Special Education and Support Services
Illinois ASPIRE Partnerships
Partnerships are a key component of Illinois ASPIRE. As described below, school districts, special education joint agreements, Regional Offices of Education, institutes of higher education and parents all play an important role.
What role do school districts play in the project?
A major component of Illinois ASPIRE is the delivery of professional development and technical assistance to schools. All school districts and special education joint agreements located within the counties served by each regional ASPIRE Center will be eligible to participate in training offered within the region (download regional map ). In addition, a school district can submit an application for one of its schools to serve as a demonstration/data collection site. These sites will be identified through each regional ASPIRE Center to facilitate school and student level data collection and evaluation and will receive training and technical assistance services from the Center.
What is the role of special education joint agreements and Regional Offices of Education ROEs?
The following are several ways in which joint agreements and ROEs can be involved:
- Identify a team to participate in the training offered within each region and/or join one or more of their district teams that attend the training.
- Support districts’ participation in the training offered by the project. For example, joint agreements can help districts to access IDEA flow-through funds that can now be used for early intervening services, including professional development.
- Assist a district in preparing an application for one of its schools to serve as a demonstration/data collection site by helping the district collect the district, school and student data elements that must be included in the application.
- Support a demonstration/data collection site’s participation by having staff (e.g., school psychologists, supervisors/coordinators) participate in training and then provide follow-up support for the district’s efforts in implementing the problem solving process. This could include designating a joint agreement or ROE staff member to be trained as a problem solving coach who would then work with the data collection site as well as other districts as they implement problem solving.
- If the ROE or joint agreement has adequate space, offer to host one or more training events in the region.
- Disseminate information to districts, schools and parents about the professional development opportunities offered by the project.
What role do parents play in the project?
One of the objectives of the Illinois ASPIRE is to increase the participation of parents in decision-making with regard to their children’s education. Therefore, parents will be involved at all levels of the project. Parents are a part of each regional ASPIRE Center’s leadership team, and parents will be represented on ISBE’s ASPIRE Project Advisory Committee. The ASPIRE Centers will provide training for parents on early intervening services, school-based problem solving, response to intervention and standards-aligned instruction and assessment. The ASPIRE Centers will also collaborate with the Parent Training and Information Centers in Illinois to develop and disseminate parent “handbooks” on these topics. Finally, parent participation will be required within each school demonstration/data collection site.
What is the role of institutes of higher education (IHEs)?
An objective of Illinois ASPIRE is to incorporate the project’s professional development content into IHE general and special education preservice and graduate curricula. In order to accomplish this, Illinois IHEs are important partners in the project. The following are some of the ways in which IHEs will be involved:
- IHEs are members of each regional ASPIRE Center’s leadership team.
- The ASPRIRE centers will work collaboratively with the IHEs to incorporate the training components into existing preservice and graduate programs.
- IHEs will be represented on ISBE’s ASPIRE Project Advisory Committee.
- IHE faculty will have the opportunity to participate in the project’s professional development activities.