Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers!

The Illinois Consortium for 21st Century Schools offer an array of Frequently Asked Questions (and Answers) in response to inquiries.

Illinois21 is a 501C3, not-for-profit Illinois corporation which provides teachers, school leaders and professional developers with an all-school change model, MindQuest21.

Illinois21 focuses on the preparation of educators to transform their classrooms, school, and district into 21st Century Deeper Learning communities through the design, implementation, and assessment of MindQuest21.

MindQuest21 is a whole school change process which begins with classroom instruction and moves throughout the school to restructure the culture, practices, policies, and procedures for future success. MindQuest21 readies school leaders, teachers, and students to focus on deeper learning outcomes through and unique application of Project Based Inquiry (PBI).

MindQuest21 change process begins with Project Based Inquiry integrated throughout the school over a 2-5-year period. Each component in the MindQuest21 process is customized for successful implementation in each school and each classroom.

  • Needs Assessment.
  • Customized School and Classroom Plans.
  • Professional Development for Project Based Inquiry in STEAM.
  • Students’ Personalized Learning Plans.
  • Scheduled Onsite and Online Coaching Support of Implementation.
  • Quarterly and Yearly Program Assessment.

MindQuest21 Professional Learning for whole school change begins with a hands-on 18 hour work-session in which teachers and administrators collaborate to design projects that focus on deeper learning outcomes. They do this by designing a grade level project that will be implemented at the beginning of the school year. Teachers will implement the project, assess results, and evaluate what worked best and what changes may be needed in the future. Throughout the change process, Illinois21 guides the school’s educators to design, implement, and assess 3 to 8 PBI/STEAM units. Coached by a MindQuest21 consultant, teacher teams will review each other’s work and prepare units for inclusion in a lasting, on-line library.

The design process and its key required elements do not change. How each teacher designs the PBI unit varies by subject matter and grade level. The application is differentiated so that students can learn the curricular content required by the standards.

We work from the belief and our experience that all children can learn when taught well. At its heart, MindQuest21 thrives on helping teachers develop their skills, raise their expectations, and thrive as proficient teachers so that all students can become proficient learners.

Our approach is based on students personal improvement plan guided by a teacher-mentor. The teacher-mentor helps the student develop academic, pro-social skill goals, determine interests, select strategies, and then assess on a daily basis.

Illinois21 starts with your school’s current curriculum. Teachers and leaders will learn to design PBI units that blend state and national standards with students’ real world needs to know, and their interests in STEAM careers.

Working with the MindQuest21 team, the leadership will revise the school’s mission and identify 21st Century Learner characteristics. When teachers are designing the new PBI units that will form the school‘s curriculum library and daily practice, the principal identifies what other practices, procedures and resources in the school will enhance instruction and with a site leadership team, collaborates with Illinios21 to make that plan happen on a schedule that works for that school.

Our expertise developed over many years as classroom teachers, school leaders, and professional developers agrees with the research that random and piecemeal workshops without coaching and follow-up produce little change. If school leaders want sustainable and scaled change, then it is important to start their efforts with a focus on desired deeper learning outcomes. This may begin with a solo workshop.

Because of variations in school size, number of faculty, budgets, etc., Illinois21 prices its services based on the number of days we are onsite and/or the number of hours for online support. Estimates include travel, lodging, stipends and materials that maybe needed. With an understanding of your school’s size, travel, number of faculty, etc. Illinois21 provides a work-scope estimate for each year. Please contact us via email.

Through individual case studies, we expand you with descriptions of our customized interventions which have resulted in evidence-based deeper learning outcomes.