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​​What We Do

High-Performing Districts, High-Achieving Students


Our mission is to lead the delivery of high-quality, research-based statewide systems of support for districts designated by the Illinois State Board of Education.


The Illinois Center for School Improvement (Illinois CSI) helps leaders from underperforming urban, rural, and suburban districts transform their systems to ultimately drive higher student achievement. Illinois CSI takes a distinctively hands-on, collaborative approach to get long-term results, empowering districts with research and best practices and placing them front and center in driving their own transformations.

Illinois CSI:


  • Partners with districts to transform their systems through a step-by-step process of assessment, data interpretation, coaching, collaboration, and progress monitoring. We deliver:


  • Priority services to 30 districts with performance scores in the lowest 5 percent statewide

  • Focus services to 66 districts with underperforming subgroups, including students from low-income households, those who have special needs, and those for whom English is a second language

  • Provides resources, including an arsenal of research-based processes and tools such as our Core Functions and Indicators​, which are the "big ideas" of effective practices

  • Facilitates ongoing District Leadership Team Learning Network and Research Forums, which bring together district leaders and their teams for day-long meetings to glean the latest research and share ideas

  • Coordinates specialized support through our network of statewide system of support (SSoS) partners and affiliates, and helps ensure alignment of state and county government and other services



About AIR


Founded in 1946, AIR is one of the largest and most successful behavioral and social science research organizations in the world. As a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, AIR is committed to empowering communities, institutions, and individuals with innovative solutions to the most enduring as well as contemporary challenges in education, health, workforce productivity, and international development. AIR's mission is to conduct and apply behavioral and social science research to improve people's lives and well-being, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.

Strategic Plan


Illinois CSI was created by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and American Institutes for Research (AIR) to provide intensive support for districts with underperforming schools. We partner with district leaders, helping them build effective leadership teams and implement research-based best practices to ultimately drive higher student achievement.

Our Core Values


We know that students thrive when nurtured, challenged, motivated, inspired, respected, and understood. Creating and sustaining a student-centered climate is difficult, especially for districts where needs overwhelm available resources. Illinois CSI was created to provide support for district and school leaders in the challenging yet rewarding work of implementing research-based strategies to change systems and align resources to increase student performance. At our core we are:


  • Collaborative
  • Innovative
  • Reliable
  • Research-Based and Data-Driven




Contact Us

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