Five areas of service noted by regional superintendents

Staff Writer
Chillicothe Times-Bulletin

These are trying times for Illinois school districts. Curriculum and testing changes are putting educators and students under extra pressure to reach higher goals. Their performance is being judged more closely than ever.

Regional superintendents of schools are reaching out to districts this fall to let them know they're here to offer new help for the extra challenges.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents, representing the leaders of Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service Centers serving every Illinois county, wants all schools to know their offices have new, free tools to help. Known as foundational services and paid for with federal money that used to fund the No Child Left Behind initiative, these ROE tools are part of a partnership with the State Board of Education and Illinois Center for School Improvement.

The services are focused in five key areas:

  • Continuous Improvement – They work with districts to define educational goals, identify the leadership and resources currently in place, research the proper strategies to meet the goals and monitor those strategies to ensure they are working effectively.
  • English Language Arts – They provide training to English teachers on the expectations of the new Common Core State Standards in a number of areas, including academic vocabulary, close reading and narrative writing.
  • Math – They help math educators understand the New Illinois Learning Standards and how to create real-world problems using the problem-solving structures within those standards, as well as how to best connect classroom instruction with testing.
  • Balanced Assessment – They focus on explaining the expectations of the new Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) testing program and how to deliver education that produces the best student learning and growth.
  • Teacher Evaluation – They will train educators on expectations for educators from state legislation passed in recent years, tied to student growth and performance.

“These are technical areas that can be difficult to understand, even for educators, and some details are still being worked out as we move through this school year,” said Pat Dal Santo, IARSS President and Regional Superintendent of Schools for Kane County. “But we cannot stress enough how important it is that every school district take advantage of these free services, whether their performance is excellent or needs improvement.

“The more all of our educators understand these new expectations of them and how to use proven strategies to help students learn, grow and meet these new goals, the more successful we all will be. It's about much more than test scores and checklists. It's really about pushing students to get the most out of their potential and supporting them every step of the way. We look forward to helping schools around the state through these services and develop a stronger, more effective educational system in Illinois.”

For more information about the foundational services offered by IARSS members, visit the IARSS website and click on PD: http://iarss.org/