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.
In 2015, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) applied processes specified in the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act (ESSA) to identify struggling schools. The schools designated as Comprehensive or Targeted Support and Improvement (CSI or TSI) schools were eligible for additional services and supports aimed at helping them improve student outcomes and close achievement gaps between student subgroups. ISBE created the IL-EMPOWER program to support CSI and TSI schools statewide.
Despite funded initiatives to attract, hire, and retain teachers, Illinois continues to struggle with teacher shortages, particularly in hiring diverse teaching staff to reflect communities served by public school districts. In conversations with the Region 9 Comprehensive Center (R9CC) about the challenge, Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE’s) Department of Teaching and Learning staff raised the need for additional evidence, resources, and support to better understand teacher shortages and how to strengthen recruitment and retention efforts.