Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:
Section 5. The Grow Your Own Teacher Education Act is amended by changing Sections 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 as follows:
(110 ILCS 48/10)
Sec. 10. Definitions. In this Act:
"Accredited teacher preparation program" means a regionally accredited, Illinois approved teacher education program authorized to prepare individuals to fulfill all of the requirements to receive an Illinois initial teaching certificate.
"Cohort" means a group of teacher education candidates who are enrolled in and share experiences in the same program and are linked by their desire to become Illinois teachers in hard-to-staff schools and by their need for the services and supports offered by the Initiative. A cohort may include a high school student enrolled in a dual credit course offered by a participating institution of higher education.
"Community organization" means a nonprofit organization that has a demonstrated capacity to train, develop, and organize parents and community leaders into a constituency that will hold the school and the school district accountable for achieving high academic standards; in addition to organizations with a geographic focus, "community organization" includes general parent organizations, organizations of special education or bilingual education parents, and school employee unions.
"Developmental classes" means classes in basic skill areas, such as mathematics and language arts that are prerequisite to, but not counted towards, degree requirements of a teacher preparation program.
"Dual credit course" has the meaning given to that term under the Dual Credit Quality Act.
"Eligible school" means an early childhood program licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services in which no less than 40% of the children it serves are receiving subsidized care under the Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program, a Head Start or Early Head Start Program, a Preschool for All Program, or a prevention initiative or a public elementary, middle, or secondary school in this State that serves a substantial percentage of low-income students and that is either hard to staff or has hard-to-staff teaching positions.
"Hard-to-staff school" means an early childhood program licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services in which no less than 40% of the children it serves are receiving subsidized care under the Department of Human Services' Child Care Assistance Program, a Head Start or Early Head Start Program, a Preschool for All Program, or a prevention initiative or a public elementary, middle, or secondary school in this State that, based on data compiled by the State Board of Education in conjunction with the Board of Higher Education, serves a substantial percentage of low-income students, as defined by the Board of Higher Education.
"Hard-to-staff teaching position" means a teaching category (such as special education, bilingual education, mathematics, or science) in which statewide data compiled by the State Board of Education in conjunction with the Board of Higher Education indicates a multi-year pattern of substantial teacher shortage or that has been identified as a critical need by the local school board.
"Initiative" means the Grow Your Own Teacher Education Initiative created under this Act.
"Para educator" means an individual with a history of demonstrated accomplishments in school staff positions (such as teacher assistants, school-community liaisons, school clerks, and security aides) in schools that meet the definition of a hard-to-staff school under this Section.
"Parent and community leader" means an individual who has or had a child enrolled in a school or schools that meet the definition of a hard-to-staff school under this Section and who has a history of active involvement in the school or who has a history of working to improve schools serving a substantial percentage of low-income students, including membership in a community organization.
"Program" means a Grow Your Own Teacher preparation program established by a consortium under this Act.
"Schools serving a substantial percentage of low-income students" means schools that maintain any of grades pre-kindergarten through 8, in which at least 35% of the students are eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunches and schools that maintain any of grades 9 through 12, in which at least 25% of the students are eligible to receive free or reduced price lunches.
(Source: P.A. 98-1036, eff. 1-1-15.)
(110 ILCS 48/15)
Sec. 15. Creation of Initiative. The Grow Your Own Teacher Education Initiative is created. Grow Your Own Illinois
The Board of Higher Education shall administer the Initiative as a grant competition to fund consortia that will carry out Grow Your Own Teacher preparation programs.
(Source: P.A. 98-1036, eff. 1-1-15.)
(110 ILCS 48/20)
Sec. 20. Selection of grantees. The Board of Higher Education shall, subject to appropriation, allocate funds to Grow Your Own Illinois for the purpose of administering the program and awarding
award grants as needed to qualified consortia that reflect the distribution and diversity of hard-to-staff schools and hard-to-staff positions across this State. In awarding grants, Grow Your Own Illinois
the Board of Higher Education shall select programs that successfully address Initiative criteria and that reflect a diversity of strategies in terms of serving urban areas, serving rural areas, the nature of the participating institutions of higher education, and the nature of hard-to-staff schools and hard-to-staff teaching positions on which a program is focused.
Grow Your Own Illinois
The Board of Higher Education shall select, manage, and oversee consortia that meet the following requirements:
(1) A consortium shall be composed of at least one 4-year institution of higher education with an Illinois approved teacher preparation program, at least one school district or group of schools, and one or more community organizations. The consortium membership may also include a 2-year institution of higher education, a school employee union, or a regional office of education.
(2) The 4-year institution of higher education participating in the consortium shall have past, demonstrated success in preparing teachers for elementary or secondary schools serving a substantial percentage of low-income students.
(3) The consortium shall focus on a clearly defined set of eligible schools that will participate in the program. The consortium shall articulate the steps that it will carry out in preparing teachers for its participating schools and in preparing teachers for one or more hard-to-staff teaching positions in those schools.
(4) The consortium shall recruit potential candidates for the program and shall take into consideration when selecting a candidate whether the candidate:
(A) holds a high school diploma or its equivalent or is a high school student enrolled in a dual credit course offered by a participating institution of higher education;
(B) meets either the definition of "parent and community leader" or the definition of "para educator" contained in Section 10 of this Act;
has experienced an interruption in his or her college education;
(D) exhibits a willingness to be a teacher in a hard-to-staff school with the goal of maintaining academic excellence;
(E) shows an interest in postsecondary education and may hold an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree, or another postsecondary degree, but a postsecondary education is not required;
(F) is a parent, a para educator, a community leader, or any other individual from a community with a hard-to-staff school;
(G) commits to completing and passing all State standards, including the licensure test to obtain an educator license;
(H) shows a willingness to set high standards of performance for himself or herself and students; and
(I) demonstrates commitment to the program by:
(i) maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent as determined by the Board of Higher Education);
(ii) attending monthly cohort meetings; and
(iii) applying for financial aid from all other financial aid resources before applying for assistance from the program.
(5) The consortium shall employ effective procedures for teaching the skills and knowledge needed to prepare highly competent teachers. Professional preparation shall include on-going direct experience in target schools and evaluation of this experience.
(6) The consortium shall offer the program to cohorts of candidates, as defined in Section 10 of this Act, on a schedule that enables candidates to work full time while participating in the program and allows para educators to continue in their current positions. In any fiscal year in which an appropriation for the Initiative is made, the consortium shall guarantee that support will be available to an admitted cohort for the cohort's education for that fiscal year. At the beginning of the Initiative, programs that are already operating and existing cohorts of candidates under this model shall be eligible for funding.
(7) The institutions of higher education participating in the consortium shall document and agree to expend the same amount of funds in implementing the program that these institutions spend per student on similar educational programs. Grants received by the consortium shall supplement and not supplant these amounts.
(8) Grow Your Own Illinois
The Board of Higher Education shall establish and oversee additional criteria for review of proposals, including criteria that address the following issues:
(A) Previous experience of the institutions of higher education in preparing candidates for hard-to-staff schools and positions and in working with students with non-traditional backgrounds.
(B) The quality of the implementation plan, including strategies for overcoming institutional barriers to the progress of non-traditional candidates.
(C) If a community college is a participant, the nature and extent of existing articulation agreements and guarantees between the community college and the 4-year institution of higher education.
(D) The number of candidates to be educated in the planned cohort or cohorts and the capacity of the consortium for adding cohorts in future cycles.
(E) Experience of the community organization or organizations in organizing parents and community leaders to achieve school improvement and a strong relational school culture.
(F) The qualifications of the person or persons designated by the 4-year institution of higher education to be responsible for cohort support and the development of a shared learning and social environment among candidates.
(G) The consortium's plan for collective consortium decision-making, involving all consortium members, including mechanisms for candidate input.
(H) The consortium's plan for direct impact of the program on the quality of education in the eligible schools.
(I) The relevance of the curriculum to the needs of the eligible schools and positions, and the use in curriculum and instructional planning of principles for effective education for adults.
(J) The availability of classes under the program in places and times accessible to the candidates.
(K) Provision of a level of performance to be maintained by candidates as a condition of continuing in the program.
(L) The plan of the 4-year institution of higher education to ensure that candidates take advantage of existing financial aid resources before using the loan funds described in Section 25 of this Act.
(M) The availability of supportive services, including, but not limited to, counseling, tutoring, transportation, technology and technology support, and child care.
(N) A plan for continued participation of graduates of the program in a program of support for at least 2 years, including mentoring and group meetings.
(O) A plan for testing and qualitative evaluation of candidates' teaching skills that ensures that graduates of the program are as prepared for teaching as other individuals completing the institution of higher education's preparation program for the certificate sought.
(P) A plan for internal evaluation that provides reports at least yearly on the progress of candidates towards graduation and the impact of the program on the target schools and their communities.
(Q) Contributions from schools, school districts, and other consortia members to the program, including stipends for candidates during their student teaching.
(R) Consortium commitment for sustaining the program over time, as evidenced by plans for reduced requirements for external funding, in subsequent cycles.
(S) The inclusion in the planned program of strategies derived from community organizing that will help candidates develop tools for working with parents and other community members.
Subject to the requirements under the Dual Credit Quality Act, a participating institution of higher education may offer a high school student a dual credit course under the program.
The Board of Higher Education may not adopt rules regarding candidate eligibility that are more restrictive than this Section.
(Source: P.A. 98-1036, eff. 1-1-15.)
(110 ILCS 48/25)
Sec. 25. Expenditures under the Initiative.
(a) Every program under the Initiative shall implement a program of forgivable loans to cover any portion of tuition, books, and fees of candidates under the program in excess of the candidates' grants-in-aid. All students admitted to a cohort shall be eligible for a forgivable student loan. Loans shall be fully forgiven if a graduate completes 5 years of service in hard-to-staff schools or hard-to-staff teaching positions, with partial forgiveness for shorter periods of service. Grow Your Own Illinois
The Board of Higher Education shall establish standards for the approval of requests for waivers or deferrals from individuals to waive this obligation and
. The Board of Higher Education shall also define standards for the fiscal management of these loan funds.
(b) Grow Your Own Illinois
The Board of Higher Education shall award grants under the Initiative in such a way as to provide the required support for a cohort of candidates for any fiscal year in which an appropriation for the Initiative is made. Program budgets must show expenditures and needed funds for the entire period that candidates are expected to be enrolled.
(c) No funds under the Initiative may be used to supplant the average per-capita expenditures by the institution of higher education for candidates.
(d) Where necessary, program budgets shall include the costs of child care and other indirect expenses, such as transportation, tutoring, technology, and technology support, necessary to permit candidates to maintain their class schedules. Grant funds may be used by any member of a consortium to offset such costs, and the services may be provided by the community organization or organizations, by any other member of the consortium, or by independent contractors.
(e) The institution of higher education may expend grant funds to cover the additional costs of offering classes in community settings and for tutoring services.
(f) The community organization or organizations may receive a portion of the grant money for the expenses of recruitment, community orientation, and counseling of potential candidates, for providing space in the community, and for working with school personnel to facilitate individual work experiences and support of candidates.
(g) The school district or school employee union or both may receive a portion of the grant money for expenses of supporting the work experiences of candidates and providing mentors for graduates. Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 10-20.15 of the School Code, school districts may also use these or other applicable public funds to pay participants in programs under the Initiative for student teaching required by an accredited teacher preparation program.
(h) One or more members of the consortium may expend funds to cover the salary of a site-based cohort coordinator.
(i) Grant funds may also be expended to pay directly for required developmental classes for candidates beginning a program.
(Source: P.A. 98-1036, eff. 1-1-15.)
(110 ILCS 48/30)
Sec. 30. Implementation of Initiative. Grow Your Own Illinois
The Board of Higher Education may, if it chooses, award and administer a small number of planning grants during any fiscal year to potential consortia.
(Source: P.A. 98-1036, eff. 1-1-15.)
Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.