Focus on States
Great Lakes West State Manager: Nick Pinchok
The Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE’s) Division of Innovation and Improvement has been working to strengthen district family engagement plans and implementation of high-yield strategies that will sustain family engagement partnerships and improve efforts to join families and schools on a common path to student achievement.
Great Lakes West Priorities
Great Lakes West is working with ISBE to help build capacity across the state to strengthen and support a statewide system of family engagement planning and practice. This work will promote evidence-based decision making by learning from and incorporating exemplary practice with ISBE and other key stakeholder groups. Further, cross-division work will incorporate the needs of English learners and other diverse learners within Illinois family engagement strategies.
Over the past year, family engagement efforts have included parent involvement summits in the spring and fall of 2011 and, most recently, a series of six parent involvement webinars hosted by exemplary practitioners in Illinois. The webinars are part of the follow-up to the eight family engagement planning summits. Going forward, Great Lakes West is working with ISBE to go beyond informational webinars to strategically think about how to build the work of exemplary practitioners into a coherent, statewide family engagement plan. Great Lakes West will support ISBE and other stakeholders by expanding and connecting exemplary family engagement programs and practices across multiple divisions, developing an enhanced communication strategy and strengthening the professional development and delivery of exemplary family engagement programs.
Streamlining Illinois’ Regional Office of Education Commission
The Streamlining Illinois’ Regional Office of Education Commission was launched on February 22, 2012, to make recommendations on how the Regional Offices of Education (ROE) system can be improved through organization and consolidation, funding, and prioritizing the services that ROEs and ISBE are responsible for providing to the field. Commission members explored the current structure of the regional system, analyzed existing mandatory and “value-added” services provided by ROEs and Intermediate Service Centers, and debated ways to consolidate and hold ROEs accountable in the future.
Great Lakes West Priorities
Great Lakes West conducted a three-year analysis of state and federal funding disbursements across the state to determine if they have been equitable. Throughout the course of the Commission’s meetings, Great Lakes West managed documents; assisted with note taking; provided collaborative, critical feedback; and drafted the final report. Revisions to the statewide delivery system of support in Illinois will have wide and deep impacts, improving the system’s capacity to provide critical support to all districts and schools efficiently and effectively, especially to those districts that are persistently low achieving.
Great Lakes West plans to continue its support of implementing the Commission’s recommendations and making appropriate connections to our other statewide system of support technical assistance efforts. As next steps emerge, Great Lakes West hopes to partner with ISBE, the ROEs, and school districts to further support this strategic work across the state.