March 28, 2005
BOARD TO CONSIDER GRANTS FOR TEACHER IMPROVEMENT
SPRINGFIELD - Grants totaling $3.6 million to upgrade teachers'
content knowledge and improve teaching skills will be considered
by the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) at its regular
meeting April 5 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.
Board members will vote on grants for 22 partnerships for teacher
professional development activities under the No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) Act. The Board received requests for 32 projects totaling
$8 million for fiscal 2005. This is the second year of the federally
funded program, which financed 26 partnerships with a grant of $5.3
million in 2004.
The grant projects are designed to improve teachers' knowledge of
the subjects they teach as well as enable administrators to strengthen
their ability in such areas as curriculum leadership, assessing
student learning, and developing strategies for closing performance
gaps in core academic areas.
Among the projects proposed to the Board are:
- The Chicago Teachers Project, a partnership of the University
of Chicago, the Polk Brothers Foundation, and the Chicago Public
Schools, will assist 150 teachers to fulfill NCLB and state requirements
for certification in mathematics.
- The Content & Implementation project, a collaboration of
Loyola University and the Chicago Public Schools, aims to improve
mathematics instruction in Chicago middle schools. Combining mathematics
content courses, technology workshops, and professional development
activities, teachers will not only become more highly skilled
in the classroom but also become teacher-leaders capable of spreading
enhanced pedagogical techniques throughout their schools.
- The Chicago Bilingual Summer Math Laboratory, sponsored by Columbia
College Chicago, will help teachers link mathematics instruction
to the linguistic needs of students enrolled in bilingual or English-as-a-new-language
program. The project integrates math instruction with the study
of language and the arts to promote academic success among these
students. Both students and teachers will be recruited from high-need
- The Science Teachers Excellence Partnership (STEP II), a partnership
of Illinois State University, Rend Lake College, and the East
St. Louis school district, will offer content and pedagogical
expertise in math and science for high need schools. The program
will focus on 4th-9th grade teachers. "Data retreats"
will help teachers learn to read and interpret state test results.
A summer camp for students and a summer conference for teachers
will include several hands-on activities in biology, chemistry,
forensics, physics, engineering, and mathematics.
During fiscal 2004, the Board approved $5.3 million in teacher
quality grants to 26 eligible partnerships serving more than 950
K 12 schools; 3,700 teachers; 149,000 students; and providing nearly
2,300 hours of intensive high-quality professional development activities.
At its meeting on April 5, the Board also will act on $2.1 million
in cooperative work-study grants for FY05.
Douglas Whitley, president of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce,
will address Board members on the vital link between education and
Visitors to the Board meeting should be mindful of security precautions
in place at the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Picture
ID's will be required of all who seek to attend the meeting.