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Our Work

The Region 9 Comprehensive Center provides intensive capacity-building services to state education agencies and other education stakeholders in Illinois and Iowa. We help the states, districts, and schools in our region successfully identify, implement, and sustain evidence-based programs and practices, with the goal of improving outcomes for educators and students alike. This work supports states in the implementation of their Every Student Succeeds Act and strategic plans.

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Current Work

R9CC is collaborating with ISBE to support the development of a 5-year plan for the IL-EMPOWER School Improvement Process that aligns to ISBE’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan and the State’s ESSA plan. R9CC is continuing to support the development of a learning series for school leaders, identifying strategies to support continuous improvement across departments, and supporting newly hired IECs and the Director of IL-EMPOWER with onboarding staff.

R9CC is working with ISBE to finalize and disseminate geographic information system (GIS) maps to assess current initiatives to address educator shortages. R9CC and ISBE will use the maps to better understand factors that may be affecting educator shortages and teacher diversity gaps in Illinois.

R9CC is supporting ISBE's Office of Safe and Healthy Climate to align strategic documents to support cross-department alignment, gather and analyze data on available mental health support across the state and wellness-related outcomes using GIS technology, supporting the planning and use of the GIS map and providing consultation for social and emotional learning implementation across Illinois.

R9CC is working with ISBE to support the development, implementation, and monitoring of a state- and district-led approach to resource allocation reviews (RARs) that provide scaffolded support to schools or districts based on the number of schools within a district identified as needing improvement.

R9CC will build upon the summer 2023 work with ISBE to facilitate training and coaching sessions on strength-based development and strategies to assist in the effort to create cross-organizational collaboration and effective leadership and management. R9CC will conduct assessments of the leadership team’s strengths, facilitate in-person and virtual team meetings and workshops, administer CliftonStrengths assessment for executive directors and directors, and provide individual coaching sessions for executive cabinet members.

R9CC is collaborating with state and district leaders in Iowa to plan and facilitate a Community of Practice (CoP) for school district leaders focused on effective implementation and sustainability of evidence-based programs and promising practices supported with ARP ESSER funds.

R9CC is collaborating with IDE to review their existing district needs assessment process and training materials and gather research on other states’ needs assessment processes. R9CC will also conduct interviews with AEAs and school districts across the state regarding their needs assessment process to determine strengths and areas of improvement.

R9CC is working with ISBE to conduct listening sessions and focus groups to support the collection and analysis of feedback on their newly developed literacy plan. R9CC plans to review and provide subject matter feedback on the literacy plan's second draft and determine other supports as needed over the course of the project.

R9CC will support ISBE's Department of District and School Leadership to build a department workplan that aligns with ISBE's strategic plan and support ongoing work to grow a diverse leadership pipeline across Illinois. R9CC will also develop a program profile for the department and support the department in building capacity to plan for and conduct program evaluations for current and future programs designed to support recruitment and retention of diverse leaders.

Previous Work

R9CC collaborated with IDE to identify best practice across the Teacher Leadership and Compensation (TLC) System for implementation and progress monitoring to support districts in clearly articulating the system’s effects on teaching and learning. R9CC worked to develop and implement a continuous improvement process and sustainably plan for the Iowa TLC system.

R9CC collaborated with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Talent Office to increase its capacity to measure teacher retention by streamlining data collection and analysis processes. R9CC supported CPS as they developed a strategic plan which detailed next steps for supporting continuous improvement of teacher retention and identified best practices and lessons learned to inform teacher retention initiatives in other districts in Illinois.

R9CC supported IDE staff in assessing the capacity for and needs related to implementation and systems of support for equitable practices in all content areas. R9CC collected interview data and identified where districts needed additional support to implement, monitor, and continuously improve equitable practices to increase student learning.

R9CC worked with districts in Illinois and Iowa to improve the implementation of social and emotional learning practices that promote positive learning conditions for students through structured community of practice sessions focused on instructional specialists working in rural districts.

R9CC partnered with IARSS and ISBE to establish peer-to-peer focus groups across the six IARSS service areas to provide Illinois education leaders access to a well-planned, strategic system of professional learning. R9CC also developed a final report that documented the conversations and resources shared by district superintendents through the focus groups.

R9CC worked with the Region 1 Comprehensive Center on a community of practice that supports districts in assessing the quality of remote or hybrid teaching models. R9CC and Region 1 Comprehensive Center developed a framework for district leaders to use to assess the quality of remote/hybrid learning measures from information discussed in the meetings.

R9CC worked to gather information to highlight successful evidence-based strategies implemented by schools, districts, or regional offices that exemplify good work happening within the region either in response to COVID-19 or reflecting how previous work helped them support student success during the pandemic.

R9CC collaborated with ISBE and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials to facilitate a virtual peer-to-peer series for district leadership across Illinois, involving superintendents, business officials, and other district staff to discuss how to strategically engage ESSER and Title funds to support effective long-term resource allocation.

R9CC collaborated with ISBE to improve their Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Framework to better guide districts as they implement systems to improve equitable family engagement in schools and districts across the state.

R9CC collaborated with ISBE to plan a community of practice (CoP) for district leadership teams focused on blending and braiding funds. R9CC also worked to compile the resources and lessons learned from the CoP to produce a guide for school and district leaders.

R9CC supported ISBE in co-facilitating a stakeholder engagement meeting to receive feedback on the needs of teachers, schools, and districts to ensure they are meeting the literacy development needs of students. R9CC is working to synthesize the information to present a report to determine next steps to support all students.

R9CC collaborated with ISBE’s Department of Career and Technical Education and Innovation to determine the percentage of all students, CTE students, and CTE concentrators who earn an Industry-Recognized Credential (IRC). R9CC also helped ISBE to map out the current data collection process and create a communication plan template that can be used to inform school districts about Illinois Perkins V goals and processes.

R9CC collaborated with the Iowa Department of Education to identify what practices, interventions, or supports Iowa's Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools need to make meaningful improvements and exit status. R9CC worked with IDE to gather insights from the former CSI schools and analyzed specific school data to explore what practices, interventions, or supports will prepare CSI schools to make meaningful improvements.

R9CC codeveloped a need-sensing survey with ISBE to inform professional development for district leadership, and based on the needs identified in the survey, collaborated to plan a community of practice for district leadership teams focused on blending and braiding funds.

R9CC worked with the Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) to gather data that explores factors affecting teacher recruitment and retention. R9CC worked to identify specific questions IDEO had about recruitment and retention, identified key types of information needed to support recruitment and retention decisions by state leadership, and developed survey and focus group instruments to gather needs-sensing data.