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Region 9's Top 2023 Resources to take with you into 2024

By Laura Checovich, December 18, 2023

Let’s be honest… You’re a busy school or district leader.  We all have the best intentions to keep learning and finding new resources, but your time is limited and precious.  If only there was somewhere you could go to get a lot of great information in one place… We’re here to help!

In 2023, Region 9 developed many resources that tackle the intricacies of teacher recruitment and retention, sound financial management, and fostering student well-being. The resources outlined in this Top 2023 Resources guide facilitate informed decision-making and strategic planning. By immersing yourself in these resources, you will glean actionable strategies for aligning resources effectively, and proactively addressing the challenges that lie ahead. As we stand on the precipice of a new year, these resources serve as a compass, guiding you towards educational excellence and holistic student development.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Recruiting and Retaining Teachers: A Resource Brief Collection

For educators and administrators immersed in the perpetual challenge of teacher recruitment and retention, "Recruiting and Retaining Teachers Resource Brief Collection" arises as a strategic playbook. Filled with practical and succinct strategies, this set of briefs unveils strategies to attract and retain top-tier educators. These seven briefs outline the most common challenges related to recruiting and retaining teachers from underrepresented backgrounds or with certain certifications. Using these briefs, you can proactively address the perpetual challenges in maintaining a motivated teaching workforce. It's not just about attracting talent; it's about cultivating an environment that nurtures their professional growth and unwavering commitment to the teaching profession.

Financial Planning and Decision-Making

Braiding and Blending Federal Funds: A Step-by-Step Guide for Illinois Schools

This guide outlines effective strategies principals, superintendents, business managers, and other district leaders can use to support unified programming for students by coordinating resources to avoid duplication in services. This guide provides users with the steps for braiding and blending funds and strategies for identifying priority areas and federal funding categories and programs. This guide is a strategic roadmap, supporting the braiding or blending of federal grants, but districts also should consider the available—and often more flexible—state and local fund sources as they develop coordinated funding strategies.

4 Essential Questions About Financial Transparency in School Districts

This blog serves as an outline for school leaders navigating the complex terrain of financial transparency. It outlines practices for fostering transparent financial management, recognizing the pivotal role it plays in today's era of information overload and ubiquitous internet access. In the current landscape, accountability stands as a paramount consideration and schools and districts find themselves uniquely tasked with the responsibility of upholding financial transparency within their school communities. The resource presented in this blog serves as a catalyst for informed discussions, cultivating a culture of openness and understanding regarding financial matters. The blog also provides actionable insights to empower school leaders in fostering a culture that values and prioritizes openness in financial management.

Effective Use and Sustainability of American Rescue Plan Funding

In 2023, R9CC collaborated with state and district leaders in Iowa to facilitate conversations on effective implementation and sustainability of evidence-based programs and promising practices supported with American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER funds. The resources presented to this group provide a panoramic overview of leveraging funds to accelerate student learning and support longer-term recovery efforts. The presentations shared strategies district leaders can use to 1) address learning loss, 2) strengthen student well-being, 3) determine cost-effectiveness of programs, 4) address teacher and staff shortages, and 5) support students with disabilities.

Student and Staff Well-Being

Ingredients for Student Success: Integrating Social-Emotional and Academic Learning

This blog encourages educators to explore the crucial elements underpinning students that thrive. By first explaining the differences between social-emotional and academic learning, this resource becomes a compass for educators crafting a well-rounded educational experience. Educators will find examples of how to implement these practices as well as a set of reflection questions to guide fostering a supportive learning environment and contributing to the overarching success and well-being of their students.

Collaborating to Support Student Well-being

Another recent blog underscores the pivotal role of collaborative efforts in nurturing the overall well-being of students, especially as in recent years, we have seen an alarming increase in student mental health challenges. Teachers and school leaders are critical to developing effective collaboration and creating a positive and inclusive atmosphere prioritizing the well-being of each student. The blog also links to resources from the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments on SEL and mental health myths and encourages educators to consider how they can best support student and staff well-being.

Supporting Students Transitioning in Alternative School Settings

Rounding out our top 2023 resources is the webinar "Supporting Students Transitioning in Alternative School Settings." Tailored for educators seeking insights into aiding students navigating alternative educational landscapes, this webinar highlights student perspectives and offers practical strategies and interventions. Educators can leverage this resource to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges students face during transitions, acquiring tools to foster a supportive and inclusive atmosphere in alternative school settings. By watching this webinar, educators will learn strategies for creating a more welcoming learning environment, how schools can pair students with a significant adult in their school, and how staff can communicate more transparently to support students in their transition.


Let these resources be your guiding compass as you plan and strategize for the upcoming year. Dive into these resources, extract actionable strategies, and position your school or district for success!