The Center was founded in 1972 as the Illinois Resource Center (IRC), with a focus on the educational, cultural and linguistic needs of children from families where languages other than English are spoken. The IRC quickly became a valuable resource for school districts and other organizations charged with providing services for the neediest populations in Illinois.
As its reputation grew, the Illinois Resource Center was also asked to help identify qualifications for teachers hired to work with students of English-language learners. The sequence of professional development courses advocated by the IRC today remain at the core of teacher certification for programs of English language learning.
Because of the success of the IRC model, The Center expanded its programs into additional academic areas where a collaborative approach among experts opened new avenues for development of improved teaching and learning. Today, all Center programs focus on a particular aspect of education, but staff members from all programs work with one another to produce enhanced results. Each program offers conferences, workshops, institutes or other training forums, and all provide customized, on-site resources to help schools improve their own programs.
The Center’s additional programs today include:
Early Childhood Professional Learning, for educational professionals who serve young children at risk of educational failure
Early Childhood Development Enrichment Center, for directly delivered services to young children and their parents
Adult Learning Resource Center, for community college and other education professionals who provides schooling for adult learners
Technology Center for Teaching and Learning, with a suite of tablet-based software and on-line database systems for education and related markets
Star Net Region II, an information and support agency for educators and parents of young children with special needs