District #87, located in central IL, has a long history of partnering with Illinois State University in the preparation of area teachers, principals and superintendents, and has a formal partnership with Illinois State specifically for the preparation of its principals. While certainly benefiting from its relationship with ISU, the District is not without its challenges. It currently has a poverty rate of 58% of students receiving free and reduced lunches). With a total population of approximately 78,000, Bloomington is proud of its diverse population, which is represented in the nearly 5,518 students enrolled in District 87. The racial make-up of the student population includes 53% Caucasian, 23% African-American; 13% Latino; 9% multi-racial; and 4% Asian. 6% of the students are categorized as limited-English proficiency.
Illinois State was established as a teacher education institution and has evolved into a university serving multiple purposes with degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Located near the center of the state, it has an on-campus total enrollment of 20,000 students. The Illinois State College of Education offers their principal preparation as a Master’s Degree program in P-12 Educational Administration. The cohort model program features 10 courses and 6 credit hours of mentored internship experiences. With this grant, ISU is in its 3rd cohort of principal candidates. Candidates are recruited from nearby school districts and have a choice of doing the full-time/full-semester internship in District #87 or the traditional internship in another school outside of District #87.