Beginning in April 2019, personnel from the Center for Urban Education Leadership and Ed.D. program have collaborated with the leadership of Elgin Area School District U46 to incorporate professional development for continuous improvement of school and district administrative leadership practices and school outcomes.
This collaboration foregrounds five domains of district capacity development in service of improving measured student learning outcomes for the 38,000 students in 57 U46 elementary and high schools. These domains of capacity development include system-wide improvements in: 1) School improvement Planning, 2) Reflective Learning, 3) Efficient use of resources, 4) Data analysis and application, and 5) Communication. UIC leads monthly professional development sessions with district leadership to establish a culture of professional learning at three levels: district central office, school building leadership, and teachers. The central goal is to ensure that Central Office will develop and support principal leadership by providing the tools and resources essential for principals to be the instructional and operational leaders of their schools.
One goal of this project is to build a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) of U-46 school principals for improved learning outcomes in schools, starting with a designated subset of schools (e.g., high schools and middle schools) and extending to all schools as evidence of success warrants. The projection is that regularly scheduled meetings of principal teams can begin incorporating Improvement Science practices in their own leadership, with U-46 cabinet members aligned to provide consistent leadership of these principal NIC meetings.