Administrators' Academy Changes Aim to Better Education

January 18, 2001


ChicagoThe Illinois State Board of Education will implement a series of changes to improve the Administrators’ Academy, a program that provides professional development to Illinois’ approximately 6,700 school administrators.

The changes, reviewed today by the State Board at its regular monthly meeting, should give local school superintendents, principals and other administrators additional skills and resources to help improve their instructional leadership and as a result, student achievement and local schools.

“Our local administrators are at the top of the list of those responsible for our students’ success. Local superintendents and building principals help set and carry out the policies that guide our children’s academic lives,” said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee.

“Our education system counts on those people being as attuned and prepared to deal with students’ needs as possible, and these measures will help to accomplish that,” McGee said.

The Administrators’ Academy is a professional development program overseen by the State Board and conducted through the 45 Regional Offices of Education (ROEs) and three Intermediate Service Centers (ISCs) in suburban Cook County. State law requires all Illinois educators holding an administrative certificate to complete two academy activities in every two-year cycle of training offerings.

The State Board’s Certificate Renewal division has been working with a subcommittee of Administrator Academy coordinators from the ROE and ISC offices to identify program needs and recommend program revisions.

The Continuous Improvement Partnership (CIP), the Academy’s advisory committee, also worked with State Board staff to focus on quality control issues, identify needs and provide direction.

Finally, the State Board contracted with the MGT of America consulting firm to conduct an outside evaluation of the Academy. This review is the first formal review of the Administrators’ Academy since its inception in 1985.

State Board staff has already worked to streamline the Academy by slashing the number of redundant and outdated courses offered. The Academy now offers about 200 classes and professional development activities, down from about 1,000.

Specifically, ISBE staff recommends the following actions to improve the Administrators’ Academy:

  • Develop a comprehensive vision and strategic plan, aligned with various key State Board strategies and priorities and communicated.
  • Develop a continuum of professional development activities to promote growth in leadership skills and focus on the Illinois Professional School Leader Standards, State Board priorities and local school improvement plans.
  • Require each administrator to create a professional development plan, which would be incorporated into his or her local school district’s Continuing Education Plans for Administrators.
  • Develop and offer a greater variety of courses focusing more on the Professional Leader Standards; help ROEs to design courses that provide effective staff development and facilitate the development of more state-level courses.
  • Review and revise criteria for approval of Academy courses; offer professional development to all ROE and ISC staff members on the design of the most effective courses; develop additional state-level courses through outside contractors; review all Academy courses every two years and update as necessary.
  • Use technology to enhance communication and streamline Academy operation at state, regional and local levels.
  • Conduct periodic evaluation of Academy through course audits and through review together with the CIP, ROEs, ISCs and all other Academy partners.
  • Seek increased funding in FY 2003 to implement and maintain the recommended improvements. The State Board’s FY 02 proposed budget appropriates $858,000 for the Academy.