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October 24, 2003

State Board of Education announces grants to regional agencies to provide services to schools in academic difficulty

The Illinois State Board of Education today announced grant awards totaling about $6.9 million to ten regional agencies to help provide services to schools in academic difficulty, particularly those on the state’s academic early warning and watch lists.

The grants were made under ISBE’s System of Support, which has responsibility for providing technical assistance to schools identified for school improvement based on state test data and as required under the No Child Left Behind Act as well state law.

“No Child Left Behind has required us to re-think how best to help the schools in academic difficulty,” said Robert E. Schiller, State Superintendent of Education. “We have developed a new model that will deliver these important services in the most cost-effective way possible, through local providers instead of a centralized state government approach.”

Historically, the System of Support has provided technical assistance directly through ISBE staff members and a support program called “Educators-in-Residence.” However, with the growing number of schools in need of technical assistance and in order to meet the demands of state and federal laws, the enhanced and regionalized approach was developed to assist schools in helping all students master the challenging content of the Illinois Learning Standards.

A request for proposals (RFP) was released in late July, inviting qualified providers to compete for funds to assist schools in their school improvement efforts. Those competing for the funds were required to demonstrate in their proposals that they were capable of providing services to schools in four broad categories:

  • Data analysis and school improvement plan development.
  • Alignment of local curriculum and assessment practices to the Illinois Learning Standards.
  • Enhancement of teacher and administrator capabilities to raise student academic performance.
  • Strategies to increase student, parent, and community support related to increasing the academic performance of all students.

Grantees, under the supervision of the ISBE System of Support, will work with schools and provide a wide range of tools to create comprehensive school improvement plans with measurable and documentable results, model research-based and school-appropriate teaching practices, and show how schools can become full-service agencies to meet of the needs of increasingly diverse student populations, as well as providing teachers and administrators with enhanced knowledge and skills.

There will be particular emphasis on increasing the number of teachers in Illinois who meet the NCLB highly-qualified definitions and the number that are National Board certified; for administrators, there will be increased focus on the kinds of observational and support practices that research shows lead to increases in student achievement.

The total of the grant awards is approximately $6.9 million and includes both state and federal funds. The awardees are:

Iroquois-Kankakee Regional Office of Education
189 E. Court Street, Suite 600
Kankakee, IL 60901
The Honorable Kay M. Pangle, Regional Superintendent

South Cook Intermediate Service Center
253 West Joe Orr Road
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Dr. Diana L. Grossi, Director

Boone/Winnebago Regional Office of Education 4
300 Heart Boulevard
Loves Park, IL 61111
The Honorable Richard Fairgrieves, Regional Superintendent

Egyptian Regional Office of Education 2
17 Rustic Campus Drive
Ullin, IL 62992
The Honorable Dan Anderson, Regional Superintendent

North Cook Intermediate Service Center
2340 River Road
Des Plaines, IL 60018
Dr. Barbara Haberschmidt, Director

Peoria Regional Office of Education 48
One Technology Plaza
211 Fulton Suite 207
Peoria, IL 61602
The Honorable Gerald M. Brookhart, Regional Superintendent

St. Clair Regional Office of Education
500 Wilshire Drive
Belleville, IL 62223
The Honorable Rosella Wamser,Regional Superintendent

West Cook Intermediate Service Center
928 Barnsdale Road
LaGrange, IL 60526
Dr. Gretchen Alexander, Director

Will County Regional Office of Education
2705 McDonough Street
Joliet, IL 60436
The Honorable Richard Duran, Regional Superintendent

In addition, a separate, but related award will be made to the Illinois Association of School Boards.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777