Monday, April 20, 2015

Language & Literacy Program Earns Continuing IBHE Grant

Since Fiscal Year 2004, the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) has awarded competitive teacher and principal professional development grants to eligible partnerships comprised of colleges and universities and high-need public school districts located across the State of Illinois. These grants--known as the Improving Teacher Quality (ITQ) State Grant Program--support professional development and teacher and school leader preparation activities across all core academic subject areas to assist schools in increasing the academic achievement of all students through the preparation of highly-qualified teachers and school leaders.

On April 7, 2015, the Language and Literacy Program at Roosevelt University was informed that its proposal for a continuing grant in the amount of $421,313 had been approved by the IBHE.  Grant funding was awarded to six universities, and RU received $21,000 more than it requested.  This is the sixth year that RU has been awarded IBHE funding.  Dr. Margaret Policastro is the Principal Investigator on the grant, with significant support from Dr. Teryl ann Rosch, John McDougall, and members of the COE's Office of Community Engagement.

RU's grant project addresses needs related to the complex changes necessary to implement the Illinois Learning Standards (ILS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It does so by creating ongoing and systemic professional development within two new frameworks, a new Balanced Literacy Model and a new Formative Assessment model that includes formative collection, formative feedback, and formative self-monitoring connected to the ILS.

Starting in 2015-2016, the project will align ILS, balanced literacy, and formative assessment to the Danielson Framework for Teaching. This activity will assist teachers in differentiating instruction based upon student data.  Five additional goals are: (1) to continue to align the ILS instructional shifts with all aspects of the new Balanced Literacy model through school-wide capacity building; (2) to develop seamless formative assessment school-wide within the tenets of balanced literacy in order for teaching and assessment to be perceived as a continuous process; (3) to create and build balanced literacy (110 Minutes of Literacy) thematic units school-wide that use formative assessment practices based on decision-making in the classroom; (4) to improve Roosevelt University’s pre-service teacher preparation programs by assisting in the preparation for the new edTPA; and (5) to align the Danielson Framework for Teaching with formative assessment in the new balanced literacy classroom.

In its approval documents, IBHE lauded the work of RU and the other universities involved: "Each of the six partnerships recommended for funding...provides high-quality, research-based professional development aimed at improving teacher quality, the academic achievement of elementary and secondary students across Illinois, and teacher preparation programs across the state."

For more information, contact Dr. Policastro at

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