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Illinois Policy Profile

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Illinois

Teaching Standards and Leadership Standards

Teaching Standards

Is working with and meeting the needs of students with disabilities addressed in state teaching standards?

Illinois Professional Teaching Standards hold educators responsible for teaching diverse students and planning for differentiated instruction. The learning needs of students with disabilities are addressed within a majority of the state’s teaching standards.

Standard 1, Teaching Diverse Students, requires competent teachers to understand “the spectrum of student diversity,” including special education, and to understand “the impact of cognitive, emotional, physical, and sensory disabilities on learning and communication pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, its implementing regulations, Article 14 of the School Code [105 ILCS 5/Art.14] and 23 Ill. Adm. Code 226 (Special Education).”

Standard 2, Content Area and Pedagogical Knowledge, requires competent teachers to design learning experiences and utilize assistive technology and digital tools to provide access to general curricular content to students with disabilities.

Standard 3, Planning for Differentiated Instruction, requires competent teachers to plan and design instruction based on diverse student characteristics. Teachers must understand “cultural, linguistic, cognitive, physical, and social and emotional differences” and considers the needs of each student when planning instruction. They must understand how to co-plan with other classroom teachers, parents or guardians, paraprofessionals, school specialists, and community representatives to design learning experiences. When planning instruction, teachers must be able to address goals and objectives contained in “individualized education programs (IEP) (see 23 Ill. Adm. Code 226 (Special Education)).”

Standard 5, Instructional Delivery, requires competent teachers to use “strategies and techniques for facilitating meaningful inclusion of individuals with a range of abilities and experiences.”

Standard 7, Assessment, requires competent teachers to know “legal provisions, rules, and guidelines regarding assessment and assessment accommodations for all student populations,” to use “various types of assessment procedures appropriately, including making accommodations for individual students in specific contexts,” and to use assessment strategies and devices that are nondiscriminatory, and take into consideration the impact of disabilities” on measuring student knowledge and performance.

Standard 8 – Collaborative Relationships, requires competent teachers to understand the “concerns of families of students with disabilities and knows appropriate strategies to collaborate with students and their families in addressing these concerns.” Standard 8 requires teachers to understand “the roles and the importance of including students with disabilities, as appropriate, and all team members in planning individualized education programs (i.e, IEP, IFSP, Section 504 plan) for students with disabilities.” It also requires teachers to participate in “the design and implementation of individualized instruction for students with special needs (i.e., IEPs, IFSP, transition plans, Section 504 plans).”

Source: Illinois Professional Teaching Standards (2013)

School Leadership Standards

Is knowledge of working with students with disabilities included in leader standards?

The Illinois Performance Standards for School Leaders do not specifically address knowledge of working with students with disabilities. However, the standards state that the principal is responsible for ensuring the success of all students. Standards 1, 3, and 6 state that, the principal works with the staff and community to:

  • Build a shared mission, and vision of high expectations that ensures all students are on the path to college and career readiness, and hold staff accountable for results.
  • Develop research-based framework for effective teaching and learning that is refined continuously to improve instruction for all students.
  • Build a culture of high expectations and aspirations for every student by setting clear staff and student expectations for positive learning behaviors and by focusing on students’ social-emotional learning.

Source: Illinois Performance Standards for School Leaders


Teacher and Principal Preparation

Teacher Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in teaching students with disabilities/diverse learners

State educator licensure rules require that the curriculum of all teacher preparation programs must address: “the psychology of, the identification of, and the methods of instruction for the exceptional child, including without limitation the learning disabled [105 ILCS 5/21B-20(1)], which shall focus on the characteristics and methods of instruction for cross-categorical special education students so that all teachers understand:”

  • The impact that disabilities have on the cognitive, physical, emotional, social and communication development of an individual and provide opportunities that support the intellectual, social and personal development of all students;
  • How students differ in their approaches to learning and create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners; and
  • Instructional planning and design instruction based on knowledge of the discipline, students, community and curriculum goal.

Source: 23 Illinois Administrative Code, Section 25.25

Clinical time in diverse settings/teaching special populations

All teacher education institutions in Illinois are required to incorporate National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards in their curriculum.

NCATE Standard 3 specifically addresses Field Experiences and Clinical Practice: The unit and its school partners design, implement and evaluate field experiences and clinical practice so that teacher candidates and other school personnel develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and dispositions necessary to help all students learn.

“Candidates develop and demonstrate proficiencies that support learning by all students as shown in their work with students with exceptionalities and those from diverse ethnic/racial, linguistic, gender, and socioeconomic groups in classrooms and schools…. Candidates preparing for new roles such as special education teachers… are expected by their profession to complete internships as part of their preparation programs.”

Sources:

SBHE iTransfer Illinois Articulation Initiative

NCATE Unit Standards

Teacher Preparation – Accountability

Quality of teacher preparation programs

The state of Illinois collects objective, program-specific data on teacher preparation programs. Beginning in 2018, the state will collect some program-specific, objective data that reflect program performance, at which point all teacher preparation programs will be required to submit data regarding graduates’ performance evaluations to the state. Illinois has not established minimum performance standards that can be used for accountability purposes.

Source: 2012 State Teacher Policy Yearbook: Improving Teacher Preparation National Summary, National Council on Teacher Quality

Principal Preparation – Program Approval/Accreditation

Required course work in leading a school/district that serves special education students/diverse learners

Principal preparation programs are required to include coursework that covers state and federal law, regulations and case law regarding programs for students with disabilities.

Source: 23 Illinois Administrative Code, Section 30.50

Principal Preparation – Accountability

Are programs reviewed based on outcomes of graduates’ success? Can school principals be linked back to institutions of higher education and preparation programs?

Our state policy review suggests that the state does not employ an accountability system for its principal/administrator preparation programs.


Teacher and Principal Certification/Licensure

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Structure

Is a specific certificate, license or endorsement related to special education required?

Illinois offers a PK-21 special education endorsement upon completion of an approved program (Learning behavior Specialist I, Teacher of Students who are Blind or Visually Impaired, Teacher of Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Speech-Language Pathologist), as well as a LBS I endorsement within the grade range of the educator’s current license upon completion of specified coursework (K-3, K-9, 6-12, or K-12 grade range.) An Early Childhood Special Education approval can be added to a license endorsed for LBSI PK-21 or to a license endorsed for birth- grade 3 early childhood education.

Source: 23 Illinois Administrative Code, Section 25.43

Teacher Certification – Examination

Does the state require teachers to pass a basic skills exam for initial certification? What are the pass rates on the exams? Does the state require Praxis II or more pedagogical assessment for licensure? Does it include anything about teaching diverse learners or special populations?

The Illinois Licensure Testing System requires each candidate applying for a teacher license to pass the Basic Skills test or the Test of Academic Proficiency before student teaching/final semester of internship. Before student teaching or serving as a teacher of record, candidates must take the appropriate content-area test(s), and the appropriate Assessment of Professional Teaching test.

Sources:

Illinois Licensure Testing System

Email communication with Illinois State Board of Education, 7/28/2014

Teacher Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is professional development around working with special populations required to move from initial to a professional license?

Professional development on the needs of students with disabilities is required for renewal of the state’s Professional Educator License. At least 50% of a special education teacher’s professional development, and at least 20% of a general-education teacher’s professional development, must focus on “adapting and modifying the general curriculum related to the Illinois Learning Standards to meet the needs of students with disabilities and serving such students in the least restrictive environment.”

Sources:

23 Illinois Administrative Code, Section 25.25

ISBE, 2013/2014 Professional Development for Licensure Renewal

Principal Certification/Licensure – Requirements

Is prior teaching experience required to become a principal and/or a superintendent? Is specific coursework or other evidence required around working with special populations?

Illinois requires candidates to obtain a master’s degree, to have prior teaching experience, to complete a state-approved preparation program, and to pass a basic skills test. Principal candidates must have graduated from an accredited college or university, with a master’s degree in a management field or with a bachelor’s degree and the life experience equivalent of a master’s degree in a management field. Alternative licensure candidates must have successfully completed: the first phase of the program, including a course of study in education management, governance, organization, and planning; an assignment to a full-time position for one school year as an administrator; and a comprehensive assessment of the person’s performance by school officials, in addition to a recommendation to the State Board of Education.

Sources:

Educator Licensure, Illinois State Board of Education

23 Illinois Administrative Code, Part 25, Section 25.25

Operating in the Dark, George W. Bush Institute

Email communication with Illinois State Board of Education, 7/28/2014


Teacher and Principal Induction

Teacher Induction

Is mentoring required for all new teachers and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically address teaching diverse learners?

Illinois does not require all beginning teachers to receive induction support. A mentor must only be assigned to every first and second-year teacher [105 Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) 5/21A-20] if the state provides a sufficient level of dedicated funding (which has never occurred since the law’s enactment in 2002). [105 ILCS 5/21A-10] The state’s induction program standards do not specifically address students with disabilities, but one of the stated primary goals of the induction program is to “enable beginning teachers to be effective in teaching a range of student populations.”

Source: New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction

Principal Induction

Is coaching/mentoring required for all new principals/administrators/ superintendents and for how many years? If so, do program guidelines/requirements specifically serving diverse learners?

Illinois requires mentoring of new principals for one or two years, contingent upon state funding; as such, the requirement has never been in force. Under law, the beginning principal mentoring program would match “an experienced principal… with each new principal in order to assist the new principal in the development of his or her professional growth and to provide guidance.” [105 ILCS 5/2-3.53a and 23 Illinois Administrative Code (IAC) 35]

Source: New Teacher Center, Review of State Policies on Teacher Induction


Teacher and Principal Professional Development Standards

Teacher Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for teacher PD?

In December 2013, the Governor signed into law new requirements for professional development (Public Act 098-0610). Administrative rules are out for public comment regarding the use of Learning Forward Standards for professional development for teachers.

Source: Email communication with Illinois State Board of Education, 7/28/2014

Principal Professional Development Standards

Does the state have professional development standards for leadership PD?

In December 2013, the Governor signed into law new requirements for professional development (Public Act 098-0610). Administrative rules are out for public comment regarding the use of Learning Forward Standards for professional development for school leaders.

Source: Email communication with Illinois State Board of Education, 7/28/2014