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For Immediate Release
April 24, 2006

Illinois State Board of Education announces Illinois ASPIRE
Four regional centers to carry work forward

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education is pleased to announce Illinois ASPIRE, the Illinois Alliance for School-based Problem-solving and Intervention Resources in Education. This new training and technical assistance project is funded through a five-year State Personnel Grant under Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. The primary goal of Illinois ASPIRE is to establish and implement a coordinated, regionalized system of personnel development that will increase the capacity of school systems to provide early intervening services, aligned with the general education curriculum, to at-risk students and students with disabilities, as measured by improved student progress and performance.

Illinois ASPIRE will be carried out through four regional centers—one in the city of Chicago and one each in the northern, central, and southern parts of the state. To establish the Illinois ASPIRE Centers, ISBE issued a Request for Proposals in October 2005 and applications were due in December 2005. The Illinois ASPIRE Center grants were awarded in February 2006, and the entities that will administer each of the four centers are:

Illinois ASPIRE – Chicago: Chicago Public Schools, District 299
Illinois ASPIRE – North: Northern Suburban Special Education District
Illinois ASPIRE – Central: Peoria Regional Office of Education #48
Illinois ASPIRE – South: Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville & Carbondale

All Illinois ASPIRE Centers will provide standardized professional development and technical assistance to educators and parents in their geographic regions, focused on the following topics:

  • Designing and providing early intervening services, with an emphasis on reading instruction that is scientifically research-based;
  • Student progress monitoring;
  • Response to intervention; and
  • Standards-aligned instruction and assessment.

A unique aspect of Illinois ASPIRE is the fact that it is designed to integrate components of the Illinois Flexible Service Delivery System, Illinois Reading First and the Standards-Aligned Classroom Initiative.

To facilitate school- and student-level data collection and evaluation, school demonstration/data collection sites will be identified within each region through a Request for Proposals process. These sites will receive training and technical assistance services from the Illinois ASPIRE Centers.

For more information about Illinois ASPIRE, the regional centers and applying to serve as a demonstration/data collection site, please visit the ISBE website at or contact Kathryn Cox in the Special Education Services Division at 217-782-5589 or

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Illinois State Board of Education
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Springfield, IL 62777