Illinois, like many other states, faces a teacher shortage that is particularly acute in rural and urban classrooms. Further, 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 have partnered to launch Scaling Education Pathways in Illinois (SEPI). The initiative, which kicked off in May 2019, 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. It will have a special focus on helping students from diverse backgrounds become educators.
SEPI was modeled, in part, on the educator pathway efforts already underway in Illinois, including the Educator Prep program in Township High School District 214. That program lets high school students earn college credits in high school, student teach, and potentially work in northwest suburban schools after college graduation. It is an exemplary model of how a district and higher education partners — National Louis University and Northeastern Illinois University – can work together to build a robust path to get young people into the teaching profession.
EdSystems supports 9 collaborations funded through project, representing 22 school districts, 42 high schools, and 15 colleges/universities throughout the state:
- Springfield District 186
- District 214
- Rock and Mississippi Valley Collaborative / Inspire MORE
- 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, and guiding participants through the College and Career Pathway Endorsement process.