Focused Monitoring = Key Educational Procedures and Practices (federal and state government) + Educational Benefit (evidence based practices to positively impact student results)
Federal and state laws require the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to monitor and enforce special education regulations. The primary focus of the required general supervision activities is improved education results and functional outcomes for all students with disabilities. Focused monitoring is one process that the ISBE uses to implement special education general supervision requirements.
Focused monitoring is a data-driven approach to monitoring that focuses on a small number of carefully chosen priorities that have demonstrated the greatest impact on improving results for students with disabilities. This process purposefully selects priority areas to examine for compliance/results to maximize resources, emphasize important variables and increase the probability of improved results - i.e., improved student performance. This approach is a shift from a culture of compliance to a culture of accountability. It places the focus of a monitoring review on results versus process.
The identification of findings of noncompliance is also data-driven. Any finding of noncompliance is based on the data collected and triangulated through the focused monitoring process. The ISBE team leader collects and reviews data submitted by the district, conflict resolution data, staff interviews and surveys, parent surveys, student file reviews, any classroom observations that may be completed, and information gathered at the public forum.
In an effort to promote collaboration and to ensure commitment and ownership on the part of the district, the ISBE involves the district’s superintendent throughout the on-site monitoring visit and improvement/corrective action process. District interdisciplinary teams develop an improvement plan to address and correct the identified findings of noncompliance. ISBE team leaders are available for guidance and to provide information on other resources and best practices.