The Center for the Study of Education Policy (CSEP) has been included as a key partner in a five-year, $3.9 million Education Innovation and Research (EIR) award by the U.S. Department of Education to the DuPage Regional Office of Education. The funds will be used to increase principal effectiveness in performance areas that lead to increases in student achievement, particularly in rural and high-need schools. The project also includes matching grants from the Steans Family Foundation and the Tracy Family Foundation.
The project, titled Partners To Lead (PTL), will engage principals and other school leaders in 56 public schools in rural, suburban, and urban settings across the state. PTL will involve a statewide P-20 cadre made up of three Regional Offices of Education (ROE #1, #17, and #19); three universities (Illinois State, North Central College, and Western Illinois University); and a national nonprofit organization (National SAM Innovation Project). External evaluation of the project will be conducted through the American Institutes for Research (AIR).
The PTL project will implement leadership support systems that empower principals to more effectively engage teachers and staff in schoolwide instructional improvement efforts. In addition, participating schools will adopt the school administration manager (SAM) process. The SAM process redirects many administrative tasks to other dedicated staff.
“The best way to have systematic improvement is by building regional capacity. Through distributed leadership practices and an intentional focus on instructional improvements, principals will have more time to engage teachers in efforts that lead to improved student outcomes.,” said Erika Hunt, TEAM Lead co-director and senior policy analyst and researcher for CSEP.
To accomplish this work, the strategy capitalizes on existing school structures, such as Instructional Leadership Teams. School principals and staff will receive professional development and coaching supports to implement a comprehensive system of processes and routines that make existing structures more effective in improving teaching and learning.
The initial work of TEAM Lead will be to provide much needed resources and support to the three participating ROEs, located in northern, western, and central Illinois.
This project will support systematic improvement, by building regional capacity. Upon completion of the project, the ROEs will sustain the work by collaborating with their districts and local universities. The project will be co-directed by Alicia Haller and Erika Hunt, establishing a formal partnership between the DuPage ROE and the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University.
The DuPage ROE participates as a partner in two U.S. Department of Education-funded grants administered by CSEP: a $4.6 million five-year School Leadership Program grant, and a $12.5 million three-year Supporting Effective Educator Development grant.