A federal grant will help Illinois provide assistance and oversight for struggling schools. (Photo by Liz Marie/flickr)
By Dave Dahl
SPRINGFIELD - Struggling schools in Illinois are in for some help, in the form of a Center for School Improvement.
The Illinois State Board of Education has contracted with American Institutes for Research to run the center, under a federal grant of not quite $10 million.
What does that sort of money get the state?
“Helping to identify coaches that are working directly with the schools and the districts,” says Monique Chism, ISBE’s assistant superintendent for innovation and improvement.
Chism says the money will also be used for “turnaround specialists that will be working on turning around low-performing schools, and also a portion of that is dedicated to intervene in our chronically lowest-performing districts; so, state takeover of some districts,” as has been done in East St. Louis and North Chicago.
Chism says with ISBE’s staff roughly half of what it was a decade ago, the kind of work that’s going to be done here will be done by the not-for-profit AIR.