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(110 ILCS 48/20)
Selection of grantees.
The Board of Higher Education shall, subject to appropriation, allocate funds to Grow Your Own Illinois for the purpose of administering the program and awarding grants as needed to qualified consortia that reflect the distribution and diversity of hard-to-staff schools and hard-to-staff positions across this State. In awarding grants, Grow Your Own Illinois shall select programs that successfully address Initiative criteria and that reflect a diversity of strategies in terms of serving urban areas, serving rural areas, the nature of the participating institutions of higher education, and the nature of hard-to-staff schools and
hard-to-staff teaching positions on which a program is focused.
Grow Your Own Illinois shall select, manage, and oversee consortia that meet the following requirements:
(1) A consortium shall be composed of at least one
4-year institution of higher education with an Illinois approved teacher preparation program, at least one school district or group of schools, and one or more community organizations. The consortium membership may also include a 2-year institution of higher education, a school employee union, or a regional office of education.
(2) The 4-year institution of higher education
participating in the consortium shall have past, demonstrated success in preparing teachers for elementary or secondary schools serving a substantial percentage of low-income students.
(3) The consortium shall focus on a clearly defined
set of eligible schools that will participate in the program. The consortium shall articulate the steps that it will carry out in preparing teachers for its participating schools and in preparing teachers for one or more hard-to-staff teaching positions in those schools.
(4) The consortium shall recruit potential candidates
for the program and shall take into consideration when selecting a candidate whether the candidate:
(A) holds a high school diploma or its equivalent
or is a high school student enrolled in a dual credit course offered by a participating institution of higher education;
(B) meets either the definition of "parent and
community leader" or the definition of "para educator" contained in Section 10 of this Act;
(D) exhibits a willingness to be a teacher in a
hard-to-staff school with the goal of maintaining academic excellence;
(E) shows an interest in postsecondary education
and may hold an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree, or another postsecondary degree, but a postsecondary education is not required;
(F) is a parent, a para educator, a community
leader, or any other individual from a community with a hard-to-staff school;
(G) commits to completing and passing all State
standards, including the licensure test to obtain an educator license;
(H) shows a willingness to set high standards of
performance for himself or herself and students; and
(I) demonstrates commitment to the program by:
(i) maintaining a cumulative grade point
average of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent as determined by the Board of Higher Education);
(ii) attending monthly cohort meetings; and
(iii) applying for financial aid from all
other financial aid resources before applying for assistance from the program.
(5) The consortium shall employ effective procedures
for teaching the skills and knowledge needed to prepare highly competent teachers. Professional preparation shall include on-going direct experience in target schools and evaluation of this experience.
(6) The consortium shall offer the program to cohorts
of candidates, as defined in Section 10 of this Act, on a schedule that enables candidates to work full time while participating in the program and allows para educators to continue in their current positions. In any fiscal year in which an appropriation for the Initiative is made, the consortium shall guarantee that support will be available to an admitted cohort for the cohort's education for that fiscal year. At the beginning of the Initiative, programs that are already operating and existing cohorts of candidates under this model shall be eligible for funding.
(7) The institutions of higher education
participating in the consortium shall document and agree to expend the same amount of funds in implementing the program that these institutions spend per student on similar educational programs. Grants received by the consortium shall supplement and not supplant these amounts.
(8) Grow Your Own Illinois shall establish and
oversee additional criteria for review of proposals, including criteria that address the following issues:
(A) Previous experience of the institutions of
higher education in preparing candidates for hard-to-staff schools and positions and in working with students with non-traditional backgrounds.
(B) The quality of the implementation plan,
including strategies for overcoming institutional barriers to the progress of non-traditional candidates.
(C) If a community college is a participant, the
nature and extent of existing articulation agreements and guarantees between the community college and the 4-year institution of higher education.
(D) The number of candidates to be educated in
the planned cohort or cohorts and the capacity of the consortium for adding cohorts in future cycles.
(E) Experience of the community organization or
organizations in organizing parents and community leaders to achieve school improvement and a strong relational school culture.
(F) The qualifications of the person or persons
designated by the 4-year institution of higher education to be responsible for cohort support and the development of a shared learning and social environment among candidates.
(G) The consortium's plan for collective
consortium decision-making, involving all consortium members, including mechanisms for candidate input.
(H) The consortium's plan for direct impact of
the program on the quality of education in the eligible schools.
(I) The relevance of the curriculum to the needs
of the eligible schools and positions, and the use in curriculum and instructional planning of principles for effective education for adults.
(J) The availability of classes under the program
in places and times accessible to the candidates.
(K) Provision of a level of performance to be
maintained by candidates as a condition of continuing in the program.
(L) The plan of the 4-year institution of higher
education to ensure that candidates take advantage of existing financial aid resources before using the loan funds described in Section 25 of this Act.
(M) The availability of supportive services,
including, but not limited to, counseling, tutoring, transportation, technology and technology support, and child care.
(N) A plan for continued participation of
graduates of the program in a program of support for at least 2 years, including mentoring and group meetings.
(O) A plan for testing and qualitative evaluation
of candidates' teaching skills that ensures that graduates of the program are as prepared for teaching as other individuals completing the institution of higher education's preparation program for the certificate sought.
(P) A plan for internal evaluation that provides
reports at least yearly on the progress of candidates towards graduation and the impact of the program on the target schools and their communities.
(Q) Contributions from schools, school districts,
and other consortia members to the program, including stipends for candidates during their student teaching.
(R) Consortium commitment for sustaining the
program over time, as evidenced by plans for reduced requirements for external funding, in subsequent cycles.
(S) The inclusion in the planned program of
strategies derived from community organizing that will help candidates develop tools for working with parents and other community members.
Subject to the requirements under the Dual Credit Quality Act, a participating institution of higher education may offer a high school student a dual credit course under the program.
The Board of Higher Education may not adopt rules regarding candidate eligibility that are more restrictive than this Section.
(Source: P.A. 101-122, eff. 7-26-19.)