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September 28, 2005

Illinois State Board of Education submits plan to make Illinois schools better to Gov. Blagojevich and General Assembly
First Comprehensive Strategic Plan focuses on improving literacy, educator quality and data-driven decision making

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education has submitted its Comprehensive Strategic Plan for Elementary and Secondary Education in Illinois to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich and members of the Illinois General Assembly. The plan, a five-year road map for the State Board of Education, focuses on helping schools meet the needs of their students to prepare them for long-term success after high school. The Board developed the plan with input from education constituents in open forums held around the state in May, June and July. The plan was required for the first time this year as part of the Governor’s sweeping education reform law that he signed in September 2004. 
“The State Board developed this Strategic Plan by going out to listen to people’s ideas, concerns and hopes for Illinois education,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “Hearing what teachers, parents and business leaders have to say led to this workable, achievable plan to make Illinois schools better. This Strategic Plan sets a clear direction for the priorities that the State Board will work on to help our kids get a great education that leads to a successful future.”
With the goal of helping schools and districts improve the way they teach children, the State Board focused on three primary goal areas for the plan. While the goals in the plan are not intended to cover all the functions and priorities of the Board, they represent those areas that will have the greatest impact on children in Illinois schools.  The three goals in the Plan are:
?        Enhancing literacy, which includes fluency in reading, math, science and global awareness
?        Improving educator quality for all children, spanning teacher preparation, recruitment, retention and professional development
?        Expanding data-driven management and school support practices, for example, providing schools access to online educational research to help them develop school improvement plans, building on success achieved in other schools, districts and states
Within these goal areas, specific objectives address areas from early childhood and teacher recruitment to best teaching practices and shared service initiatives for schools. Each strategic objective directly relates to the topic areas set forth in Public Act 93-1036.
“This plan is the result of input from teachers, parents and others around the state bringing us their ideas for ways to make Illinois schools better,” said State Board Chairman Jesse Ruiz.  “At our open forums around the state there was great dialogue, brainstorming and willingness from individuals and organizations to roll up their sleeves and work side by side with us to improve education in Illinois.”
“We’ve already begun work on the first phase of the Plan. We aren’t going to let it sit on a shelf and collect dust.  We’re going to work on it throughout the Agency and report back to the Board on our progress,” said Randy Dunn, State Superintendent. “We will need to develop partnerships on some of the initiatives and we know that the Plan will need to evolve and grow to meet the changing needs of schools and students in Illinois.”
Progress on meeting each initiative in the Strategic Plan will be tracked through a Performance Progress and Metric template throughout the Agency and reported to the State Board of Education on a quarterly basis. The State Board will evaluate the overall appropriateness of the Plan on an annual basis, making needed changes and additions to ensure that it remains a compelling document to lead educational change in Illinois.
The entire Plan, as submitted to Governor Blagojevich and the Illinois General Assembly earlier this month, is available online at: http://www.isbe.net/pdf/strategic_plan_2005.pdf. Printed copies of the plan are available upon request by calling 217-782-4321, toll-free at 1-866-262-6663, by completing an online request at http://www.isbe.net/contactus.htm or by mail at:
Information Center
Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL   62777


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