Archive Record of Services
July – August 2006
Record of Services
The Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center works collaboratively with representatives from state education agencies in Illinois and Wisconsin to provide capacity building technical assistance around current state initiatives regarding No Child Left Behind (NCLB) implementation. State managers provide regular updates on the progress of these initiatives; following is the latest record of services for each state, carried out in collaboration with Great Lakes West staff members, subcontractors, Advisory Council members, and state department of education staff members. (Last updated July 2006)
Great Lakes West State Manager: Monique Chism, Ph.D.
Illinois Technical Assistance. In collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Great Lakes West has identified two priority areas that will guide and inform the work of the comprehensive assistance center. In August 2006, the U.S. Department of Education approved the Great Lakes West technical assistance plan for Illinois.
High School Renewal. In August 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the Higher Standards, Better Schools plan into law. The state's 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 the 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 the ISBE, Great Lakes West staff is providing a comprehensive review of the current national conversations and debates surrounding high school reform in order to consider viable approaches for Illinois. This synthesis of information will include specific demographic and achievement data for Illinois high schools, a review of other state education agency (SEA) approaches to high school reform, and best practices findings and information from the National High School Center.
Safe Schools and School Violence. In the last 10 years, the topics of safe schools and school violence have received attention from the ISBE in the form of program support, district guides, and program audits. The Regional Safe Schools Program (RSSP) is one example of an alternative education program that serves expelled or expulsion-eligible students. Since its induction in 1997, RSSP has served more than 4,000 students in urban, rural, and suburban districts throughout Illinois. ISBE is interested in exploring ways in which it can further support districts and schools with safe school initiatives.
- To support the work of ISBE, Great Lakes West is providing a review of best practice information, which will include research-based findings and also synthesize other SEA initiatives. The findings can then be disseminated to regional offices, districts, and schools.
A Change in Leadership at ISBE. In May 2006, Randy Dunn, Ed.D., announced that he would be transitioning out of his role as Illinois state superintendent to serve as president of Murray State University in Kentucky. Last month, ISBE announced that Christopher Koch, Ed.D., had been appointed to serve as interim state superintendent after Dr. Dunn's departure. Dr. Koch will begin in December 2006 and remain in this capacity until the board names a new state superintendent.
Dr. Koch obtained his bachelor's degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and then earned both a master's degree and doctorate in educational policy and leadership from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Prior to his position as assistant superintendent at ISBE, Dr. Koch taught special education and served with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Dr. Koch has been with ISBE since 1994 and was appointed director of special education in April 2001. His accomplishments as ISBE assistant superintendent for special education include ensuring the continuation of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funding to Illinois without conditions, correcting compliance issues at the state and local levels, implementing a performance-based accountability system for special education, establishing public reporting of performance data for school districts, promoting parent and school district partnerships, and embracing a philosophy of continuous improvement.