The Illinois Center for School Improvement (Illinois CSI) is an organization created by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and American Institutes for Research to help district leaders from underperforming urban, rural, and suburban schools transform their systems to ultimately drive higher student achievement. Illinois CSI starts its work at the district level, partnering with school superintendents and other leaders to connect the dots between strong leadership teams and successful students—a data-driven strategy proven to produce high-performing schools.
Why Our Work Matters
Although many education consultants draw conclusions and make recommendations, Illinois CSI uses a distinctively hands-on, collaborative approach that places district leaders front and center in driving their own transformations to get long-term results. To ensure consistent improvement that leads to higher student achievement statewide, we equip district leaders with research and best practices, and they, in turn, use this information to empower their teachers so they can perform their jobs effectively.
By the Numbers:
- Illinois CSI works with 96 districts encompassing 402 schools. It provides:
- Priority services to 30 districts that score in the lowest 5 percent
- Focus services to 66 districts with schools with underperforming subgroups populations, including students from low-income households, those who have special needs, and those for whom English is a second language
Illinois CSI services generally fall within four categories:
- Partnering with districts to transform their systems through a step-by-step process of assessment, data interpretation, planning, coaching, collaboration, and progress monitoring to ensure continual improvement.
- Providing resources including an arsenal of research-based processes and tools such as our Core Functions and Indicators, "big ideas" of effective practices to improve management, operations, teaching, and learning and ensure continual improvement.
- Facilitating the ongoing District Leadership Team Learning Network and Research Forums as added value to our direct services as they bring together district leaders and their teams from across the state for day-long meetings, where they glean the latest research, share challenges and experiences, develop tools and ideas, and encourage and inspire innovation as they work to improve their schools.
- Coordinating more specialized support through our network of statewide system of support partners (SSoS) and affiliates, such as the regional offices of education and intermediate service centers, the Illinois Principals Association, the Illinois Association of School Boards, the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the Illinois Multi-Tiered System of Support-Network, the Illinois Resource Center, Governors State University, and the South and West Cook Suburban Cook County Mathematics Initiative (University of Illinois). We help districts ensure that these services are aligned.
Illinois CSI is operated by American Institutes for Research [js2] (AIR), one of the world's largest behavioral and social science research and evaluation organizations specializing in district and school improvement on behalf of ISBE.
As a result of working with Illinois CSI, district leaders overwhelmingly agree that their schools are using the evidence-based practices we provide to make systemwide improvements that will lead to real and significant change. Among the evidence of improvement:
- 92 percent of districts said they established routines that support collaborative work and evidence-based deliberation
- 18 of 19 districts needing an effective data system are in the process of developing one
- 75 percent said they are on track or ahead of schedule to meet their improvement goals
For more information, please contact Illinois CSI at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-649-6500. To get ongoing updates on Illinois CSI news and events, please sign up for our newsletter by submitting your name, title and employer, and email address to email@example.com.