The Illinois Partnerships Advancing Rigorous Training (IL-PART) project, directed by the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, represents a collaborative effort between high-need districts and universities that have come together in formal partnerships aimed at transforming leadership preparation and development using a collaborative model. IL-PART is comprised of 3 qualifying high-need district/university partnerships:
- Aurora (East) District 131/North Central College;
- Bloomington District 87/Illinois State University; and
- Quincy District 172/Western Illinois University.
The grant also partners with the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness at Loyola University-Chicago and the Catholic school diocese representing Aurora, Bloomington, and Quincy.
The consortium of partners collaborate in a two-fold effort aimed at: 1) enhancing the role of the district/university partnerships in creating rigorous and relevant principal training programs aligned to the complexities faced by today’s principals; and 2) working collectively to improve teaching and learning and support high academic standards for students in participating high-need districts.
Three clear goals will guide the IL-PART Project:
- Goal 1: Prepare highly-effective school principals and assistant principals that positively impact student learning in high-need districts;
- Goal 2: Develop effective partnerships between university partners and high-need districts to build leadership capacity in an effort to improve student outcomes.
- Goal 3: Dissemination of IL-PART evaluation findings and emerging best practices in principal preparation and partnership development
School Leadership Program Highlights: Illinois State University
The School Leadership Program (SLP), housed in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement, provides grants to support the development, improvement and expansion of programs designed to provide high-need schools with high-quality leaders. In this edition of the SLP Highlights, how Illinois State University (ISU) used SLP funding to test and implement academies for administrators across the state is shared.
In 2010, Illinois passed bold and innovative legislation to strengthen the standards guiding principal preparation. The team at the Center for the Study of Education Policy at ISU supported the research-based changes and was confident that the new program standards would improve the quality of school leadership throughout Illinois. They also knew that the strengthened standards were at risk of repeal without a clear model and strong data validating impact on student outcomes. The team endeavored to produce actionable research that provided evidence on how principals impacted student learning.
“It is doubtful that we would have been able to sustain the strengthened Illinois standards for principal preparation without the SLP grant. The grant helped us validate expectations for the field and offered assurance to districts and preparation providers alike that we were on the right path.” ~ Dr. Erika Hunt, Senior Policy Analyst and Researcher, Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University.