Beginning in Summer 2019, UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership began a collaboration with the leadership of the Decatur Public Schools District 61 to incorporate professional development for continuous improvement of district and school administrative leadership practices. This work is designed to impact school outcomes for Decatur’s 23 elementary and high schools.
This collaboration focuses on developing multiple levels of professional teams for effective adult learning at the levels of central office, school principals, and teachers. The central outcomes will be a) improvement of district leadership capacity to support the improvement of student learning for the district’s 8,900 students, and b) development of effective leaders for district and school positions. To achieve these outcomes, the UIC Center for Urban Education Leadership collaborates with district leadership to provide monthly professional development sessions to build a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) of all District 61 principals to improve leadership capacity and learning outcomes in schools. These sessions help support principals in developing new organizational and instructional routines such as a) effective instructional leadership teams, b) formal Instructional Rounds, and c) collaborative inquiry cycles in each school. Finally, UIC is assisting District 61 with a re-analysis of district achievement trends as students move from grade 3 through grade 11.