Westchester School District 92 ½, Illinois
In 2013, Westchester’s district leadership team initiated a strategic plan to transform its curriculum and instruction over 3 years. Their aim was to provide a 21st Century education for all children in the district’s primary, intermediate and middle schools. Because the demographics of the district were becoming more diverse, the team sought to make instruction more culturally responsive to the new populations.
District leaders invited Illinois21 to ready all teachers for these cultural changes by adopting MindQuest21 as the principle instructional model. Thirty-two staff members learn to plan, implement, and assess interdisciplinary Project Based Inquiry units in all grade levels with an emphasis on culturally responsive instruction. Monthly coaching conducted by Illinois21 to ensure success of implementation.
Over two years, two more cadres joined the training program as did district administrators. In addition, Illinios21 began to prepare in-district coaches to support and sustain PBL after the end of the initiative. Over three years, Illinios21 consultants introduced PBI to the three faculty cadres and coached their classroom applications.
- Create a 21st Century district vision and mission that fully integrates the MindQuest21 approach into each classroom.
- Implement MindQuest21 as the primary method of technology-infused instruction across a culturally-responsive curriculum.
- Build grade level teams as Professional Learning Communities able to sustain a revised 21st Century, inquiry-rich learning program as caring environment for all students.
- Prepare a cadre of specialist coaches to assume responsibility for sustaining the MindQuest21 program.
- Ready all administrators in the central office and at each school to align new procedures, practices into the daily schedule while assessing teacher performance with the district’s evaluation system.
- Spring: Illinois21 consultant team and District leaders plan 1 year pilot.
- Summer: Illinois21 introduces cadre 1 (1/3 per school) teachers, site and district leaders) to MindQuest21 in summer institute to learn and develop PBI unit plans.
- Fall: Cadre 1, teacher teams initiate 1st PBI plans and assess impact.
- Fall: Illinios21 consultant team starts monthly school team review sessions to assess progress and add new unit plans. Leadership team meets with Illinios21 team on continuous basis to assess progress and adjust plan.
- Spring: Plans made to repeat schedule with cadre 2 and initiate in-house coaching prep element.
- Summer: Plans made to repeat schedule with final cadre and to start up in house PBI coaching program.
- Fall: In district coaches assist with Cadre 3 and receive Illinois21coaching support.
- Summer: Illinios21 awards badges to all teachers and administrators for surpassing PBI implementation criteria. Three schools recognized as MindQuest21 Exemplars.