The National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators was established to help improve and implement programs under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA). Title I is the largest federally funded pre-college education program, providing funding to attain high student achievement in school districts that serve students from low-income families.
The National ESEA Distinguished Schools Program is a project of the National Association of ESEA State Program Administrators that publicly recognizes Title I schools for their positive educational advances. Only two Title I schools per state can be selected as a Distinguished School, which makes this an especially prestigious honor.
Each state may select one Title I school in each of the following two categories:
- CATEGORY 1 – HIGH PERFORMING: ◦Exceptional student performance for two or more consecutive years.
- CATEGORY 2 – ACHIEVEMENT GAP: ◦Significantly closing the achievement gap between subgroups of students.
- CATEGORY 3 – SPECIAL POPULATION: ◦Excellence in serving special populations of students (e.g., homeless, migrant, English Learners, etc.).
Each year, ISBE acknowledges the work of our distinguished schools at the statewide Every Students Succeeds Act conference and nationally at the national ESEA conference. Annually acknowledging Distinguished Schools on a state and national level serves as an inspiration to other schools.
Celebrating the success of these Illinois Title I schools on a national platform is an extraordinary opportunity and experience. It is important that as a state, Illinois participates in recognizing the good work that schools are doing to establish and implement processes for increasing school effectiveness, most especially in schools with low-income students. Furthermore, this highlights our schools as exemplars as Illinois strives to be a national change agent.
This webpage is solely dedicated to Illinois’ Distinguished Schools and features each school's unique story along with photos or videos that inspire educators to do what's needed to help every child achieve at high levels and to be prepared for postsecondary education and successful careers.