NLU Helps Launch Network to Prep Great Teachers for All Students NCE Dean Rob Muller a founding member of Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network

Five deans of Illinois colleges of education, including Robert D. Muller, Ed.D., of National Louis University’s National College of Education, have formed the Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network to ensure that every child has access to quality teachers.

The colleges will collaborate to elevate the teaching profession and improve teacher readiness. They collectively prepare 18 percent of the state’s new teachers, and they plan to invite more colleges of education to join them.

The network will address a need identified by the state’s school superintendents and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Nearly two-thirds of Illinois school superintendents report they have significant difficulty finding well- qualified teachers, and ISBE has identified teacher quality as a major challenge facing Illinois in the coming years.

“We’re working with school and district partners to co-design teacher preparation programs that produce classroom-ready teachers for Illinois schools. This investment will help us make sure that work is data-driven, timely and high impact” said Muller.

The Illinois Ed Prep Impact Network addresses the challenge of preparing effective teachers by bringing together representatives from participating institutions and their school district partners to work together on improving teacher-candidates’ readiness to teach in culturally, racially, and linguistically diverse classroom settings. Together, network participants will examine state and district data to identify variations in program performance and to initiate improvements.

While several K-12 districts have adopted initiatives to support these priorities, the Network is an unprecedented example of educator-preparation programs coming together, across institutional barriers and alongside district partners, to improve the readiness of aspiring and early-career teachers.

In addition to NLU’s Muller, the founding deans are:
  •   Sandra Beyda-Lorie, Goodwin College of Education, Northeastern Illinois University
  •   Laurie Elish-Piper, Northern Illinois University College of Education
  •   Mindy Sjoblom, Relay Graduate School of Education-Chicago
  •   Tom Philion, Roosevelt University College of Education

The Network is being facilitated by Deans for Impact, a national nonprofit organization focused on improving teacher preparation and elevating the teaching profession. The Joyce Foundation is supporting the effort.

“Research consistently shows teachers are a main driver of student success, especially for low-income students and students of color,” said Stephanie Banchero, Education Program Director at the Joyce Foundation. “If we want Illinois students ready for college and career success, we need to ensure districts and teacher training programs work together to prepare classroom-ready teachers.”