From Meridian at the state's southern tip to far north Waukegan on the shores of Lake Michigan, urban, suburban, and rural Illinois districts that need large-scale systems change receive Priority services at no cost to the district from the Illinois Center for School Improvement (Illinois CSI).
Led by Betheny Lyke , a passionate educator who has served as a superintendent, principal, and teacher, Illinois CSI understands the realities facing district leaders. For those working in districts with schools that have underperformed during a three-year period, with reading or mathematics scores or graduation rates in the bottom 5 percent of the state, the need for support is critical.
Illinois CSI partners with these districts to help them drive their own transformations and create enduring change. For a map of districts supported by Illinois CSI, click here.
How It Works
Illinois CSI Priority services are designed to put into practice the research-based Core Functions and Indicators aligned with federal turnaround principles.
Illinois CSI Priority services aim to:
- 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 best practice implementation.
- Create systems to monitor those practices and support continual improvement.
The step-by-step Illinois CSI process for Priority services includes:
- Assessment: Illinois CSI immerses itself in the district to determine its needs, reviewing extensive data collected from a variety of sources, including interviews, classroom visits, and district data. The collaborative district needs assessment (DNA) allows district stakeholders to identify opportunities for growth and determine areas for targeted coaching support.
For a more in-depth look at the DNA process, see these resources:
- Analysis: District leaders, teachers, support staff, and community members–guided by Illinois CSI and its co-interpretationSM tool[js4] that fosters consensus–interpret the data to collaboratively identify the district's strengths and challenges.
- Planning: Based on those key findings, Illinois CSI and the district work together to develop a strategy for improvement using research-based best practices proven to transform systems. These Core Functions and Indicators are the "big ideas" on which Illinois CSI services are based.
- 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 the latest research and best practices in continuous improvement planning. The District Leadership Team Learning Network is a network of leaders and teams from districts convened in quarterly day-long workshops to apply new learning to the work of their district. 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.