The Center - Resources for Teaching and Learning

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education

The Center, through two state-funded programs—the Early Childhood Developmental Enrichment Center (ECDEC) Preschool for All, and FIND Prevention Initiative—provides infant and toddler home visits and preschool to more than 1,200 at-risk families in the northwest Cook County (Illinois) region. Via ECDEC and its model of professional development, The Center also provides a broad range of early childhood professional development and support services through its Early Childhood Professional Learning program.

ECDEC operates early childhood programs in more than 30 classrooms in 18 schools and community locations, publishes a family newsletter, hosts parent education and family engagement activities and training, and provides additional services for parents of children from prenatal through kindergarten entry. Because ECDEC is recognized for its high quality and innovative programming, it is frequently studied by early childhood educators and providers from around Illinois and elsewhere and is considered a valuable model for professional development.

STAR NET: Early Childhood Special Education

STAR NET Region II

The Center serves parents of, and professionals who work with, young children with special needs through STAR NET Region II, including North and West Suburban Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties in Illinois.

Services include a broad range of resources and information for parents and professionals, including workshops, on-site presentations, technical assistance and funding for training. STAR NET programs address children from birth to age eight.

Illinois Resource Center

Illinois Resource Center

The Center, through its Illinois Resource Center (IRC), provides an array of professional development and support services for teachers and administrators who serve linguistically and culturally diverse students, with an emphasis on English-language learners (ELLs).

As a long-time collaborator with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the IRC has evolved into a statewide service agency that provides professional development programs, customized assistance for schools and school districts, and a range of offerings that focus on all aspects of English language learning, native language instruction and cultural diversity. An important focus is to assist educators to create and maintain effective ELL learning environments.

The IRC also with the state board, school districts and other stakeholders to help organize the Annual Statewide Conference for Teachers of Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students, the Annual Statewide Summit for Bilingual Parents, and the Annual Illinois ESEA/ESSA Conference. The IRC also sponsors a job fair each spring for school districts seeking bilingual/English as a Second Language educators.

Adult Learning

Adult Learning Resource Center

The Adult Learning Resource Center (ALRC), a nationally recognized educational resource, provides professional development, including instructional and program support, for adult and family educators. The ALRC’s training is research based and includes single and multiday workshops, institutes, individualized technical assistance, group facilitation, special interest networking, publications and an annual fall conference for practitioners in northern Illinois. ALRC consultants have worked with agencies in 20 states and maintain strong partnerships with community-based organizations, community colleges and public schools.

The ALRC has participated in advisory groups to develop national professional development approaches for English as a second language, citizenship education, and evidence-based reading and mathematics instruction for adult populations. Additional state and national advisory work has been done in immigrant integration and civic education.

The Center also worked with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the U.S. Department of Education to develop an on-line professional development course for instructors who work with future citizens, and provides many other on-line tutorials and courses for Illinois teachers.

The ALRC also organizes an annual multistate Refugee and Immigrant Conference and has produced many refugee and immigrant professional development materials, along with materials for use by families.

Educational Technology

Technology Center for Teaching and Learning

The Center, through its Technology Center for Teaching and Learning, develops and distributes easy to use, mobile student assessment and database systems designed to inform better teaching and learning in specific program areas. Center software, developed in collaboration with teachers, and school administrators, is cost effective and focuses not simply on data collection, but on identifying areas where additional student learning is needed.  Because these assessment programs often suggest additional instructional approaches, they help guide and enhance teaching and learning. The data-gathering systems operate on essentially all web-enabled mobile devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. Data is stored on our secure, password protected servers where sophisticated reports turn data into information for analysis and instructional decision-making.

The Center’s programs include:

Preschool Assessment System This mobile observation-based Pre-K assessment system enables teachers to record the progress of young children across all domains of learning. The system automatically collects information that easily documents each student’s developmental progress and identifies learning areas where additional emphasis should be placed in early childhood lesson plans. The system includes a lesson planning tool, electronic portfolios and fun and engaging activities that can be sent home to further support student learning. More information at myelsonline.org

Early Literacy Assessment System  Designed to evaluate literacy development of students in kindergarten through Grade 2, this research-based, normed assessment and software system quickly identify instructional needs in eleven specific learning areas. These include such developmental indicators as phonemic awareness, developmental spelling, vocabulary, fluency as well as listening and reading comprehension. Using these instruments, teachers can easily and quickly identify areas where the whole class as well as individual students will benefit from additional instructional supports.

K-2 Formative Instructional Tasks  This instructional delivery and formative assessment system was developed for a multi-state assessment consortium in conjunction with Literacy and Mathematics content experts.  It provides schools with 32 comprehensive lesson plans that also serve as a model for Common Core driven learning in the early grades.