Illinois

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Updated August 14, 1998


Illinois -

In 1986 the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) commissioned a state-wide survey that looked at induction and mentoring support of new teachers in the various Illinois school districts and across each of the United States. That survey was done by Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, and found that support for new teachers was "sporadic" in Illinois school districts. The report also recommended a coordinated state-wide program for Illinois to address the needs of Illinois' beginning teachers. The study of state-wide beginning teacher programs is summarized on the chart on the "What's Happening in Each of the States" page. See the top of this page for a link to that one.

In September 1987 ISBE did sponsor an induction/mentoring conference which was held at the University of Illinois at Chicago campus. The conference proceedings were published and were titled "The First Years of Teaching: Background Papers and a Proposal. The final recommendations were written by Dr. Gary Griffin, then of the U. of I at Chicago. Though no state-wide action was to follow, this discussion led to provision in SB 730 of state funding for a three year "pilot" of a few mentoring programs. One of the pilots supported several staff development and mentoring efforts in School District 300 in Carpentersville/Dundee, Illinois. These pilots all ended after three years when the state funding expired.

In 1991 the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) received a grant from the North Central Regional Educational Lab. Under this project Nancy Quisenberry conducted another state-wide study and developed another state plan which was submitted to ISBE. As a result, ISBE was again discussing a mentoring program approach that would use both assistance and assessment of new teachers. That conversation did not lead to any additional on-going state role in mandating or supporting local district mentoring programs.

In 1995 The ISBE convened a "Future Search Conference" to rethink the state system of support for professional development of teachers and administrators. This work was begun, in part, due to concurrent work to write the Illinois Academic Learning Standards for students. Several committees and a task force worked for about two years to look at best practices in the field of professional development and to define a Framework for Professional Development in Illinois. This Framework was adopted by the ISBE in late 1996 and incorporates the INTASC beginning teacher standards, the NBPTS for veteran teachers, and NCATE standards for university and college teacher education programs.

On October 6, 1995 a "Coalition on Induction Activities", made up of representatives from 7 professional organizations, sponsored a state-wide conference on Beginning Teacher Induction, held at Northern Illinois University, which attracted 200 participants from all stake holder groups. On January 8, 1996 this coalition published their own "Induction Recommendations" which were circulated state-wide and delivered to the State Board of Education to inform policy making and state decisions.

In April 1997 the ISBE convened seven Advisory Groups to develop each of the components of the Framework including standards for preservice teacher education, for an initial license, for initial certification and renewal, for induction and mentoring, for on-going professional development, and standards for teachers, administrators, and Pupil Service Providers. These advisory groups also were to develop recommendations for legislation and some tentative guidelines for district implementation of the various standards. The author of this web site, Barry Sweeny, served on the Teacher Induction Advisory Group.

The Teacher Induction Advisory Group reviewed the professional literature, the experiences of a number of expert practitioners and researchers in mentoring who were on the Advisory Board and others who were not, the "Induction Recommendations" of the "Coalition", and a number of other sources and standards. By late fall 1997 the Teacher Induction Advisory Group, along with the other advisory groups, sent their general recommendations to the Illinois State Board of Education. These reports were summarized and published in a volume titled "Preparing Teachers for the Twenty First Century".

These recommendations were presented in November 1997 at state-wide teleconference sites in events structured as town meetings to gain feed back about the proposals. During that same month the Illinois General Assembly passed school funding and reform bills which addressed a few professional development issues, certification and licensure, teacher preparation, assessment of teachers, and other components. HB 452 initiates a more standards-based three-tiered certification system which will begin in January 1999. The adoption includes the Framework described above but it remains to be seen if the ISBE rules and regs will address the induction needs of all new educators. At this point induction support seems to be "on the back burner" as state groups develop the rules for those components adopted by the General Assembly.

As of 1998 the only area sure to have mentoring are those teachers who enter the career via alternative certification routes, who are now required to work under the support and guidance of a mentor. The alternate certificate requires:

There are a number of well informed experts on new teacher induction and mentoring in Illinois, as there are a number of strong (and weak) mentoring/induction programs. The "sporadic" and diverse quality of programs found in the original 1986 study of Illinois appears to still be the rule. It looks like there is the expertise and the will among Illinois educators to implement induction and mentoring support for new teachers! However, it remains to be seen if the State of Illinois will require and fund such an effort so that this becomes a reality and so that programs and mentoring are high quality and are effective at addressing the needs of new teachers.

The state contacts are:

An official contact for the ISBE, Michael Long, ISBE, 100 N. First St. Sprinfield, Illinois, 217-782-

A non-State Board contact is Barry Sweeny, whose e-mail is below.


If you are aware of incorrect statements in this material OR if you can add authoritative new information concerning mentoring and induction in the various United States, please contact Barry Sweeny with that information. His e-mail is

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