Illinois Principal Quality Efforts Nationally Recognized

Jeremy Anderson, President of Education Commission of the States; Dr. James Applegate, Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; Dr. Harry Berman, former Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; Dr. Erika Hunt,  Director of SLP funded IL-PART grant, Center for the Study of Education Policy; and Dr. Chris Koch, State Superintendent. of the State of Illinois receiving the Frank Newman Award for Innovation at the ECS Award Ceremony (Photo courtesy of the Education Commission of the State)."

From left to right: Jeremy Anderson, president of the Education Commission of the States; James Applegate, executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; Harry Berman, former executive director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; Erika Hunt, director of SLP-funded IL-PART grant, Center for the Study of Education Policy; and Christopher Koch, Illinois State Superintendent receiving the 2014 Frank Newman Award for Innovation. (Photo courtesy of the Education Commission of the States)

Since 2005, Illinois has pursued improving the quality of school principals as a top priority to reform K-12 education. A Commission on School Leader Preparation, followed by an Illinois School Leader Task Force, paved the way for groundbreaking state legislation in 2011, requiring alignment with new criteria for principal preparation programs and certification standards.

Behind this progress is a strong collaboration between the Illinois Board of Higher Education, the State Board of Education, and the Center for Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. On July 1, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) presented the 2014 Frank Newman Award for State Innovations to the three entities for their work. “In improving our schools, there is little that matters more than the quality of our principals,” said ECS President Jeremy Anderson, in a press release. “Illinois’ work exemplifies what can happen when stakeholders collaborate in such a critical area.”

From left to right: Dr. Harry Berman, former Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, ECS Chair; Dr. Erika Hunt, Director of SLP funded IL-PART grant, Center for the Study of Education Policy; Dr. James Applegate, Executive Director, Illinois Board of Higher Education; and Dr. Chris Koch, State Superintendent; State of Illinois receiving the Frank Newman Award for Innovation at the ECS Award Ceremony. (photo courtesy of the Education Commission of the States)

Nevada Governor and ECS Chairman Brian Sandoval, second from left, joins (l. to r.) Harry Berman, formerly of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; Erika Hunt of the Center for Study of Education Policy; James Applegate of the Illinois Board of Higher Education; and Illinois State Superintendent Christopher Koch at the ECS award ceremony. (Photo courtesy of the Education Commission of the States)

In 2013, the Illinois State University, in partnership with several other state higher education institutions and high-need school districts, launched the Illinois Partnerships for Advance Rigorous Training (IL-PART) project to build upon the redesigned principal preparation programs as well as new principal performance evaluations that must incorporate multiple measures of student growth. Supported by a $4.6 million, five-year School Leadership Program grant from OII, the consortium of universities and school districts will build upon the recent policy changes by identifying the key elements of effective district/university partnerships, and evaluating several principal internship models’ impact on student learning outcomes.

Illinois’ work has also been highlighted in recent publications by the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures, in a seminar for legislators, and during a webinar co-hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Continuing efforts on school leadership improvement in the state can be found at the Illinois School Leadership website.

Cross-posted from the July 24, 2014 edition of The Teachers Edition, a weekly e-newsletter of ED’s Office of Communications and Outreach.