Leaders of five Illinois colleges of education today announced they are joining forces to create the Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network, which will address a need identified by the state’s school superintendents and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to ensure that every child has access to effective teachers.
The founding deans are:
- Robert Muller, National College of Education, National Louis University
- Sandra Beyda-Lorie, Goodwin College of Education, Northeastern Illinois University
- Laurie Elish-Piper, Northern Illinois University College of Education
- Mindy Sjoblom, Relay Graduate School of Education-Chicago
- Tom Philion, Roosevelt University College of Education
Participating institutions represent diverse pathways into the teaching profession and collectively prepare 18 percent of the state’s new teachers. The network plans to add additional members in the coming months.
“The teaching profession in Illinois is at a pivotal moment,” said Philion. “By working together with our colleagues at other institutions and with our partners in K-12, we hope to strengthen preparation and elevate the profession.”
“Every child in Illinois deserves great teachers. Our children benefit most when those preparing teachers collaborate and improve together,” said Elish-Piper.
Nearly two-thirds of Illinois school superintendents report that they have significant difficulty finding well-qualified teachers, and ISBE has identified teacher quality as a major challenge facing Illinois in the coming years.
The Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network addresses this challenge by bringing together representatives from participating institutions and their district partners to work together on improving teacher-candidates’ readiness to teach in culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse classroom settings. Together, network participants will examine state and district data to identify variations in program performance and to initiate improvements.
While several K-12 districts have adopted initiatives to support these priorities, the Network is an unprecedented example of educator-preparation programs coming together, across institutional barriers and alongside district partners, to improve the readiness of aspiring and early-career teachers.
“We’re working with school and district partners to co-design teacher preparation programs that produce classroom-ready teachers for Illinois schools. This investment will help us make sure that work is data-driven, timely and high impact,” said Muller.
“As a Hispanic-Serving university, we are very excited to participate in this effort to improve the readiness of our teacher candidates for culturally diverse schools and contexts,” said Beyda-Lorie.
“Great teachers can transform the life trajectories of children,” said Sjoblom. “Working together, we can ensure that preparation is rigorous, aligned, and evidence-based.”
The Network is being facilitated by Deans for Impact, a national nonprofit organization focused on improving teacher preparation and elevating the teaching profession. The Joyce Foundation is supporting the effort.
“Research consistently shows teachers are a main driver of student success, especially for low-income students and students of color,” said Stephanie Banchero, Education Program Director at the Joyce Foundation. “If we want Illinois students ready for college and career success, we need to ensure districts and teacher training programs work together to prepare classroom ready teachers.”
About Deans for Impact Founded in 2015, Deans for Impact is a national nonprofit organization that empowers leaders at all levels of educator preparation who are committed to transforming the field and elevating the teaching profession. More information is available on the Deans for Impact website.