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Illinois is implementing 16 state initiatives order to ensure Participating Districts will be well positioned and prepared to offer all students a top-notch education that will prepare them for success in college, career, and in life in the 21st century. One of ISBE’s primary goals through RttT is to support the leading 32 Participating Districts that will build the systems and processes needed to accelerate and sustain improved student outcomes and building capacity to extend these reforms statewide. Race to the Top funding is being used to bolster Illinois’ ongoing work on projects and programs in the following areas:

Standards and Assessments

  • LOCAL ASSESSMENT STRATEGY (LAS) SUPPORTS
    A Local Assessment Support (LAS) management entity will be selected to work with ISBE and the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) to make commercial assessments available to districts to support the measurement of student growth for performance evaluations. In addition, the management entity will work with ISBE and teachers to develop local assessment resources that will be made available through a shared resources bank.
  • P-20 PROGRAMS OF STUDY (POS) AND STEM LEARNING EXCHANGES
    P-20 Programs of Study (POS) serve as a vehicle for improving academic achievement, increasing graduation rates, and improving transitions to postsecondary education and employment. STEM Learning Exchanges are a new innovative public-private partnerships that include students and representatives from various educational institutions, research centers, business and industry leaders, labor and professional organizations, state governmental agencies, and community partners statewide organized to support local implementation of P-20 STEM Programs of Study.
    The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois Pathways Interagency Committee (IPIC), a committee created to implement educational reform initiatives that support structured pathways related to students' academic and career interests, work closely in administering all aspects of STEM Learning Exchange planning and implementation. Read more about Programs of Study and STEM Learning Exchanges.
  • PATHWAYS RESOURCE CENTER (PRC)
    The Pathways Resource Center (PRC) serves as a centralized resource and assistance center for both the STEM Learning Exchanges and school districts establishing P-20 STEM Programs of Study (POS). The PRC provides services including coordinating applications and funding proposals for federal and foundation resources and statewide technical assistance and training in implementing STEM POS. Read more about the Illinois Pathways Initiative.
  • COLLEGE AND CAREER READINESS (CCR) PROGRAM
    The College and Career Readiness (CCR) Program is designed to increase alignment between high school and college curriculums and support student pathways from high school to postsecondary education. Seven colleges and Participating LEAs with students that feed into those colleges will participate in the CCR program.

Great Teachers and Principals

  • PERFORMANCE EVALUATION REFORM ACT (PERA) PRE-QUALIFICATION PROGRAM AND SUPPORTSIn January 2012, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA), which requires all teacher and principal evaluation systems to include student growth as a significant factor in evaluations. The PERA Pre-qualification and Training Program must be completed by individuals who conduct evaluations of teachers, principals, or assistant principals. Learn more about the Pre-qualification Program.
  • SURVEY OF LEARNING CONDITIONS
    A state-adopted survey of learning conditions has been implemented across the state, as mandated under the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) legislation. The first implementation was in February and March of 2013. The survey provides feedback from, at minimum, students in grades 6 through 12 and teachers on the instructional environment within the schools. Read more about the survey.
  • PERFORMANCE EVALUATION ADVISORY COUNCIL (PEAC) SUPPORTS FOR ACCELERATED PERA IMPLEMENTATION
    A PEAC Support entity is working with the PEAC subcommittees to facilitate the development of recommendations for the teacher evaluation system's components and framework for ongoing implementation.
  • REDESIGN OF TEACHER PREPARATION PROGRAMS TO CREATE A PIPELINE OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE TEACHERS TO SERVE THE STATE'S NEEDIEST SCHOOLS
    Incentives will be provided to develop new teacher preparation programs that are in alignment with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Illinois Shared Learning Environment (ISLE)PDF Document. This project also aims to establish partnerships with Participating LEAs to support placements of teachers with extensive training on CCSS in High Poverty High Minority (HPHM) schools.
  • INDUCTION AND MENTORING SUPPORTS
    Tailored technical assistance will be provided to Participating LEAs on individual teacher and principal induction programs and the use of formative assessments related to evaluations. In addition, data will be collected and analyzed to determine the initial effect of these programs on teacher effectiveness, teacher retention, student achievement, and teacher efficacy. A process will also be developed to collect and disseminate information about best practices.

Data Systems that Measure Student Success

  • PARTICIPATING LEA INTEGRATION WITH THE ILLINOIS SHARED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT (ISLE)
    Student data will be linked across instructional systems via ISLEPDF Document, allowing educators to create integrated learner profiles that can support learning plans and other personalized learning tools. ISBE will create a professional development training plan for ISLE's implementation and use.
  • ESTABLISHMENT OF THE ILLINOIS COLLABORATIVE FOR EDUCATION POLICY RESEARCH (ICEPR)
    ICEPR's functional responsibilities include recruiting researchers and coordinating their work across multiple institutions; facilitating data sharing arrangements with LEAs and easing administrative demands of research projects; communicating research findings in a way that informs ongoing practice, policy development, and innovative program implementation; and seeking and securing external funding for projects.
  • PERFORMANCE EVALUATION REFORM ACT (PERA) RESEARCH-BASED STUDY
    Passed by the Illinois General Assembly in January 2012, the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) requires all teacher and principal evaluation systems to include student growth as a significant factor in evaluations. The PERA Research-based study will be designed and conducted to determine the validity, reliability, and effectiveness of the reformed educator evaluation system. Results from this study will be used to inform recommendations and system improvements to ISBE.

Building State Capacity and Supports

  • BUILD THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION (ISBE) CAPACITY TO FACILITATE AND MONITOR STATE RTTT PROJECTS AND PROGRESS OF PARTICIPATING LEAS
    A Race to the Top Leadership and Implementation Team has been established to monitor the status of RttT projects at the state and district level. The Team supports and monitors Participating LEAs’ progress towards completing RttT expectations.
  • CENTER FOR SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT (CSI)
    The Center will provide supports to Participating LEAs in the implementation of the RttT Expectations, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS), curriculum alignment, improvement of instructional practices, support through the Rising StarPDF Documentcontinuous improvement process, and professional development and training on how to effectively utilize the Illinois Shared Learning Environment (ISLE)PDF Document. See Illinois school sucess stories.
  • REDESIGN OF THE STATE REPORT CARD
    ISBE, in consultation with the P-20 Council and the Illinois Interactive Report Card (IIRC) at Northern Illinois University, will propose a new design of the School Report Card that will meet the requirements of the Performance Evaluation Reform Act (PERA) legislation. Once completed, the redesigned State Report Card will be introduced to Participating LEAs.
  • SUPPORT PARTICIPATING DISTRICTS AND BUILD REGIONAL CAPACITY
    ISBE provides intentional, targeted support for Participating DistrictsPDF Document and engage in more activities to leverage the successes and challenges of Participating LEAs for a statewide audience. By actively engaging regional entities in this project, the state is working to build its regional capacity, which will allow for more targeted support to individual LEAs and will ensure non-participating LEAs will have access to support post-RttT.​​​​

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