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​​​​​​​​​​The Interconnectedness of Illinois CSI Services


Betheny Lyke, Ed.D. Director, Illinois Center for School Improvement



Last month, we held multiple successful District Leadership Tea​m Learning Network (DLTLN) meetings for districts receiving Priority and Focus Services from Illinois Center for School Improvement (Illinois CSI). These meetings are a key strategy to strengthening leadership teams to support the effective implementation of district continuous improvement plans.

But the DLTLN is just one spoke connected to the hub of Illinois CSI and how we work with districts to improve student achievement.


Illinois CSI provides four key areas of service to districts across the state, including on-site coaching, DLTLN, Principal Institute, and research forum, as shown on the service alignment graphic.



Our approach is innovative and unique because all of the services we provide are interconnected, working synergistically to drive higher student achievement:


  • Building capacity and fostering teamwork among district and school leaders and staff
  • Using data to strategically guide continuous improvement
  • Promoting peer networking and problem solving
  • Emphasizing the use of evidence-based practices for school improvement

As you consider how your district has worked with Illinois CSI in each of these areas, reflect on how each spoke has strengthened your capacity in its own unique way, as well as how it has built upon the other spokes to maximize your district's ability to drive student achievement. 


Betheny Lyke, Ed.D.



​​Illinois CSI Releases Annual Review 2016: Innovations That Transform Systems



Illinois CSI is proud to release its Annual Review 2016 highlighting the progress of our work over the last year. This publication showcases the results of our partnership with the districts we serve. In this issue, we highlight 10 districts from the lens of our systemic approach to continuous improvement: Mt. Vernon SD 80; Freeport SD 145; Community High School District 218; Community Unit School District 300; Chicago Public Schools, Service Leadership Academy Network; Sandoval Community Unit District 501; Thornton Fractional High School District 215; Maywood-Melrose Park-Broadview School District 89; Peoria Public Schools; and Scott-Morgan Community Unit School District 2. We take a special look at our work with statewide system of support partners including the collaboration between our West Cook team and West 40 Intermediate Service Center. Visit our website to view the flipping book version. We hope you will take a moment to read through the stories and be inspired.



Illinois CSI Introduces District Leadership Team Learning Networks (DLTLN) for Districts Receiving Focus Services


​This month, Illinois CSI expanded its DLTLN series around the state. For the first time, districts receiving Focus Services were invited to participate as the next phase of services they would receive from Illinois CSI. Districts from across the state attended one of four sessions held in Matteson, Naperville, Springfield, and Mt. Vernon, where they had a chance to discuss their leadership teams and ways to maximize their effectiveness. Participants discussed team membership, effective meeting management, implementation and monitoring of district plans, and communication techniques. There was also time to collaborate as a team and to connect with other area districts to share ideas. Many pictures and takeaways from the event were shared on Twitter using the hashtag #ILSchoolLeaders.



Here are some comments from attendees:


Dr. Michelle Morris
Hoover Schrum Memorial SD 157

The session today was very beneficial for me; it helped me to focus on strategies that we will be able to use in our district so that our district leadership team will become more effective. We learned a lot about how we can help to enhance the continuous feedback loops from the instructional leadership team to the school leadership team and district leadership team. I am excited about the work we will do as we leave this session and go back to our district and take the effective strategies we have learned today to enhance our practices within the district.


Mary Kay Entsminger
Assistant Superintendent
Chicago Heights SD 170

Today's session was wonderful. We received many, many resources to guide our districts down this school improvement path. I am excited about using the agenda template, and I have a lot of things that I am going to share with the district.


Jeff Dase
Network Chief of Schools
Network 12, Chicago Public Schools

This professional development was really beneficial. I am leaving with immediate tools that I can implement back in my network, and I look forward to attending the next session.


Jane Bagus
Assistant Superintendent
Berwyn South 100 ​

Our takeaway is that we are going to have an agenda with action plans that trickle down to the principals and teachers, and we are really excited about that. We really learned a lot; there were resources, best practices, and research that we had an opportunity to discuss as a team. The most important part of the day was connecting with other districts.  


Paula Metcalf
Instructional Coach
Mt. Vernon SD 80

Today I've been able to pull information from other schools and the way they collaborate with their teams. Just hearing that we are on target; we're doing what they're doing. Everybody is doing the same thing and we're working for those goals. It's nice to hear that you're on track and you're doing what you're supposed to be doing.



A Guide Through the Classroom Assessment Process

The Illinois CSI Instructional Support Specialists have launched a new series of modules titled "A Guide through the Classroom Assessment Process," which you can find here. This series consists of six modules focused on the skills needed to create valuable classroom assessments that will yield data that enhance the learning process.​​

The six modules are:

  1. Introduction to Assessment
  2. Alignment and Planning
  3. Item Types
  4. Scoring
  5. Score Reporting and Feedback
  6. Validity

Each module consists of a slide deck, a narrated presentation video, and handouts (select modules have handouts). Districts may access and use these modules as needed for their own internal professional development.



Useful Resources

The webpage for our October 2016 Research Forum featuring Dr. Anthony Muhammad has been updated with full videos of the event. You will also find pictures, handouts, slide decks, and the "Ask the Expert" segments that Dr. Muhammad recorded.

Join us as Dr. Muhammad returns for our next Research Forum in Bloomington on February 8, 2017. Below is a sampling of feedback received from October's postevent evaluations:

  • Dr. Muhammad was very engaging and was very thought provoking.
  • Love the analogies to gardening. Anthony has a gift for making people want to know his message. I am looking forward to hearing what he shares in February. Today was well worth missing a day of school.
  • Many of the activities discussed and used today will be used at our school! Excellent information also engaging and interesting.
  • Super presentation! We are dealing with culture issues in our district and his information is both valuable and useable.
  • This was excellent and I am really looking forward to February. I really heard some amazing practical tools to take back and use right away in my work and it's not a hammer!
  • This is the best forum l've attended. He kept my attention the entire time and gave practical strategies to implement in districts.
  • Wonderful speaker who offers empirically based solutions to major educational issues. Will definitely reflect on this research and apply it to my own work.





​Social Media Soundbites

Join the discussion on social media by following Illinois CSI on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. We also encourage you to share your stories, photos and resources using the hashtag #IllinoisCSI.​






Contact Us

1120 East Diehl Road
Suite 200
Naperville, Ill. 60563-1486