Illinois, like many other states, faces a teacher shortage that is particularly acute in rural and urban classrooms. The state’s teaching ranks also lack needed diversity, as the teacher workforce is 85-percent white, even as mounting research shows students of color benefit from having teachers of color.
To help address these challenges, the Illinois P20 Council, The Joyce Foundation, and EdSystems partnered in May 2019 to launch Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois (SEPI). The initiative is funding nine communities to build streamlined teacher career pathways that begin in high school, extend into postsecondary, and allow students to get on a strong path to a teaching license. SEPI has a special focus on helping students from diverse backgrounds become educators.
EdSystems supports nine collaboratives representing 22 school districts, 42 high schools, and 15 colleges/universities throughout the state:
- Springfield District 186
- District 214
- Making Opportunities Real for Everyone (MORE) in the Mississippi and Rock River Regions
- Southern Illinois Network for Future Teachers
- Plainfield District 202
- Quincy Rural Education Collaborative
- College of DuPage / Indian Prairie HSD 204
- Fayette and Marion Counties Rural Collaborative
- Chicago Public Schools
This support includes providing access to best practices, convening Communities of Practice which include annual summits, and guiding participants through the College and Career Pathway Endorsement process. We are driving innovation in college and secondary district partnerships to expand early college and career development opportunities. To support this work, EdSystems engages in State policy discussions involving the teacher shortage, with SEPI serving as the State’s leading model for early pathways in education.