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1 and Instruction

​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: 

  • If ANet provides school partners with high quality coaching, professional learning sessions, instructional resources, and assessments...   
  • Then school leaders will implement an effective cycle of inquiry, called the Teaching and Learning Cycle, that empowers teachers to plan, deliver, evaluate, and adjust their instruction so that it authentically reflects and aligns with the Common Core and other rigorous standards... 
  • Which will, in turn, drive increases in student proficiency rates. Ensuring that ANet’s Theory of Change evolves from vision to reality at each school is what drives our daily work and the core components of our partnerships. ANet works alongside school and district leadership teams to develop a yearlong trajectory of coaching support and professional learning. We design our partnerships to build sustainable capacity year after year because we know that laying the foundation for an extended partnership allows us to have the most impact. We provide comprehensive school partnerships that include: 
  1. Job-embedded coaching and professional learningto build leadership capacity, skill, and strong practices in managing data driven, standards-aligned instructional practices and help educators effectively use ANet’s data and resources to improve learning in their classrooms; 
  2. Access to our network and group learning eventsto collaborate and learn best practices from across ANet’s network and learn from in-person professional development events and online resources;   
  3. Interim assessments for grades 2-8 in math and literacy, designed in-house, and aligned to the Common Core standards; and   
  4. Instructional tools and resources that supplement ANet’s assessments by providing teachers with tools to address student needs surfaced by assessment data.  

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.

Elizabeth DillAchievement NetworkAchievement Network PresentationNo
2 and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management, All

​AdvancED | Measured Progress is a nonprofit organization that serves as an international leader in school improvement and a pioneer in authentic, standards-based assessments. We assist states, districts, and schools address challenges in crucial areas where educators say they need the most help by offering an integrated platform bringing together a broad range of student academic and non-academic data, improved decision-making tools, and assessments to monitor progress of learning and improve instruction.

​AdvancED | Measured Progress provides a suite of tools and multiple resources to help school leaders and teachers refine instruction, improve learning environments, allocate resources, and address other factors that research says affect student and school performance. We also provide professional development for educators to help them use the tools, and to identify improvements in their conditions, processes, and practices that will accelerate student learning and ensure that every student is prepared for success in school, career and in life.​

Lori Hopkins, Ed.D., Regional Director, AdvancED | Measured ProgressAdvanceEDPresentationAdvanceED Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
3, Governance and Management, Curriculum and Instruction, Culture and Climate
The American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a not-for-profit corporation engaged in independent research and capacity-building services in the areas of education, workforce, and health. The District and School Improvement Center at the American Institutes for Research (DSI at AIR) is a trusted leader in providing intensive improvement support services at the district and school levels. DSI at AIR offers evidence-based, research-supported tools and processes that save time, helping to connect the dots and balance initiatives. For more than a decade, AIR has been conducting this transformational work in partnership with schools, districts, and state education agencies across the country.

DSI at AIR is fully staffed, regionally based, and equipped to meet the needs of urban, suburban, and rural districts and schools across Illinois. We provide districts and schools with evidence-based strategies and research-based resources from nationally recognized team members who are education thought leaders in implementation experience—turning research into practice. 

DSI at AIR provides a comprehensive school improvement framework that is both an evidence-based and customizable approach to acknowledge the unique needs of Illinois districts and schools.

Our research-based framework is refined by experience to address key elements of school improvement:

  • Leadership that drives change
  • Safe and supportive environment
  • Student access and opportunity
  • Family and community engagement
  • Educator effectiveness
  • Continuous improvement

DSI at AIR delivers differentiated support services by collaborating with district and school leaders through our School Improvement Path, which includes three phases of support—Initial Planning, Active Facilitation and Reflection, and Sustainability and Innovation Planning.

DSI at AIR provides customizable and differentiated school improvement services:

  • Continuous improvement planning through coaching and monitoring
  • Instructional coaching
  • Leadership coaching
  • Professional learning community implementation and sustainability
  • Family and community engagement
  • Multi-tiered systems of support
  • English learner support
  • Professional learning sessions aligned with identified needs and priorities

Our work has a lasting effect on building the capacity of leaders and teachers to ensure equity for all students.

Dawn DolbyAmerican Institutes for ResearchAIR IntroductionAmerican Institute for Research Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
4 and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management, All

Atlantic Research Partners is committed to transforming schools from within by providing research ​based, customized and sustainable school improvement solutions that build capacity in school leaders and increase educator effectiveness to accelerate student achievement.

Our team of experienced educators deliver customized solutions that are aligned to the IL ESSA State plan metrics and are tailored to the specific needs of each school and district partner.

Our unique partnership approach provides customized solutions to solve for the most pressing challenges facing Illinois schools in this new age of ESSA accountability. As a Lead Partner we prioritize building capacity within your team to support systemic growth through your strategic goals.

In collaboration with the IL-EMPOWER team,​​ we:

  • Discover the the problem within your data & context
  • Strategize solutions, action steps & benchmarks
  • Implement action steps, progress monitoring & adjust
  • Sustain progress, identify success trends & scale ​
Jodi Peters, Chief Engagement OfficerAtlantice Research PartnersPresentationAtlantic Research Partners Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
5 and Instruction, Governance and Management
Mr. Tre ChildressAUSLAcademy for Urban School Leadership Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5Yes
http://www.camb-ed-us.comAll, Culture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management

Cambridge Education is an established name in the education sector with over 35 years' experience working in over 45 countries across the world. For the past 15 years in the United States, we have harnessed that unique experience in our partnerships with over 6,500 schools and more than 570 districts across 38 states. With access to 66 offices across the U.S. and Canada, we have the resources and capacity to support local, regional, and national initiatives.

Cambridge Education's approach to school improvement is to work with the school and district to create a customized solution that best meets the needs of the individual schools. Over the past fifteen years, we have successfully employed this approach with clients ranging from some of the largest districts in America, including New York City Department of Education, Los Angeles Unified School District, and Chicago Public Schools. We have also worked in rural settings, such as Brooklyn, Illinois, the oldest town incorporated by African-Americans in the United States, as well as individual schools in remote locations such as Red Lake, Minnesota.​​

​We leverage our experience to support your school improvement efforts by providing services that focus on:

  • system-wide accountability, conducting quality reviews for schools and districts;
  • system coherence, helping align stakeholders, resources, culture, and efforts to improve student outcomes;
  • district and school strategic planning and goal setting, with continuous improvement monitoring;
  • leadership development, job-embedded training and coaching, building capacity, and a high-performance learning culture at all levels.
Dr. Jalilah Dukes, Midwest LeadCambridge EducationPresentationCambridge Education Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6YesKevin Hardy, Executive Vice President
7 and Instruction

Consortium for Educational Research and Advancement, LLC (CERA) is an educational research and consulting firm that specializes in offering customized solutions to schools and education departments to support school transformation efforts. We partner with schools, districts and educational organizations for comprehensive work in curriculum development aligned to standards, curriculum mapping, teacher and leadership effectiveness, school quality reviews and instructional coaching and support.

​Teacher and leadership Effectiveness Schools seeking to increase student achievement and develop a sustained culture for learning can partner with CERA for a set of cohesive services. We assess the needs of the school and work alongside school leadership to provide a set of comprehensive services for school improvement. As the lead partner, we collaborate with our clients to provide necessary support to engage in a variety of work to create and monitor change. Teacher and leadership Effectiveness CERA believes that developing teacher quality is essential to improving teaching and learning. We collaborate with building leadership to design an effective teacher development program for new and experienced teachers through a cycle of continuous improvement. CERA partners with clients to create and support a results-driven teacher .ffectiveness program that increases teacher capacity at all levels. Our consultants have partnered with national organizations to develop new to seasoned teachers in order to develop their practice. Data Analysis and Strategic Support Integrating data into the school improvement process is integral to increasing student achievement. Our data team engages our partner schools in data analysis to guide decision making about instruction, curriculum and programming. Curriculum Development We engage our clients with developing a balanced and relevant school curriculum aligned to standards and assessments. School Quality Reviews CERA engages with our clients to conduct a School Quality Review (SQR), which is a thorough assessment of its progress. Using CERA benchmarks, we assess the work of the school and develop a portfolio of evidence in each practice area. Our team conducts a School Quality Review visit and prepares a record that includes concerns and recommendations.​

Crystal JamesCERAPresentationNo
8 and Climate
A core part of our work is the provision of professional development to community school practitioners. We provide opportunities for practitioners to learn from each other and content experts so as to strengthen their community schools, create and maintain a repository of tools and toolkits to support community school development, connect practitioners to one another to create a learning and development network, and educate new partners about the community school strategy. Our professional development efforts include:
  • Community school nuts-and-bolts – these sessions provide practitioners with training on the basics of community school implementation, ranging from Community Schools 101 to sessions on advisory board development, family engagement, and afterschool program development. We aim to have these sessions provide practical and actionable skills and strategies that participants can apply to their own work. We’ve also developed a guide to community school development. 
  • Symposia – These longer sessions take a deeper look at a complex challenge that community schools can mobilize around by using the strategy in an integrated way. Topics include trauma informed practice, chronic absenteeism, adult workforce development, and the Consortium for Chicago School Research’s new Foundations for Young Adult Success framework (coming up on August 25th). Symposia include a context-setting presentation from a content expert, a panel of practitioners discussing how the topic relates to their work, and time for small group work and breakout sessions. 
  • Resource Coordinator Luncheons – held roughly once a month during the school year, RC Luncheons bring together Resource Coordinators to learn from each other’s work, to support each other’s efforts, and to engage in shared problem solving around challenges they face in their work. The luncheons are split into two groups – one for high school practitioners, and one for elementary school practitioners – to reflect the differences between the two settings, and attendance is restricted to RCs only. Each luncheon is hosted at a community schools and is loosely organized around a topic relevant to practitioners, but with plenty of time for networking, dialog, and (sometimes) commiserating. 
  • Practitioner networks – We are working with stakeholders to convene regional community school networks to bring practitioners together to learn from and support each other’s work. Each network will have a professional development focus, but will also include opportunities to develop regional advocacy priorities, as well. 
  • Annual Community Schools Forum – We hold an annual Community Schools Forum in the fall. This year’s, the 11th, will take place on November 20th. The Forum brings together more than 300 community school practitioners and supporters from across Illinois and the Midwest to learn from each other and access tools and strategies that strengthen their work. Each Forum also includes advocacy workshops and a portion of the plenary session is spent sharing our policy agenda and taking action. 
  • Toolkits – working with our members we’ve developed a series of toolkits to support different areas of community school work, including community engagement, advisory board development, data-informed decision making (i.e., needs assessments and asset maps), program evaluation and coordination, and creating a shared vision. In addition to being used by members across the state to support their work, many of these tools are also being used by the New York City Department of Education as part of their community school expansion plan and the University of Kansas Center on Assets, Education and Inclusion. 

Liz StartzChildren's Home & AidPresentationNo
9, Culture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management

The Consortium for Educational Change transforms schools and districts by building collaborative relationships between unions, school administrators, and school boards, and through full-service consulting that builds capacity for long-term change at every level of the school system.

More abo​ut CEC

CEC's work is guided by a carefully established Theory of Action that centers the knowledge that all students have the potential to grow and learn. CEC supports student success by training and empowering teachers and administrators, and by creating and supporting collaborative structures for shared decision-making and accountability.  

More about CEC's approach

David OstaCECConsortium for Educational Change Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
10, Culture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management

ECRA Group is a premier research and analytics consulting firm that helps educational leaders improve student outcomes by adopting more evidence-based practices. ECRA Group has partnered with over 1,000 school systems nationally and works in partnership with many state and national professional organizations such as the American Association of School Administrators (AASA).

ECRA Group started its journey over 40 years ago as an academic research and psychometrics firm. Initially, we led and supported large contracted research studies related to strategic planning, program evaluation, norming, and scaling.

Over the years we have learned that while academic research plays a critical role in shaping educational policy and best practice, it is often too slow and too costly to have immediate impact at the local school district level. Today, ECRA offers local school districts the scientific rigor of a top university through simple and accessible analytic models and frameworks. We combine consulting, professional development, and analytics to empower educational leaders at the local level with the information needed to ensure energy and resources are directed toward what truly matters for students.

Strategically, ECRA is focused on sharing solutions with school leaders that helps leaders advance the priorities of the community. Through a collaborative philosophy and a deep understanding of our client's vision for student success, ECRA Group helps school leaders operationalize their vision in a way that inspires and engages stakeholders, aligns resources, and provides a framework for communication and governance.​

Nanci PerezECRAECRA Group, Inc. Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
11 and Climate
H.E.L.P. is a consulting company that provides culturally responsive counseling, psychological, case management and assessment services to children, youth, families and adults at schools and social service agencies. We propose to partner with ISBPE as a professional learning partner to change the culture and climate of undeforming schools in service area one through the provision of assessment, coaching, consultation, and training to achieve ISBE’s shared vision for transforming schools and impacting student outcomes. H.E.L.P. became a board approved Social, Emotional Learning (SEL) provider and vendor with Chicago Public Schools in 2012. 
H.E.L.P. clinicians have provided evidence-based group counseling (Tier II) and individual behavioral interventions (Tier III) to students at nearly 50 elementary schools and high schools. In 2017 H.E.L.P. was again recommended as an approved SEL provider approved for direct service and professional learning services. H.E.L.P. also provided Restorative Justice Practices (RP) to change the culture and climate of the school and improve student behavior by coaching educators, conducting professional staff development trainings and holding student peace circles in more than 40 schools. The overall data reported for Chicago Public Schools, beginning School Year 2013-2014 (SY13-14) and ending School Year 2015-2016 (SY15-16), indicates a downward trend of punitive responses to behavior and an increase of restorative responses.  Across the district, punitive responses to behavior fell 20 percent over the two years assessed.  H.E.L.P. represents a community partner that has consistently remained active within the district regarding restorative practice delivery since 2013. Entrusted to deliver restorative practice training and support to 31out of 80, or nearly 40%ofschoolsfundedby Office of Social and Emotional Learning (OSEL),H.E.L.P. can be credited for contributing to the aforementioned trends.

​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. ​

Karen McCurtis WitherspoonH.E.L.P.PresentationNo
12, Culture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) and your local ROE/ISC are approved partners for IL-Empower in all three areas, Culture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, and Governance and Management.  Your Regional Office of Education or Intermediate Service Center are prepared to help support your schools and districts in the school improvement process and to increase student achievement.

Since 1865, regional superintendents of schools have served Illinois and provided safety, service and success to districts across the state. ROEs and ISC's provide positive leadership and serve as a source of information for educators, school districts and the public.  In addition, ROE's and ISC's have been the conduit for delivery of services and support through the Statewide System of Support for many years.  Because of this history, your ROE and ISC are your most efficient resource when it comes to supporting your schools and districts with school improvement initiatives.  We are your regional resource and have the expertise you need to assist with your improvement efforts and will continue to provide that support in the future to sustain the efforts that are best for your students. 

 ROE's and ISC's are your partners in the Past, Present, and Future!  Please contact your local ROE/ISC for more information on this partnership. View​ the IARSS Directory.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools (IARSS) promotes quality education for the school children and citizens of Illinois, provides educational leadership, and delivers educational services effectively for the benefit of Illinois school districts.  As an educational leader, the theory of action IARSS will utilize to support schools within the state starts with strong leadership.

Our approach lies in the Contingency Leadership approach, which is explicitly connected through the expertise of IARSS and the provided services to the learning and development of students in classrooms.  Specifically, to significantly improve student achievement, IARSS will work with schools and their leadership to develop and implement data-driven and focused improvement plans and strategies that are implemented with depth and fidelity aimed at supporting meaningful change in adult practices to help improve student achievement.

IARSS believes that any form of school improvement plan must be plausible, doable, testable, and meaningful in order to positively impact student achievement over a sustainable time.  To that end, IARSS will be implementing the Theory of Change approach to support LEAs in setting goals and to address the areas of need identified through the improvement planning process.

Kevin SeymourIARSSPresentationIllinois Association of Regional State Superintendents Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
13 and Climate

​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.​

Sara BalgoyenIBARJPresentationNo
14 and Management
The Illinois Association of School Boards is a voluntary organization of local boards of education dedicated to strengthening the public schools through local citizen control. IASB was established in 1913 and was organized by member school boards as a private not-for-profit corporation under authority granted by Article 23 of The Illinois School Code. The vision of the Illinois Association of School Boards is excellence in local school governance supporting quality public education. IASB strives to achieve that vision through developing member competence and confidence through a robust toolkit designed to build excellence in local school board governance, including: 
  • Premier training experiences; 
  • Networking opportunities for mutual support; 
  • Valuable benefits, pooled services, information, and expertise; 
  • Advocacy on behalf of public education; and 
  • A platform for a strong collective voice on common interests and concerns. 
All training sessions provided by the Illinois Association of School Boards align with the Foundational Principles of Effective Governance. These Principles act as the board’s job description through guidance and an articulation of best practice. By learning and continually improving upon these Principles, the board will be in the best position to support effective instruction, oversee a fair and consistent disciplinary culture, and promote the best use of instructional time and other resources. Ultimately, effective boards attract and retain talented staff, build relationships of trust and support with the community and families, and lead their systems toward improvement.

​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.​

Dean LangdonIASBNo
15 and Management

School leadership matters.  While this may seem intuitive, research has now made it very clear.  Principals and their leadership teams influence student and adult performance in their schools by:

  • Nurturing a positive, student-centered culture;
  • Attracting and retaining the best teachers and support staff who are focused on doing what is best for ALL of their students;
  • Facilitating research-based continuous improvement efforts that result in systemic organizational change;
  • Possessing a growth mindset which encourages ongoing personal and professional growth;
  • … and much, much more.

Thus, the Illinois Principals Association maintains a vision of ensuring effective, sustained leadership for every Illinois school.  In order to achieve this vision, we focus daily on our mission to develop, support, and advocate for innovative educational leaders.​

Our efforts to fulfill the IPA's lofty vision and mission requires a multi-faceted approach.  Our work includes:

  • Providing principals and their leadership teams high quality, innovative professional development face-to-face, synchronously online, and on-demand online;
  • Offering school leaders the opportunity to network with their peers at regional meetings and on IPA Connect, our dynamic online community where school leaders can collaborate and share resources;
  • Making expert general counsel available to assist principals with school related legal issues;
  • And as an IL-EMPOWER Learning Partner, the IPA provides mentoring for first and second year school leaders as well as coaching for veteran school leaders.  Principals in need of support are matched with highly-trained mentors or coaches who possess the skills, experiences, and expertise that will most benefit the principal.  Additionally, new principals have access to the IPA's Launching School Leader Network which helps first and second year school leaders successfully transition into the profession by empowering them with strategies to develop high quality relationships with their learning community, build a culture that supports the conditions needed for teaching and learning, and effectively manage the complexities of the principalship.  Lastly, the IPA offer school leaders the opportunity to earn micro-credentials.  These competency-based assessments allow school leaders to demonstrate mastery of their leadership skills.

Please do not hesitate to visit the IPA's website at for a comprehensive look at our work.  If you have questions, please contact Dr. Sue Homes, IPA Deputy Executive Director for Professional Development, at or 217-525-1383.​

Dr. Sue Homes, IPA Deputy Executive Director for Professional DevelopmentIPAIllinois Principals Association Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
16, Culture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management

​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.

The IL MTSS-N definition of “MTSS” is“ a framework for continuous improvement that is systemic, prevention-focused, and data-informed, providing a coherent continuum of supports responsive to the needs of all learners.” The very core of the IL MTSS-N is about a continuum of evidence based system change efforts to continually improve holistic supports to achieve equitable outcomes for the whole child. The center of our work is equitable outcomes for children and youth with complex subgroup needs.  This is accomplished though the interconnected drivers of governance and management, curriculum and culture, and climate and culture.  Within the integrated drivers, IL MTSS-N supports LEA/schools in data competency, resource management, continuous improvement, evidence-based/informed practices, communication strategies, and partnerships. The integrated driver supports will result in effective instruction, fair and effective discipline, attract and retain talented staff, and build relationships of trust and support with the community and families.  The target of the support is sustained outcomes for the whole child, with an emphasis on equitable outcomes for students with complex needs. The IL MTSS-N has an exceptional record in supporting Illinois LEAs/schools with structural and programmatic changes through guiding needs assessments, equity audits, improvement plans, and implementation of the plans.  The IL MTSS-N is organized to produce the following deliverables: 
  • Conducting needs assessment and equity audit of the LEA/schools to assess the overall governance and management; curriculum, instruction, and assessments; and climate and culture structural components. 
  • Supporting LEA/schools in conducting data analysis of the needs assessment and equity audit to identify areas of need and develop a LEA/school improvement plan for systemic change. 
  • Supporting LEA/school leaders and staff in addressing their needs through the effective and efficient implementing their improvement plans within their local context. 
  • Providing an approach for LEA/schools to aligning curriculum, instruction, and assessments to be consistent with the Illinois Learning Standards with a continuum of instruction and assessment intensity, aligned with the ILS, to supporting the intensity of the diverse needs of the whole child.
  • Establishing strategies for LEA/schools to improve student transitions throughout the prekindergarten through 12thgrade continuum and supporting LEA/schools to implement in their context.
  • Providing evidence-based/informed practices/programs for LEA/schools to implement, within their context, that cultivate a safe and supportive learning environment for all students, including students with complex needs. 
  • Providing LEA/school staff with ongoing, high quality, job-embedded professional learning, TA, and coaching that has been personalized to align with the LEA/school improvement plan. 
  • Working with LEA/schools to support professional capital, program, time, and fiscal resource management and realignment. 
  • Working with LEA/schools to engage family and community partnerships with attention to cultural and linguistic diversity
Julie WestMTSSPresentationIllinois Multi-Tiered System of Supports Network Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
http://www.tdschools.orgCulture and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction

​TDS offers a menu of evidence‐based practices in professional development and student support services across grades 6‐12 to address academic and/or socio‐emotional learning needs of “the whole child,” and enhance the overall school climate., both academic and socio‐emotional, to help the State of Illinois attain its goals under the Every Student Succeeds (ESSA) Act, particularly  as they pertain to the Tier 4: Lowest Performing Comprehensive Schools (the lowest‐performing 5% of schools) and the Tier 3: Underperforming Schools. Specifically, TDS seeks to provide these services to Tier 4 and Tier 3 schools in Service Area 1, comprised of Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, and Will Counties. TDS was created in 1994 at the JHU Center for Social Organization of Schools as a partnership between educational researchers and school and district administrators. Its mission is to provide evidence‐based models, tools and services to the most challenged secondary schools serving the most vulnerable students in the country. TDS envisions a nation where all students have access to an education that develops their strengths and talents, builds their academic and socio‐emotional competencies, engages them in relevant learning opportunities, supports them so they can succeed, and prepares them for post‐secondary education and the 21st century world of work. TDS’ goal is fundamentally to create more equitable, holistic educational opportunities that offer young people meaningful pathways to success in school, and thereby to full participation in college, career, and civic life.

​TDS specializes in assisting schools and districts in high poverty communities and those serving linguistic minorities and special needs populations, bringing organizational, curricular and instructional innovations to grades 6‐12 and providing extensive professional development and coaching. TDS’ primary strengths are its strong research base, its experience with low‐performing schools over the last 22 years, and its ability to influence the culture of a school through intensive support, and capacity‐building professional training.  TDS helps struggling schools plan and provide academic and socio‐emotional supports to students in grades 6‐12 through intensive, site‐based technical assistance and professional learning for school leaders and teachers, needs analysis and resource mapping, and facilitation of school improvement teams and focus groups, as well as robust, customizable organizational and instructional supports and services. TDS provides this support and training in the school context through TDS technical assistance to administrators and teacher leaders in needs assessment, transformation planning, teacher teaming, supportive scheduling, and use of data to drive decision making, as well as instructional coaching and capacity building. TDS offers a customizable continuum of services to schools, ranging from technical support and professional development to address discrete identified needs (e.g., for Tier 3 schools), to deeply embedded comprehensive school transformation support based on four pillars of change: Pillar I: Teacher Teams and Small Learning Communities: TDS helps schools create small learning communities where teacher teams share three or four classes of students. This organizational model fosters strong relationships between students and staff that promote mutual support and accountability—resulting, in turn, in better student attendance, behavior, and progress toward graduation. TDS teacher teams also improve student progress by establishing common planning time, used both to engage in peer‐driven professional development that improves classroom management and climate, and to design individual, small‐group, and whole‐group interventions for students who need additional support. Pillar II, Teaching and Learning with Professional Development, directly addresses the need for improvement in Curriculum and Instruction. TDS instructional staff provide intensive teacher training in the core competencies of lesson design and focus; rigor and inclusiveness of all students, regardless of background; a culture of achievement (this is also addressed through Pillar IV); student progress and mastery; and commitment to personal and collective excellence, with the added support and encouragement of peer support in teacher teams and SLCs.TDS has developed a comprehensive Blueprint for curriculum, instruction, and assessment anchored in evidence‐based, high‐ impact instructional strategies, used to construct and implement a customized instructional and professional development plan in each school. TDS also improves student achievement by providing acceleration curriculum to close learning gaps. Pillar III: Tiered student supports. As previously indicated, TDS helps schools build Early Warning data Systems (EWS) that allow staff to quickly identify students in need of attendance, academic, or behavioral interventions. TDS also helps schools establish relationships with district and community‐based resources that extend their capacity to provide appropriate interventions, and provides ongoing professional development and support for the integration of support service providers and teaching staff. This tiered support model helps struggling students get back on track to graduation, and provides teachers and students to overcome emotional, behavioral, and personal challenges.  Pillar IV. Can‐Do Culture and Climate: TDS helps schools create safe, secure school climates that promote effort, resiliency, and collaboration as keys to both staff and student success at school. In addition to creating structures and processes that deliberately build this positive climate, TDS also provides professional development and resources around post‐secondary exploration and preparation and social‐emotional learning. The “can do” school climate that results from this deliberate culture‐building creates an environment where both staff and students know that growth and persistence are valued, and that every member of the school community receives the social and emotional supports necessary to succeed. ​

Laura Weeldreyer Tides Center Executed ContractNo
19 and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction, Governance and Management, All

The National Institute for School Leadership is the leading provider of K-12 leadership development supports in the country.  Through IL-EMPOWER, NISL is helping Illinois’ Underperforming and Lowest Performing schools and their districts create high-performance systems that lead to equity and high achievement.  NISL can support schools across all three areas of need—Governance and Management, Curriculum and Instruction, and Safe and Healthy Climate. One Illinois principal remarked, “Participating in the NISL training has caused me to be a better school leader.  Everything I do is done strategically and intentionally to move my school district forward in academic performance.  I am so grateful for this opportunity and others do not want to pass it up if they want to improve their school or district!”  

NISL is a program of the not-for-profit Criterion Education, a subsidiary of the National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE)—one of the nation’s leading education research and policy organizations.  NISL’s Executive Development Program for School Leaders (EDP) is one of the few rigorous programs for school leaders with multiple third-party evaluations that show statistically significant student achievement gains across whole schools quickly and dramatically. NISL is the only organization recognized in both the RAND Corporation report and a report by the George W. Bush Institute for evidence of effectiveness in leadership development. More than 15,000 school leaders and hundreds of district superintendents have benefited from NISL’s programs. More importantly, these leaders have improved their schools and districts, strengthening instruction and improving the learning of millions of students.
Over the last decade NISL has invested $20 million from leading foundations to apply the most important research on leadership, education, and adult learning—including NCEE’s research on the top-performing education systems in the world—to the real-world challenges districts and schools face. NISL provides district and school leaders with the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to make their districts and schools systems where all students can succeed at the highest level.

Under IL-EMPOWER, NISL can provide a suite of rigorous, research-based supports to districts and schools, supporting educators from the Superintendent to classroom teachers.  NISL can begin this engagement at the district or school level.  At the district level, we can begin as soon as the planning phase with the District System Design Partnership, bringing together district and school-level leaders to create a shared understanding of the district context and to view that context through the lens of top-performing systems, and then create a strategy for applying the lessons learned to the district and schools. NISL can also begin by directly supporting school leaders with the Executive Development Program (EDP). School leaders become stronger leaders, learn how to create high-performance organizations, high-quality aligned instructional systems and foster high-quality teachers and teaching. Participating school leaders can also receive credit towards advanced degrees from partner universities. This learning is cohort-based, applied, and engaging. NISL strengthens the leadership of schools, so they may better support teaching and learning to dramatically increase student achievement.  NISL’s supports are the most efficient way of transforming instruction and learning across schools and districts.
Mischelle HandleyNISLPresentationNational Institute for School Leadership Executed ContractYes
20 and Instruction

New Teacher Center is a national nonprofit focused on improving student learning by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers and school leaders in PreK-12. NTC partners with urban, suburban, and rural districts and schools across the country, including Chicago Public Schools and other Illinois districts, to design and implement sustainable, high-quality mentoring and coaching professional development.

NTC's evidence-based mentoring and coaching programs are proven to increase student achievement, teacher practice and effectiveness, and teacher retention. Through NTC's professional learning opportunities, we build mentors and coaches within a district who are able to provide new teachers and educators consistent, quality feedback on their instructional practice and classroom management.

Every teacher deserves a coach. NTC's practice and program frameworks and research-based and customizable to meet the unique needs of Illinois districts as the work to turnaround their schools. 

Our evidence-based programs are complemented by our 20 years of experience working with districts and educators. Our work centers around four key pillars:

  1. Student learning
  2. Educator effectiveness
  3. Leadership development
  4. Optimal learning environments 

To achieve this, New Teacher Center provides teachers and school leaders high-quality, consistent, instructional-based support, so districts can create and sustain a lasting, impactful educational environment.  

We accomplish this work through several key areas: 

  • Teacher Induction - prepares mentors to support new teachers and accelerate growth through 1:1, ongoing, job-embedded feedback and formative assessments with a focus on rigorous, standards-based learning, social and emotional learning, research-based instructional practices, and diverse learning needs.
  • Instructional Coaching - prepares instructional coaches to accelerate new and veteran teachers' instructional practices through content specific, 1:1 and group formative assessment-based, on-the-job coaching. Coaching is based on rigorous, standards-based learning,social and emotional learning, research-based instructional practices, and diverse learning needs.    
  • School Leadership - provides capacity-building support to school leaders through professional learning opportunities, peer networks, and in-field coaching, to build instructional leadership, strong learning environments, distributed leadership and school transformation.

Early Learning - provides job-embedded professional learning opportunities for coaches and administrators with an emphasis on early learning pedagogy and formative assessment tools targeted at quality instruction. ​

Justin Rall, Sr. Director, Partnership EngagementNTCNew Teacher Center Executed ContractYes
21 and Instruction

​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.​

Stephanie PratherPDPPresentationNo
22 and Management

​ For more than twenty years, Public Impact has engaged schools, districts, and education organizations across the United States in pursuing dramatic improvements in students’ outcomes, both in their academic pursuits and in their quest to thrive holistically as adults in our changing world. We have a track record of bringing evidence-based practices to bear in the most challenging environments, with strong results. In the most recent year of data (2015-16), nearly half of the schools we partnered with in school redesign achieved “high growth” in their state accountability systems, almost double the typical rate. 

Our approach. Public Impact’s approach to boosting student outcomes centers on extending great teaching to all students. Decades of rigorous evidence show unequivocally that the single-most important school-based factor in student learning is the quality of their teachers. As a result, all of the assistance Public Impact provides on “Governance and Management” is in the service of one goal: placing an excellent teacher in charge of every student’s learning, in every classroom, every year. It is that consistent access to excellent teaching that enables students to catch up and leap ahead to reach rising standards. To help schools achieve that goal, we offer a set of services that we can adapt to meet the specific needs of any school, based on an analysis of the school’s data and engagement with teachers and other stakeholders to discern their most important needs and priorities. We call this set of services “Opportunity Culture.” While these services vary based on that process, here are the core elements:
  • School design team facilitation. We work with school leadership to convene a design team made up of the school principal, other key administrators, several teachers, and other staff as needed. We then guide that design team through a process of goal setting and decision-making that leads to a clear plan and implementation path for the needed changes. We help the team engage other staff and stakeholders and communicate actively through the design process to build awareness and buy-in.
  • Redesign of roles. The typical school design, often called “one-teacher-one-classroom” places substantial constraints on schools’ ability to reach all students with excellent teaching. Since the number of highly effective teachers is inevitably limited, only a fraction of classrooms – and too often a small fraction – will have excellent teachers. We help schools break the one-teacher-one-classroom model by creating new roles for highly effective teachers in which they “extend their reach” to more students, either directly or by leading a team of other teachers and staff. After a redesigned set of roles is phased in, literally every classroom in a school can have a great teacher in charge of learning.
  • Redesign of schedules. Concurrent with changing roles, we help school design teams reimagine the use of time, freeing hours per week for teacher collaboration, data-analysis,  planning, and job embedded professional learning. Instead of asking teacher-leaders to play new roles within their pre-existing time constraints, we help schools free their time to lead their peers, while continuing to teach students; all within existing budgets.
  • Redesign of compensation and career pathways. With LEA and teacher association leadership actively engaged, we work to make the new roles described above well-paid, within existing budgets. We help districts and their teachers devise career paths along which teachers can move during their careers, taking on more responsibility and earning more, without needing to become administrators.
  • Principal support. Principals are a critical ingredient in fostering great teaching. We work with principals on a number of fronts, including developing a clear, evidence based turnaround plan; leading the “team of leaders” made possible when teacher-leaders take responsibility for teacher teams; and using our assessments to understand their own competencies and leadership challenges and, with coaching, to develop the capabilities they need to succeed as leaders of dramatic improvement.
  • Performance management. We help schools seeking big improvements set up performance management routines and “dashboards” to help leaders keep changes on track by monitoring leading indicators of their ultimate goals, and adjusting their approaches over time based on data.
  • Customized services. Beyond those core services, we are able to tailor offerings to meet schools’ needs. Examples including designing and implementing teacher hiring and selection processes; training teacher-leaders and other staff; designing roles at schools for aspiring teachers to serve as full-time residents; and more.
Bryan HasselPublic ImpactPresentationNo
23 and Instruction

​The Language and Literacy Program of Roosevelt University has over 3 decades of experience in the development of our balanced literacy framework and model. Our model, which provides best practices in literacy education, is grounded in the latest research based literacy pedagogy. Dr. Margaret Policastro and her team of literacy coaches at Roosevelt University have spent the last 9 years providing high quality professional development to schools with their NEW balanced literacy program resulting in student achievement gains. This high quality professional development program fosters creative, effective and justice-oriented literacy education for all children across the K-8 curriculum.

Our approach is centered on a 4 stage implementation process that covers a 3 year period. These overlapping stages are fluid and are in a constant process of development.  For some schools, this will take less time to complete and for others perhaps even a longer time period. There is no exact or “right” schedule for this framework as it is very individual to each learning community. This model is flexible and can be adapted and modified depending on where your school is with literacy instruction, formative assessment and the other systems of change. 
  • Stage one begins with physical changes in the school to bring about and promote access to books for children, teachers, parents and administrators. Stage one also includes coaching in the development of teams, collaboration and capacity building with the goal of building a culture of trust.
  • Stage two introduces balanced literacy to the teachers and school leaders through on-going professional development workshops and follow-up team meetings
  • Stage three encompasses ongoing professional development on the CCSS and instructional shifts with the tenets of balanced literacy.
  • Stage four intensifies ongoing professional development on formative assessment in the balanced literacy classroom.
Dr. Margaret PolicastroRoosevelt UniversityPresentationRoosevelt University Executed Contract1Yes
24 and Instruction

​The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.  We believe that in order to improve outcomes for all students—and advance instructional equity and outcomes, in particular, for African American, Latino, and low-income students—our nation’s best teachers must both inform the policies and conditions that shape and impact their learners’ success, and lead a transformation of the teaching practice.

We offer an alternative to the traditional model of improving schools and developing teachers through professional development—the model which, despite an annual investment of billions of dollars, has not proven to be an effective use of district resources or of teachers’ time. 

Our Transformative Teacher Teams are designed to: 

  • Place highly effective teachers at the center of instructional improvement in schools as leaders of their peers. 
  • Establish a teacher-led professional learning process to address instructional challenges that teachers are facing in their classrooms
  • Empower teacher leaders to helm critical school-wide initiatives
  • Help administrators and principals support the professional growth of their most successful educators. 

We can also help schools complete their Workplan for School Improvement and their needs assessment through the Illinois Quality Framework for IL-EMPOWER. ​​​
Kristen CicioraTeach PlusPresentationTeachPlus Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
25 and Climate, Governance and Management
​APEX is comprised of experienced education professionals focused on providing schools, districts, and governmental entities with analysis and research-based supports to improve student success and assist school/district leaders and teachers with holistic supports and effective strategies to engage students and increase achievement. They focus on school needs to develop customized plans, techincal assistance, ongoing coachin/mentoring to meet the local needs and priorities. They use their comprehensice needs assessment and equity audit to determine school needs. 
Todd A. ZoellickapexNo
26 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. ​

Cindy DollmanPROE CenterNo
27 and Climate

Umoja equips young people to succeed in college and confidently claim their future. Our mission is advanced by being an on-the-ground partner and professional development provider for schools, districts, and community organizations to ensure every student graduates from high school ready for college and career success.

Our approach is to support teachers, school leaders, and youth professionals by equipping them with the knowledge, skills, and tools essential to increasing on-track and graduation rates, decreasing disciplinary infractions and increasing college enrollment. Umoja’s Professional Learning Team offers Social Emotional Learning and Restorative Justice professional development, curriculum, and customized support to promote a positive school culture and student success. ​

Rosa Zamora, Director of Strategic PartnershipsUMOJAPresentationUMOJA Student Development Corporation Executed ContractYes

​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 CapacityInstructionStudent 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 ( 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. ​

Dr. Steven TozerUICPresentationNo
29 and Instruction, Governance and Management
Based in Baltimore, with an office in Washington, DC and consultants across the country, UPD Consulting is a minority-owned management consulting firm that supports education transformation in schools, districts, and state education agencies. What sets UPD apart from most other consulting firms is our dedicated focus on implementation. We provide comprehensive management consulting and instructional improvement services with a focus on best practice implementation, data use, systems improvements, and change management. 
We support schools through comprehensive school improvement processes by building the capacity of school teams to use data to improve student outcomes. Our supports include developing data collection/tracking systems, leadership coaching, and facilitating data-driven strategic decision-making sessions. Our process enables authentic ownership of and strategic decision making by participating schools during planning and throughout implementation.
Significant gains in district and school achievement happens when educators intentionally improve instruction. Yet, in the high stakes and highly visible school accountability environment, sustainable change requires more than just rolling out the right teaching initiatives. Turning initial shifts in practice into lasting improvements requires deliberate focus on change management and on growing an improvement culture. We support schools to reach their goals by:
  • Deeply understanding your context -
    We begin every engagement by conducting an initial landscape analysis to understanding what you’re doing and to clarify what’s working and what isn’t. ​This enables us to see your strengths and challenges clearly, and clarify which tools, strategies, and actions are the most appropriate to your situation and mission.
  • Supporting instructional improvement -
    Successful change requires uninterrupted focus on teaching and learning. The foundation of our instructional supports is ongoing coaching and job-embedded professional learning with a priority on deep understanding of college- and career-ready standards and use of best practices in improving alignment of the written, taught, and tested curriculum.
  • Building your capacity to manage for impact -
    Deliberately managing for impact matters in driving the speed and quality of improvement, as well as growing school capacity to sustain the change in the long-run. Our change management supports include: change management coaching for leaders, design and implementation of tailored, data-driven continuous improvement practices, and facilitation of learning networks of teachers and school leaders to accelerate the pace of learning and change.
Douglass Austin, CEOUPDPresentationUPD Consulting with Afton Partners Executed ContractYesElaine Budish, Director
30 and Climate, Curriculum and Instruction

​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 ( 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.​

Richard A ColemanULLCPresentationUrban Learning and Leadership Center Executed Contract1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6Yes
31 and Climate
New Leaders was founded in 2000 based upon the core beliefs that: 
  • Every student can achieve at high levels; 
  • All adults must take responsibility for student learning and achievement; 
  • Great schools are led by great leaders; 
  • With access to outstanding public education, all students can unlock their full potential in the classroom and life; and 
  • Delivering high-quality public education to all students is critical to a just society.  
New Leaders partners with 30+ high-need communities to transform failing schools and close the opportunity gap between students in low-income communities and their more affluent peers. After our first decade developing aspiring principals, we broadened our work to develop more leaders who reach even more students with greater impact. We now develop transformative teacher leaders, assistant principals, new and veteran principals, as well as district and charter management organization (CMO) managers. To date, we have provided a range of supports through the recruitment, selection, development, and support of about 3,200 educators serving nearly 500,000 students nationwide. 87% of the kids we serve are of color, and 78% are from low-income households. 
We know that expectations matter—when teachers and leaders believe their students are capable of great things, those children are more likely to live up to that expectation. Research also shows that educators of color are more likely to hold high expectations for students of color. We are proud that we have developed thousands of exemplary school leaders, 70% of whom are people of color, compared with just 20% of school leaders nationally. These experiences show that we can strengthen our education workforce by developing talented leaders of color. We also work to build policies and practices that allow strong leaders to improve student outcomes. 
Studies prove that our approach works—the RAND Corporation recently named us the principal preparation program with the strongest evidence of positive impact. Preliminary results from RAND’s evaluation of our 2012 i3 grant show that New Leaders has a statistically significant positive impact on student achievement, student attendance, and principal retention. These findings reaffirm and appear to show an even stronger “New Leader effect” than what was reported by RAND in their 2014 report—after studying our leaders for 10 years, RAND found that students outperformed their peers specifically because they had a New Leader Principal. Related district and charter leaders shared that New Leaders understood their needs and responded to them accordingly, provided better value for their money, and built their capacity to identify highly qualified leaders in-house. 
For over 17 years, New Leaders has worked to prepare all children, particularly students of color and those living in poverty, for success in college, careers, and citizenship. We have trained more than 3,200 leaders who are driving academic success for nearly 500,000 students nationwide. Our approach to implementing services with schools and districts is deeply rooted in partnership. We see ourselves as true collaborators in meeting the unique needs of a school or district and work together to build their internal capacity to achieve their vision of success. New Leaders works hand-in-hand with all our clients, delivering solutions that build on their strengths and address their most pressing priorities. We offer tailored, evidence-based training that responds to local contexts in collaboration with our clients to ensure that all children, particularly students of color and those living in poverty, are prepared for success in college, careers, and citizenship.
Claudia Alfaro, National Senior Executive Director of New Site DevelopmentNLOPresentationNo
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