in Area 1. The College of Education has a nationally recognized Masters of Reading program that produces Illinois licensed Reading Specialists. This program has been accredited by the Illinois Board of Education for the past 30 years. As part of the Reading Program, faculty from the university have worked for many years with schools in the Chicago area to improve literacy as part of our Social Justice mission and for the past 7 years, with the Illinois Board of Higher Education(IBHE)through a federal No Child Left Behind(NCLB)grant. In the last 7 years we have developed and implemented a model/plan for systemic and continuous improvement in balanced literacy and formative assessment practices within the highest need Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and several schools from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Our design for the development of LEA/school-level resources for comprehensive support of effective literacy curriculum, instruction and assessment practices flows out of the theory of action and 5 systems of change(accessibility & organization, curriculum & instruction, standards, assessment, and parent & community).Our coaching for building capacity design is focused on a collaborative change model in three phases that leads to effective literacy practices and approaches school-wide. Our coaching and professional development design model is grounded in balanced literacy pedagogy that at its core is a differentiated instruction model. Balanced literacy pedagogy is a philosophical orientation that assumes reading and writing achievement are developed through instruction and support in multiple environments in which teachers use various approaches and resources that differ by level of teacher support and child control(Frey, Lee, Tollefson & Massengill, 2005; Fountas & Pinnell, 1996).This project focuses on data competency in assisting teachers in using formative and interim assessments, particularly informal, daily assessment with immediate feedback, to insure that their students are understanding the curriculum and are each, individually and collectively, making the progress that the school and district have determined are appropriate. Our program centers on using formative data in literacy and grade level teams in order to train teachers on how to improve deliberate decision-making regarding student learning and progress. Schools that strive to have a strong focus on formative assessment need to begin with a plan for implementation. The project’s management of professional capital has five major roles, apart from administrative support. These roles are project administrator, literacy coaches, balanced literacy teacher leaders (BLTL), teachers, and school administrators. There is also a transition team which functions with a member from each grade level and the literacy team. The transition team primarily convenes from April through October to ensure a successful transition for students from grade to grade. Our program utilizes professional learning communities (PLC) to develop capacity building among teams. Huffman and Hipp (2003) assert that a professional learning community (PLC) is “the most powerful professional development and change strategy available.” Professional learning that increases educator effectiveness and results for all students occurs within learning communities committed to continuous improvement, collective responsibility, and goal alignment. Within professional learning communities, the team is the anchor or foundation for the collaborative work. Additionally, our project has a system for quality control and task completion based upon the organizational structures that we will be introducing or improving in the school. This structure and organization requires weekly and monthly meetings by the grade level and literacy teams. Our program places special attention on the cycles of continuous improvement throughout the curriculum, instruction and assessment processes. As Mintrop (2016) states, “At the heart of design development is a notion of continuous quality improvement through iterative, evidence-based cycles of inquiry. ”Built into our design is assurance that school administrators and teachers provide evidence for their decision-making processes regarding student learning. Finally, strong and open communication strategies within and across all schools are both critical and essential to the success of the project. It is important for collaboration among administrators, teachers and parents that communication be on-going, systematic and timely. Our plan to engage families and community partners is another part of the school-wide system of continuous improvement cycle.
Teach Plus believes in the power of excellent teachers to lead the transformation of our schools and education policy in order to improve the outcomes and future opportunities for all students. Working with over 2,700 teacher leaders and broader network of 23,000 educators across the nation, Teach Plus has led local, state, and national efforts to place teachers at the center of improving the performance of our schools, including embedded teacher leader partnerships with schools in Transformation or Priority status. Drawing upon this experience, we submit this package as our response to the State of Illinois’ Request for Application on IL-EMPOWER Professional Learning Partners (#22040308) to be considered for the list of qualified partners in providing professional learning support for schools in the area of curriculum and instruction.
The Peoria-Tazewell Professional Learning Consortium is a newly formed professional development collaborative created between the Peoria Regional Office of Education and the Tazewell-Mason-Woodford Regional Office of Education. Our offices determined that by joining forces we would be able to share our expertise to better serve educators in both regions. We believe that through our collaborative partnerships across ROE Area 3, we can provide effective professional learning that results in positive outcomes for students.
Founded in 1997, Umoja Student Development Corporation (Umoja) is one of the few not-for-profit organizations to have established long-term residency in Chicago public high schools. With an assets-based approach to youth development and an unwavering commitment to collaboration, Umoja works with its partner schools to create positive, student-centered environments that engage young people in rigorous and meaningful education experiences, support their retention, prepare them to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and develop the skills and knowledge needed to become citizens who make positive contributions to their communities and the world around them. By building a web of dynamic relationships where schools, families, businesses and communities partner to bridge the gap between the talents and ambitions of students and the resources they need to thrive, Umoja equips young people to succeed in college and confidently claim their future. Acknowledging the importance of helping schools create safe and positive school climates that lead to improved long-term outcomes for students, Umoja is proud to partner with schools to develop a climate and culture reflecting the needs and well-being of the whole child and ensuring equity. Umoja’s Executive Management Team has more than 45 years of collective experience supporting the holistic development of at-risk youth. With 31 professional staff, Umoja is uniquely qualified to partner with under-resourced high schools to provide direct services in the areas of student social & emotional skills development and restorative practices; curriculum & materials; and professional development services. Umoja Student Development Corporation is pleased to submit our qualifications to the Illinois State Board of Education to a professional learning partner with Illinois Local Education Agencies (LEA) and schools/districts through IL-EMPOWER. We specifically submit our application to provide support in one the IL-EMPOWER-defined drivers of system change: Climate and Culture. We look forward to helping high need schools create safe and positive school cultures that engage young people in their educational path and provide the supports and programs they will need to successfully graduate from high school, enroll in college and assume their roles as positive citizens of our communities, our cities, and our state.
Umoja’s theory of change is grounded in the understanding that in schools in communities hardest hit by poverty, disinvestment and violence, organizing around academics alone is not sufficient to drive transformation. To complement the academic program, schools need a set of comprehensive and integrated supports to help students navigate the journey through high school to graduation and beyond. Umoja’s infusion of human capital and professional development builds the capacity of the school to: 1) eliminate the disconnects that far too many students feel between their current education and future aspirations, 2) build trust between students and adults to help meet the social-emotional needs of students, and 3) reduce conflicts and restore relationships by keeping all of our students in the school and classrooms –with us, where we want them –rather than pushing them out onto the street. Over the past nineteen years, Umoja Student Development Corporation has built up a wealth of experience and expertise working in partnership with schools and districts to create and implement plans for systemic and continuous improvement practices and processes. Methods and processes include historical data analysis, audits of existing data systems to ensure efficient and effective capture of data aligned with school goals, review of policies to ensure alignment with stated goals, analysis of communication and accountability structures, and team and department level meetings designed to analyze data in real-time and make data-informed decisions. Clearly communicating expectations and roles across all stakeholders is also essential. In direct partnership with the Principal and/or administration, from initial engagement with the LEA/school through to planning and implementation, Umoja’s process includes coaching school leaders on public messaging and accountability structures. Professional development ttopics span the three pillars of Umoja's work: Restorative Justice, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) principles, and postsecondary readiness. We work with schools to customize a series of workshops to meet specific needs and to cultivate participants’ abilities to build purposeful relationships with young people and adults. Aligned with Common Core, ASCA Standards, and especially Illinois’ Social and Emotional Learning Standards, professional development content supports all aspects of student success -academic, social, and post-secondary aspirations. In addition to providing high-quality professional development training to school partners, Umoja offers a suite of other supports and resources to build a culture and climate in the school that improves student outcomes. These include curricula, onsite coaching and support, data tracking/evaluation systems, professional learning communities, and in-school restorative justice services.
The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) is the only public research institution of higher education in Chicago. Located in the heart of the city, the College of Education at UIC is committed to preparing teachers, school leaders, researchers, and policymakers who can transform public education in ways that benefit children for whom education can and should make the most difference. Unique among the top-50 graduate schools of education in its urban mission and student body, we prepare educators as critical thinkers and advocates who continue to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare children to be productive citizens in the world. For nearly thirteen years, UIC has been showing that producing transformational leaders at scale requires a rigorous, practice-based approach. We believe all children can learn no matter how challenging conditions are. The key to their success is a combination of committed, competent teachers working together with a skilled visionary leader. We believe that transformative principals are not born, but can be developed at scale. Finally, we believe that the primary client for our work is not the graduate student who seeks a principal credential, but the public school student who needs a competent and committed principal. The UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership (CUEL), established in 2011, researches the best ways to prepare and develop visionary leaders for high-need urban schools, advocates for financially sustainable models of transformative principal preparation at the local, state and national policy levels, and disseminates information to other researchers and to the public on the latest advancements in school leader training. The Center works closely with UIC’s Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership doctoral program, begun in 2003 by our Administration and Supervision faculty, who are ranked #14 in the nation by U.S. New and World Report, the only non-elite private or flagship public institution to be listed in the top 20. The Ed.D. in Urban Education Leadership was designed in partnership with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to develop principals and administrative educational leaders able to transform low-performing urban schools, systems, and entire districts. The UIC Ed.D. Program’s theory of action requires collaborative, sustained inquiry into how to develop school principals who inspire school cultures with high expectations, who engage key staff in leadership roles, and who build professional communities that improve adult and student learning through collaborative, sustained inquiry at the building level. Our continuous improvement commitment has strengthened the program’s ability to produce such principals routinely, not as an exception. UIC’s theory of leadership development focuses on leadership actions and dispositions that actively construct new organizational capacities in schools (Elmore, 2004). Expertise is described as a process of strategic problem-solving at growing levels of complexity. What distinguishes the “process of expertise” from ordinary learning and problem-solving is that it works at the edge of personal and institutional competence. The absence of clear answers and prescribed solutions makes the edge of competence, while uncomfortable, the place where deep learning and development can occur (Bereiter and Scardamalia, 1993).
Leadership for transformative school improvement Because our approach to leadership development is first and foremost aimed at improving student learning outcomes in schools, and because the Chicago school system with which we partner is 85% low income and nearly 90% students of color, our program is committed to working with principals to transform the organizational and instructional capacity of each school they lead. This requires that our program work with principals after they earn their credentials even longer than in the preservice stage. This therefore requires that UIC hire and develop, as we have for the past 14 years, full-time field supervisors/consultants for principals--experienced leadership coaches who themselves were principals who succeeded in improving their schools’ capacities and student learning outcomes. We find that by working with the principal to improve the organizational capacity of the school teaching staff, a school leadership team can re-culture instruction within a school and significantly improve student learning outcomes of all kinds—from social-emotional learning to standardized test measures, richer arts programs, and increased graduation rates. The relationship between leadership development and improved student learning outcomes can be represented over-simply as: Distributed School Leadership Organizational CapacityInstructionStudent Learning While this logic model guided our work with pre-service and in-service principals in CPS, it has also informed our work in system-level partnerships to improve CPS for well over a decade (Cosner, 2015). Currently, we use this logic model in developing CPS’s cadre of principal supervisors, the Network Chiefs to whom nearly all principals report. LEA System Level Work UIC and CPS have partnered in system-level changes in school leadership policy since the 1996 Illinois legislation granting CPS the right to impose principal eligibility requirements over and above state endorsement requirements. By 2003, UIC and CPS had a formal principal preparation partnership, and a decade later UIC had co-designed the CPS Chicago Leadership Collaborative (CLC) as one of four inaugural principal preparation partners. Additionally, CUEL leadership was integral to drafting the new Illinois state principal licensure procedures which then became law in 2012, and the CUEL director served on the city-wide Principal Quality Working Group that in 2016 created the current Chicago Principal Partnership, aimed at filling every CPS principal vacancy with a highly qualified principal (https://chicagoprincipals.org). In Summer 2015, the UIC Center for Urban Education was approached by the CPS Board of Education to help CPS address the longstanding need for strong professional development opportunities for Network Chiefs. Network Chiefs today play a critical role in supporting, developing, and evaluating 30-40 principals each. CPS and UIC jointly developed an implementation plan to provide professional development for Network Chiefs. The Director of the CUEL has taken primary responsibility for providing the professional learning Network Chiefs need to support school leaders in improving student achievement and school climate/ culture. Because feedback from Network Chiefs and the Director of Chiefs has been uniformly positive, the Chief Education Officer has requested to continue this collaborative approach to Network Chief Development.
ULLC has been active in the school improvement movement all over the nation from2003 to the present. During this time, we have witnessed significant growth in overall school and student performance due to the accountability movement. Unfortunately, we have also encountered schools that have flat-lined in their efforts to create positive changes in achievement. The good news is that even in schools designated as “failing,” we have found leaders at the local education agency (LEA) and state education agency (SEA)levels who possess the will and passion for making these schools successful. Lacking is a well-defined change strategy for a holistic, data-driven, and research-based plan of action which is collaboratively developed, implemented, and monitored by the school and district leadership. In short, the will is there, but there is currently no pathway to the promise. The mission of ULLC is to build the capacity of local schools to increase student achievement by:(1) training district and school leaders in research-based best practices of distributed leadership, and (2) providing on-site coaching to ensure the implementation of these practices in the school and district culture. Several bodies of research inform the ULLC theory of action: (a) The ULLC SAME(Social, Academic, and Moral Education) Framework for School Design; (b) the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL);and (c) The ULLC Six Step School Improvement Planning Process.
At the heart of all interventions developed by ULLC is the SAME Framework for School Design. This framework views schools as an integrated set of domains –Social, Academic, and Moral –which define the culture of the school community. The Social Domain defines how members of the school community behave; the Academic Domain defines how members of the school community engage in teaching and learning; the Moral Domain defines what members of the school community believe. When they enter a school environment, ULLC coaches invest significant energy in collecting data on these critical domain sat each school site before engaging the staff in dialogue around school improvement planning. All these domains can only thrive in a culture of distributed leadership, as it is conceptualized by James Spillane (2006) and colleagues. ULLC coaches are called upon to guide and model distributed leadership concepts and practices with school leadership teams and staffs. How does the ULLC SAME framework connect with Illinois’ ESSA challenge for persistently struggling schools? ULLC is uniquely qualified to partner with Illinois’ schools in need of comprehensive support. Since our inception in 2003, our company has worked almost exclusively with such schools in urban, suburban, and rural districts in 26 states. Our holistic model, SAME, was born out of a vision that with the proper support structures, public schools can overcome the negative impacts of poverty, ethnicity, second language or learning disabilities and create learning communities where all students excel at a high level. Extensive evidence supporting the effectiveness of the SAME Framework comes from An Achievable Dream (K-8) Academy in Newport News, Virginia (www.achievabledream.org). This public school served as a “lab school” in which the SAME approach was initiated, refined, demonstrated, and documented. Independent research conducted by the School of Education at the College of William and Mary —both longitudinal studies and a series of special projects addressing specific research questions —provided the hard data to validate the model. Today, the school has expanded to two campuses serving students K-12.The most compelling evidence supporting the efficacy of the SAME Framework at An Achievable Dream Academy is the fact that poor and minority students perform at levels that are typical of white and non-disadvantaged students. Essentially, by using SAME, the staff at An Achievable Dream closed the achievement gap. Students of An Achievable Dream–called Dreamers –are drawn from the population subgroups that, in schools across the nation, trail on measures of academic success: disadvantaged (today 100%are eligible for the federal lunch program) and minority (98% are African-American). Yet they perform at levels that exceed those of black and disadvantaged students citywide and approach or even exceed those of white and non-disadvantaged students. Key evidence of the effectiveness of the SAME Framework can be observed via data from eighth-grade Virginia State Standards of Learning tests. Performance at this point indicates whether students are ready for high-school work —particularly at the college-preparatory level. The table below shows pass rates on Standards of Learning tests for Dreamers compared to black, disadvantaged and white students city wide. The data are typical of a long-established pattern, confirmed in test scores, retention, and graduation rates.