Illinois Record of Service
Great Lakes West State Manager: Monique M. Chism, Ph.D.
Great Lakes West has a collaborative, consultative approach to technical assistance. Work within identified focus areas often develops over time. As work develops or state and national priorities change, Great Lakes West may need to adapt its work to meet state needs. Following is an update on recent work with the Illinois State Board of Education.
Dropout Prevention Summit
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is working with State Farm Insurance and America’s Promise Alliance to host an Illinois Statewide Dropout Prevention Summit. The alliance’s campaign, chaired by Alma Powell, seeks to cut America’s dropout rate in half through delivery of the Five Promises: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, effective education, and opportunities to help others. The Illinois statewide summit will embrace the alliance’s Five Promises and connect educators with faith-based, government, and private-sector organizations to address the barriers that impede the successful completion of school. One of the goals of the summit is to begin building community alliances to carry on the mission of reducing dropout rates for years to come.
The Illinois Statewide Dropout Prevention Summit will be held on Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at Illinois State University's Bone Student Center in Normal, Illinois. Following are the four goals of this summit:
- Create a shared understanding of the dropout crisis and its implications.
- Develop dropout prevention action plans for all stakeholders.
- Share promising practices on prevention, intervention, and engagement.
- Develop measurable goals to increase the number of graduates.
Great Lakes West and REL Midwest are working with ISBE staff to help plan and organize the summit and identify ways to encourage further collaboration after the summit ends. America's Promise Alliance will support more than 100 state and local dropout prevention summits across the country throughout the next several years.
The Illinois American Diploma Project
Great Lakes West continues to support ISBE’s work to review and revise the Grade 9–12 learning standards to ensure that Illinois graduates successfully achieve the following:
- Enter into credit-bearing coursework in two- or four-year colleges without the need for remediation.
- Gain entry-level positions in quality job and career pathways, which often require further education and training.
In February 2009, Great Lakes West helped to convene and facilitate the second meeting of the Illinois American Diploma Project core content teams for mathematics and English language arts. These teams consist of high school and postsecondary educators with expertise in mathematics and English. The teams were joined by Roberta Parks, senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, and Mark Williams, division administrator for career and technical education at ISBE, to discuss career readiness with a particular emphasis on the importance of incorporating 21st century skills into the revised standards.
In addition, Rick Pearce, Ph.D., associate director for academic affairs at the Illinois Board of Higher Education, spoke to the teams about the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI). IAI is a collaborative process involving more than 110 colleges and universities across Illinois. The purpose of the initiative is to provide a smooth transfer of credits among postsecondary institutions in Illinois. The emphasis of this work has been on setting standards of content and rigor for coursework normally taken during the first year of college. During the meeting, teams discussed how IAI might inform the Grade 9–12 standards revision process. Great Lakes West will continue to assist ISBE with this important initiative by supporting the work of the core content teams and providing opportunities to convene stakeholders.
Districts in Need of Intervention: A Case Study
ISBE has identified a critical need: to address the growing issues related to its response to districts in need of intervention. Such districts have extensive compliance issues that do not relate solely to the district’s academic or financial status or a single agency division. Great Lakes West staff are working on a case study to document ISBE’s involvement, intervention, and oversight of a district with which the state has been working for three years. Through the case study, ISBE hopes to apply the lessons learned to the refinement of an intervention framework to use with other districts. In March 2009, Great Lakes West staff conducted on-site interviews in the district. The case study is scheduled for completion in June 2009.