Archive for the ‘Illinois’ Category

Just as 2011 ended, the U.S. Department of Education announced that seven states—Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania—will each receive a share of the $200 million Race to the Top Round 3 (RTT3) fund to advance targeted K–12 reforms aimed at improving student achievement.

Illinois is now one of 22 Race to the Top winners across the country. These states serve 65 percent of the nation’s children and 59 percent of students from low-income families. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a December 23, 2011, press release, “Race to the Top has been a pivotal program that has generated more progress in improving our nation’s education system over the last three years than we’ve seen over the last decade. We look forward to partnering with these states to continue this important work.”

Illinois State Board of Education was awarded $42.8 million of the $200 million grant total in the federal Race to the Top program. Illinois plans to distribute about $21 million of the funds directly to local districts that agree to accelerate education reform. All Race to the Top recipients commit to comprehensive statewide reform. In Illinois, that will focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education as well as on closing the achievement gaps.

Resources to support the new Illinois Learning Standards online tool are now more convenient and accessible. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has been working to help districts plan for and transition to the new Illinois Learning Standards. With support from the Great Lakes West Comprehensive Center, ISBE created an online tool for regional offices of education (ROEs) and districts to use in their planning. The planning tool is intended to help districts think through important questions as they transition to the new, more rigorous standards. In October, Great Lakes West provided several introductory webinars on the online tool to ROEs.

Access to the online tool and resources from the webinar, including an archive and the PowerPoint presentation, are now available on the new Great Lakes West Illinois Standards Web page. In addition to the online tool and resources related to the webinar, there are links to general Illinois standards, Common Core State Standards-related resources such as the ISBE Illinois Learning Standards Web page, and other Great Lakes West resources.

Online tool access is currently being limited to ROE coaches and district-level staff. If you are interested in what your district or region is doing to utilize the online tool, contact Great Lakes West for information on your district or region.