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Great Lakes West
Comprehensive
Assistance Center

Annual Plan of Work

ILLINOIS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

In collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Great Lakes West Comprehensive Assistance Center has identified two priority areas to guide its work in 2006 and 2007. These priority areas, which support No Child Left Behind (NCLB) efforts in Illinois, are high school renewal and safe schools.

Primary Focus: High School Renewal
In August 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the Higher Standards, Better Schools plan into law. This law increases the number of credits required for high school graduation; requires students to take more mathematics, science, and writing-intensive courses; and requires school districts to offer a broader range of electives and Advanced Placement courses. In addition, high school renewal is an "emerging issue" for ISBE board members, who wish to examine various high school redesign frameworks and conceptual approaches proposed by researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

To support the work of state staff, Great Lakes West will do the following:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of current national conversations and debates relating to high school reform in order to consider viable approaches for Illinois.
  • Compile this information into a synthesis that includes specific demographic and achievement data for Illinois high schools, a review of other state education agency (SEA) approaches to high school reform, and best practice findings and information from the National High School Center.

Secondary Focus: Safe Schools
During the last 10 years, ISBE has focused attention on the need for safe schools and prevention of school violence through program support, district guides, and program audits. ISBE's Regional Safe Schools Program (RSSP) is one example of an alternative education program that serves expelled or expulsion-eligible students in Illinois. Since its induction in 1997, RSSP has served more than 4,000 students in urban, rural, and suburban districts throughout Illinois. ISBE also is interested in exploring ways in which it can further support districts and schools with safe school initiatives.

To support the work of state staff, Great Lakes West will do the following:
  • Conduct a review of best practice information relating to safe schools and the prevention of school violence in order to consider viable approaches for Illinois.
  • Generate a compilation of research-based findings and other SEA initiatives. This compilation then can be disseminated to regional offices, districts, and schools.

WISCONSIN TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

In collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), Great Lakes West has identified two priority areas to guide its work in 2006 and 2007. These priority areas, which support NCLB efforts in Wisconsin, are statewide support for school improvement and high school redesign.

Statewide Support for School Improvement
Wisconsin DPI has taken a collaborative approach to develop a Statewide System of Support (SSOS). The SSOS will ensure that Title I schools identified for improvement receive appropriate and high-quality state support resulting in increased student achievement. Seven Wisconsin districts began a pilot of the self-assessment component of the SSOS in January 2006 and submitted their findings in May 2006. Formal implementation of the SSOS will begin in the 2007–08 academic year.

To support Wisconsin's SSOS, Great Lakes West will do the following:

  • Assist Wisconsin DPI in the design of an evaluation plan for the self-assessment pilot program.
  • Generate a synthesis of current research and literature on district support structures that result in improved student achievement.
  • Support Wisconsin DPI in the statewide rollout of its SSOS plan.

High School Redesign
State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster convened the Wisconsin High School Task Force in February 2005 and charged the committee with developing strategies to prepare Wisconsin high schools for education in the 21st century. The Task Force culminated its efforts with a report of the findings and recommendations.

To support Wisconsin DPI, Great Lakes West will do the following:

  • Assist in developing the capacity of Wisconsin DPI to implement the recommendations of the Task Force.

 

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