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​Empowering Leadership Teams to Utilize Data

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

A​s we e​mbark in earnest on the new school year, I have been reflecting on the qualities of effective leaders. To me, being an effective leader means knowing when to lead and when to ask others to take the reins. This can be hard for us to acknowledge, and even more difficult to put into practice because we are so invested in our work and want to ensure we reach our goals. But we can’t do everything on our own—we have to empower our colleagues to contribute to our school improvement efforts. And in order for them to be effective, they have to be able to see the whole picture. For school leaders, this means providing everyone on our Leadership Teams with opportunities to learn how to: determine data needs, analyze data, and use data to make decisions about how to make the school environment a better learning environment for all students. The more we as leaders share in these responsibilities, the richer we make our teams and the more successful our efforts will be. Holding the data close to us is clearly not the way to increase success—but simply handing data over to the Leadership Team is also not the answer. Effective teams will engage in ongoing dialogue about the data, which allows both individuals and the team to grow in order to reach their goals. In this newsletter, we will learn how some of our colleagues are using data with their Leadership Teams to guide their school improvement efforts. As you hear their stories, consider ways your Leadership Team can work together to use data to inform your efforts.


Betheny Lyke, Ed.D.


On the Road to Transformation – Cicero School District 99

Transfor​mation can be a long, difficult process, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. Watch as Illinois CSI shares the journey of Cicero School District 99 on the road to transforming their systems by aligning their district and school improvement plans down to the classroom. The result of this collaboration rekindles the joy of reading for students.

Feel free to share this video with your networks. We are proud of the work Cicero has done. If you have a story of your work with Illinois CSI email us we'd love to write about it.

Illinois CSI's 2016-17 Research Forum Series Tackles School Culture

On Thursday, Oct. 6, the Illinois CSI Research Forum series will return with an event in Springfield featuring Dr. Anthony Muhammad. The event is titled "Unmasking Adult Expectations for Student Performance." This is the first of two Research Forums for the 2016-17 school year.

Dr. Anthony Muhammad, CEO of New Frontier 21

Dr. Anthony Muhammad is a best-selling author and CEO of New Frontier 21 Consulting, a company that provides high-quality professional development to educators all over the world. He is one of the leading voices in education in the areas of school culture and organizational climate. Prior to his current position, he spent time as a middle school teacher, assistant principal, and principal at both the middle school and high school levels. During the Research Forum, Dr. Muhammad will share:

  • ​·The factors that lead to the formation of “healthy”  and “toxic” school cultures
    · The subtle, sociological issues that affect student learning
    · Practical strategies that can eliminate staff division on critical issues of student learning​

Research Forums are open to districts receiving Priority and Focus services from Illinois CSI. Visit our website for videos and resources from this event which will be posted on at a later date. You can also join in the conversation on Twitter (add event hashtag) and share your thoughts on unmasking adult expectations for student performance.

The Illinois CSI Research Forums bring together national and local experts who share the latest in research and best practices with district leaders. Information about the Research Forums and resources from past Forums can be found here:


Illinois CSI Launches a New Year of District Leadership Team Learning Networks

The District Leadership Team Learning Network (DLTLN) is a series of dynamic, interactive sessions that bring District Leadership Teams (DLTs) from across the state together as an extension of the coaching that districts receive from Illinois CSI. Participants establish a broad community of practice that connects and supports district leaders to deepen and expand their continuous improvement efforts.

Last year our series of Priority DLTLN events brought us together through content related to Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, Balanced Assessment, and Family Engagement. Participants rated these events as excellent opportunities to collaborate with network colleagues from other districts, as well as their own to deepen their improvement efforts!  

The 2016-2017 series of DLTLN events is kicking off very soon in your area! Our Illinois CSI DLTLN Planning and Delivery team has been hard at work reviewing data to determine district needs to deliver the most impactful events for the upcoming year. Through that data review, we have developed a balance of events specifically designed for districts receiving Priority services.

Priority Services District Leadership Team Learning Network

We are offering two locations for the October Priority DLTLN. During both events, we will examine the usefulness of data; its interdependence among the district, school, and instructional levels; and how multiple data points allow districts to triangulate data for sound decision-making. During our work, we will also collaborate with our network colleagues to strengthen district efforts. We will once again offer highly engaging breakout sessions for you to work through these components with your district teams and apply best practices to your own district context.

We look forward to seeing you at one of the following events:

October 19, 2016

Embassy Suites by Hilton-Naperville

1823 Abriter Court

Naperville, IL


October 20, 2016

President Abraham Lincoln Springfield/ DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

701 E Adams St

Springfield, IL

Coming Attractions!

Look for information in the next issue about our exciting new addition: the roll out of DLTLN sessions specifically designed for district receiving Focus services!


Let's Get Social

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.


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