Illinois State Board of Education’s Vision for Illinois Schools
Teach Illinois: Strong Teachers, Strong Classrooms in September 2017 to better understand staffing challenges and craft a holistic set of policy solutions to address them. The year-long effort aimed to build on the work already underway across Illinois. Teach Illinois, a partnership between ISBE and the
Joyce Foundation, began with a “year of study," which gave State Board officials a chance to conduct more than 40 focus group sessions and hear from more than 400 teachers, parents, students, principals, superintendents, college of education deans, and other partners. ISBE staff heard about challenges, such as the dilemmas rural and high-poverty urban districts face in recruiting teachers and, in particular, shortage areas such as English as a second language (ESL)/bilingual. ISBE officials also heard about promising practices and thoughtful policy ideas regarding licensure, teacher preparation, leadership, and teacher advocacy. Recommendations acquired from the focus groups were compiled into
a report that was approved by the State Board of Education on October 17, 2018.
The Teach Illinois: Strong Teachers, Strong Classrooms year of inquiry resulted in a suite of seven recommendations. Click each recommendation to learn more and track the process of each initiative.
Recommendation I: Coordinate a Statewide campaign to elevate the teaching profession and inspire young people, especially those of color, to join the profession.
To highlight and celebrate the work that teachers do every day to elevate the teaching profession, ISBE will coordinate a campaign that provides an accurate image of work that occurs in schools through a variety of avenues (e.g. social media, community outreach) and identify and support those within diverse communities who can serve as the strongest voices to share this work. The work includes contemplating a variety of issues including compensation, working conditions, and professional growth.
Elevating the teaching profession requires participation from a wide range of stakeholders (including practitioners, individuals focused on educational policy, and community members.) Utilizing community-based advocates will provide credibility to the message and may assist in the recruitment of individuals into the field as the messages shared within communities are locally specific. ISBE sent invitations to stakeholder groups in November and will convene the group in winter 2019. A more detailed timeline will be established after the first meeting.
Recommendation II: Create and incentivize opportunities for P-12 and postsecondary institutions to work together to create streamlined pathways into the teaching profession
ISBE will continue to work with stakeholders on the identification of a college and career pathway endorsement in education. Current work in Township High School District 215 in Cook County and Rockford Public Schools exemplify this work, and the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act, the Dual Credit Quality Act, ESSA, and the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act present opportunities to further this work.
As part of the PWR Act, a career pathway within the Health and Public Service Career Cluster should be formally identified no later than March 2019. This work is currently ongoing within the 60x25 regional network located at Northern Illinois University.
Recommendation III: Support partnerships between school districts and teacher preparation programs in order to closely align teacher supply and demand
Peer-to-Peer Learning Opportunities
ISBE will host regional peer-to-peer meetings between school districts, ROEs/ISCs, and institutions of higher education to identify effective partnership models in Illinois and to create guidance on developing mutually beneficial partnerships.
More specifically, questions such as the following will be considered:
- What are the elements of a successful partnership between districts and colleges/universities for the purposes of educator preparation?
- How can institutions of higher education, ROEs/ISCs, and districts work together to target high high-needs areas within a district or region?
- What experiences and supports are necessary in order to recruit, prepare, and retain a diverse teacher candidate corps?
ISBE will begin to establish meeting dates and locations imminently. The first meetings will occur in the spring of 2019 and meet quarterly thereafter.
Teacher Residency Grant Opportunity
As ISBE was formulating the Every Student Succeeds Act State Plan for Illinois, it identified a competitive grant that provides awards for a school district and an institution of higher education with approved educator preparation programs to partner in order to develop residency programs to prepare teacher candidates. Information about these partnerships will be shared via peer-to-peer learning.
The Teacher Residency grant will be released December 2018. The intent is for planning work to occur in FY 2020 and for implementation to occur in FY 2021. Three successful applicants will receive $50,000 for a planning year and an additional $200,000 if their plan is approved by ISBE to be implemented in fiscal year 2021.
Recommendation IV: Develop innovative, results-based approaches to educator preparation.
ISBE will work with the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the State Educator Preparation and Licensure Board (SEPLB) to identify appropriate and necessary competencies a beginning teacher must demonstrate as well as innovative models of delivery that emphasize inputs and outputs. This work aligns with the recommended statutory changes for job-embedded preparation programs, which were formerly known as alternative licensure programs. More specifically, ISBE will pursue legislative changes allowing competencies to be demonstrated by means other than coursework, allow additional entities outside of higher education that meet specific criteria to offer preparation programs, and create three distinct pathways for educators who are seeking licensure through a job-embedded program:
- Route 1 programs will enroll currently employed paraprofessionals or short-term substitutes with an associate degree from a regionally accredited institution or 60 credit hours who are seeking a Professional Educator License. Candidates enrolled in this route shall complete both their baccalaureate degree and requirements for a Professional Educator License in two years or less, including a yearlong-mentored internship.
- Route 2 programs will enroll currently employed paraprofessionals, substitutes, or transitional bilingual educators with a bachelor’s degree from a regional accredited institution who are seeking a Professional Educator License. Candidates enrolled in this route shall complete a yearlong-mentored internship complemented by flexibly scheduled training and coursework offered at a local site, such as a school or educational service district, or online or via videoconference in collaboration with the partnership program's higher education partner, as applicable.
- Route 3 programs will enroll “career changer” individuals with bachelor’s degree from a regional accredited institution who are not employed in the district and are seeking a Professional Educator License. Candidates for this route shall attend an intensive summer teaching academy, followed by a full year employed by a district as a teacher of record.
Work regarding competencies was introduced at the December 2018 SEPLB meeting. Work will continue through September 2019 to identify competencies and delivery models. ISBE will begin drafting rules in September 2019 to bring before SEPLB and the State Board in November 2019.
ISBE introduced changes to Part 25 (Educator Licensure) at the December 7, 2018 SEPLB meeting. The changes include repealing Section 25.620 in order to clarify that teacher candidates may be compensated during student teaching, and incorporating provisions for earning subsequent teaching endorsements by completing 18 semester hours of coursework or passing the applicable licensure content test. Changes will be introduced to the State Board of Education at its December 12, 2018 meeting.
ISBE will develop a multi-step approval process. This process will focus, generally, upon providing a means for programs to demonstrate capacity and then a multi-year time period during which to collect data to use for formal approval.
ISBE will work with members of Partnership for Educator Preparation (PEP), Diverse Learner Ready Teacher (DLRT), Continuous Improvement Community of Practice (CICP) and SEPLB beginning in December 2018 to identify the multi-step preparation program approval and appropriate outcome indicators. This work will be completed no later than December 2019.
Illinois school districts have many educators with great expertise in supporting English Learners (ELs). ISBE will partner with the Illinois Bilingual Advisory Counci[¹] to develop criteria for district-based programs leading to the ESL/bilingual endorsement in order to ensure that practicing teachers are best able to support ELs.
This work will commence in early 2019. Recommendations will be provided to ISBE no later than September 2019.
 Membership on the Illinois Bilingual Advisory Council is determined on the basis of experience in or knowledge of the various programs in bilingual education. Current membership includes district leaders, Regional Office of Education staff, district bilingual directors and coordinators, and individuals from policy groups
Recommendation V: Develop and adopt a research-based bar for licensure that leads to a highly effective and diverse workforce.
ISBE is committed to ensuring educators demonstrate basic skills and will continue to require a test of basic skills for the issuance of a license for those individuals who have not yet completed a bachelor’s degree. The ACT or SAT will be used as the test(s) of basic skills a candidate may use. The TAP will be discontinued on June 30, 2019. Prior to June 30, 2019, teacher candidates may continue to complete the TAP test or complete either the SAT or ACT. ISBE will pursue legislative changes to allow individuals who already possess a bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education to be exempt from the test of basic skills.
As identified in the Teach Illinois report, examining the relationship between performance on a test of basic skills and the effectiveness of pre-service and in-service teachers will provide ISBE insight into both the appropriate instrument(s) for this work as well as the content of the exam. To be sure, ACT and SAT scores are two means of doing this. In addition, some stakeholders suggested another way of considering basic skills is through the student submission of a portfolio. Indeed, in addition to math, reading, and writing, a portfolio approach can also include other experiences or work that can be understood as “basic skills” (e.g., demonstrated experience/evidence of engaging students, work-based learning experiences, and participation in co-curricular activities, among others).
ISBE will convene a group of practicing teachers, administrators, higher education faculty, and others no later than January 2019 to identify the appropriate content for a portfolio assessment of basic skills. Recommendations will be shared with ISBE no later than June 30, 2019.
ISBE is interested in determining the relationship between a test of basic skills and efficacy in both pre-service and in-serve teaching. ISBE will develop an application requesting the expertise of faculty from higher education and school districts with expertise in research design in order to develop and refine the appropriate methodology for studying the relationship between a test of basic skills and pre-service and in-service teaching effectiveness.
The application and identification of individuals will be completed no later than June 30, 2019. The appropriate research questions and methodology will be identified during summer and fall 2019. Data collection will begin in 2020 and conclude in spring 2022. Data analysis will begin in early 2021. Recommendations will be shared with ISBE in fall 2022.
Recommendation VI: Promote teacher leadership and career pathways with differentiated responsibilities and appropriate incentives.
As part of the ESSA State Plan for Illinois, ISBE identified a competitive grant that provides modest grants for school districts to propose and implement Teacher Leader projects. Information about teacher leadership that is gleaned from these projects will be shared via peer-to-peer learning.
The Teacher Leader grant will be released December 2018. Four applicants will be awarded grants ranging from $50,000 to $75,000 to explore a local problem of practice related to teacher leadership.
Recommendation VII: Develop robust teacher mentorship and induction programs.
ISBE will continue to advocate for funding for teacher mentoring; to modify administrative rule, as applicable; and to convene regional peer-to-peer learning opportunities for districts via IL-EMPOWER in order to share best practices in induction and mentoring.
Regional peer to peer meetings will begin in the spring 2019 and occur no less than twice each year.
ISBE will work with practicing teachers, building and district administrators, and others to identify and develop quality standards and research based guidance. These activities are aligned with the reintroduction of the new Teacher Induction and Mentoring statute.
The development of quality standards and research based guidance will commence in January 2019. This work will be completed by December 2019.
This page has been archived. The content on this page may no longer be in effect.