For Immediate Release
May 8, 2012

Select Illinois districts accelerate education reform under federal Race to the Top program

Thirty-seven districts raise the bar to improve student achievement

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education announced the final 37 Illinois school districts that will join with the state agency as part of the federal Race to the Top (RTT) phase three program. These districts will serve as leaders by first implementing key initiatives aimed at improving school performance and student achievement across the state under the $42.8 million RTT grant awarded to Illinois and participating districts.

“These districts are moving forward with courage to change the status quo,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “All of them are ready to accelerate reform efforts and share their experiences to help all our school districts succeed and better prepare students for college and careers in the 21st century.”

The federal grant is aimed broadly at closing achievement gaps. It will help bolster state initiatives across many areas.  Funds will improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education and build a stronger connection to post-secondary education and training.  Funds will also support the on-going implementation of the new rigorous Common Core Learning Standards in Math and English Language Arts as well as innovative data systems that better inform educators and improve classroom instruction.  Chief among the reforms is that districts will use new, more comprehensive principal and teacher evaluations that tie student growth to educators’ reviews.  Legislation calls for all Illinois districts to incorporate student growth into teacher evaluations no later than fall 2016. Participating Race to the Top districts, however, will be required to pilot these evaluation systems in the fall of 2013.

“The districts that are joining with us under this grant program know that these are good measures and they’re eager to be among the first to put them in action and track results,” said State Board Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Their leadership on key issues will help other districts as they follow toward implementing the aggressive reform agenda we’ve adopted in Illinois.”

Illinois was awarded the $42.8 million phase three RTT grant last December after being a finalist in the competition’s two prior rounds. Under the RTT grant, Illinois and six other states keep half their awarded funds for statewide reform work and disseminate the remaining half among participating districts. Each district’s share is based on a required federal formula directing funds to the participating districts with the greatest number of low-income students. Other phase three winning states are Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For more information about the Illinois program, visit the State Board’s Race to the Top web page at:

The following districts are participating with the Illinois State Board of Education to implement statewide reform.

District Name
Addison SD 4
Bensenville ESD 2
Bloomington District 87
Brooklyn Unit SD 188
Calumet Public Dist 132
Canton Union SD 66
Carbon Cliff-Barstow 36
Country Club Hills District 160
CPS District 299
East Richland CUSD 1
East St Louis SD 189
Eastland CUSD 308
Freeport SD 145
General George S Patton SD 133
Illini Central SD 189
Illini West HSD 307
Lincoln-Way HSD
Marion CUSD 2
Matteson SD 162
McLean CUSD 5
Morrison CUSD 6
Niles Township HSD 219
Pembroke CCSD 259
Peoria SD 150
Prairie-Hills ESD 144
Rantoul City District 137
Rich Township HSD 227
Sandoval CUSD 501
Sterling CUSD 5
Township HSD 211
Unity Point SD 140
Urbana SD 116
Wabash CUSD 348
West Richland CUSD 2
Western CUSD 12
Winnebago CUSD 323
Zion ESD 6