Sign In

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Focus Services


The Illinois Center for School Improvement (Illinois CSI) provides Focus services to 65 urban, suburban, and rural districts to help close student achievement gaps. Many Illinois districts have identified "Focus schools": those that during a three-year period have had underperforming subgroups–such as students from low-income households, those with special needs, or those for whom English is a second language.

These students and schools can benefit from additional support. Illinois CSI helps meet that need by providing Focus services at no cost to the district.

For a map of districts supported by Illinois CSI, click here.


How It Works


Illinois CSI services are designed to put into practice the research-based Core Functions and Indicators that: ​

  • Create strong, effective teams across district, building, and classroom leadership.
  • Build effective data systems into school culture so data are routinely used to guide and assess the implementation of best practices.
  • Create systems to monitor those practices and support continual improvement.


Root Causes and Solutions

Although the step-by-step Illinois CSI process for Focus services is largely the same as for Priority services, each of the steps described here is applied through the prism of a detailed look at root causes of problems and their solutions for specific student subgroups. More details are available in the Focus Services FAQs. The process includes:


  • Assessment: Illinois CSI undertakes an intentional data review, which includes a root cause analysis to examine relevant information and unearth sources of concern where targeted coaching support is needed.
  • Analysis: District leaders, teachers, support staff, and community members–guided by Illinois CSI and its co-interpretationSM tool that fosters consensus–collaboratively assess relevant data and analyze student achievement overall and among subgroups.
  • Planning: After identifying critical areas of need and areas for growth, Illinois CSI and the district work together to refine or create new strategies using research-based best practices to raise the academic performance of all students, with a focus on underperforming subgroups.
  • Coaching: Illinois CSI's statewide team of 100-plus professionals–who come from the school communities they serve–coach district leaders in applying proven best practices and implementing the plan to transform their districts.
  • Collaboration: Illinois CSI brings together leaders of comparable districts to share their experiences and learn about best practices. See the District Leadership Team Learning Network fact sheet and FAQs to learn more about this process.
  • Monitoring: To ensure continual improvement, Illinois CSI supports district leaders as they evaluate initial results of their new strategy, gather ongoing feedback, and constantly revise the strategy and tools as needed to ensure growth and progress.
  • Research Forums: These topic-focused forums bring together national and local experts who share the latest in research and best practices with district leaders. The Research Forum series provides content-specific opportunities to enhance understanding and incorporate the research within district conversations. Watch videos of the forums.
  • Principals Institute: As an extension of the District Leadership Team Learning Network, Illinois CSI created the Principals Institute, as a community of practice to support and connect school-level administrators to the continuous improvement efforts occurring in their districts.


Evidence That It Works


District leaders say they have found co-interpretation extremely productive in helping them review district-specific data and identify successes and challenges. Learn more about district successes on the results page, and watch Voices Of Our District to hear district partners share their experiences. ​​​​​

Districts Receiving Focus Services:

  • Addison SD 4
  • Alton CUSD 11
  • Anna Jonesboro CHSD 81
  • Argo CHSD 217
  • Aurora West USD 129
  • Beach Park CCSD 3
  • Bellwood SD 88
  • Belvidere CUSD 100
  • Berwyn South SD 100
  • Cairo USD 1
  • Calumet City SD 155
  • Carbon Cliff-Barstow SD 36
  • Carrier Mills-Stonefort CUSD 2
  • CCSD 168
  • Centralia HSD 200
  • Chaney-Monge SD 88
  • Chicago Heights SD 170
  • Christopher USD 99
  • CHSD 218
  • Coulterville USD 1
  • CUSD 300
  • DePue USD 103
  • Dolton SD 149
  • Dongola USD 66
  • East Moline SD 37
  • East Peoria CHSD 309
  • Eldorado CUSD 4
  • Fairmont SD 89
  • ​Freeport SD 145
  • Gallatin CUSD 7
  • Gen George Patton SD 133
  • Georgetown-Ridge Farm CUD 4
  • Granite City CUSD 9
  • Hardin County CUSD 1
  • Harvard CUSD 50
  • Hazel Crest SD 152-5
  • Hoover-Schrum Memorial SD 157
  • Joliet PSD 86
  • Joliet Twp HSD 204
  • Lewistown CUSD 97
  • Marquardt SD 15
  • Meredosia-Chambersburg CUSD 11
  • Mount Vernon SD 80
  • North Greene CUSD 3
  • Palatine CCSD 15
  • Plano CUSD 88
  • Pope County CUD 1
  • Quincy SD 172
  • Rantoul City SD 137
  • Rantoul Township HSD 193
  • Rich Twp HSD 227
  • Round Lake CUSD 116
  • Roxana CUSD 1
  • SD U-46
  • South Fork SD 14
  • South Pekin SD 137
  • Sparta CUSD 140
  • St Anne CHSD 302
  • United Twp HSD 30
  • Urbana SD 116
  • Wabash CUSD 348
  • West Chicago ESD 33
  • Western CUSD 12
  • Westville CUSD 2
  • Wheeling CCSD 21
  • Zion-Benton Twp HSD 126​​

Contact Us

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