How Do We Improve Our Circumstances?

There is not one solution to fostering great schools, but a combination of many key elements. We must attract and support teachers, and build great pedagogy using field-based training, pedagogical excellence, teaching academies with paid clinical training, etc. Attracting great and diverse teachers requires many system changes. International data demonstrates that it’s not all about pay. We need to increase the prestige of teaching and people will feel more of a commitment to service. We also need great leaders who are great teachers. Leaders create the environment for great learning. They understand great instruction, set the instructional tone at the school, have some business sense, but focus on safety, climate and instructional quality.

We need more parent engagement. Parents/guardians need to truly understand what low and high performing schools are and understand how to interpret school performance data. Ignacio Lopez, Ed.D and assistant professor of Education at NLU, conducted a study with more than 60 parents of the Pilsen/Midway community who attended a seven-part training. From this we learned that parents are often asked to be involved with schools, but what “we schools” seek is "engagement," an opportunity for parents to contribute to their children's learning by discussing school-data, curriculum and school improvement plans.

Often times doubt exists among some teachers and school leaders, stating "parents in this community really don't care about their kids’ education." What we learned, is that parents don't know that they want to know. When we showed them school-reform related issues to parents (on school closings and inequities in services), they demanded to know more.

Importantly, schools and communities alike must calibrate their understanding of culture and identity. Many times parents show love to their child in ways that others aren't accustomed to.  

We need to lean forward and adapt to the global, economic, and societal changes that are creating a great “mash-up” of ideas, processes, needs, and conditions in the United States and across the globe.  We need to think in an integrated interdisciplinary way. And we must not forget that we are all unified by the common belief that every child deserves a great school.

1  2  3


Bibliography:

1Duncan, Greg J. (author) and Murnane, Richard J. (editor). Whither Opportunity? Russell Sage Foundation, September 2011.

2http://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/ (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). Financial and Human Resources Invested in Education, 2011.

3http://nces.ed.gov (National Center for Education Statistics).

4 http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pisa/ (Program for International Student Assessment).

5http://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/ (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development). Financial and Human Resources Invested in Education, 2011.

6 http://nctaf.org/wp-content/uploads/NCTAFCostofTeacherTurnoverpolicybrief.pdf (Policy Brief: The High Cost of Teacher Turnover).

Locations
  • CHICAGO DOWNTOWN CAMPUS

    NLU’s Chicago campus on South Michigan Avenue occupies five floors of the historic Peoples Gas Building. This landmark building, across the street from the Art Institute of Chicago and Grant Park, is easily accessible by train, bus and car and is surrounded by restaurants, parking lots/garages and shops.

    122 S. Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    (888) 658.8632
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  • ELGIN

    Conveniently located in a fast-growing business district off I-90 and Route 31, NLU Elgin features 10 classrooms with high-tech media equipment; a computer lab with high-speed Internet access; two conference rooms; and comfortable student lounges. Parking is free at this recently remodeled and upgraded teaching site, which now includes wireless Internet access.

    620 Tollgate Road
    Elgin, IL 60123
    (888) 658.8632
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  • NORTH SHORE

    Opened in the summer of 2006, NLU North Shore at Skokie is a state-of-the-art modern campus located just off the Edens Expressway near the Old Orchard Shopping Center. The campus includes 44 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a walk-in lab in the library; six conference rooms; a public café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; and multiple, comfortable student lounge areas.

    5202 Old Orchard Road
    Skokie, IL 60077
    (888) 658.8632
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  • LISLE

    Located just minutes from the East-West Tollway (I-88), NLU Lisle features 42 wireless classrooms equipped with high-tech media equipment; four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, including a separate walk-in lab in the library; a café for beverages and snacks; a student welcome center; a library for research and study; conference rooms; and six comfortable student lounge areas with wireless access.

    850 Warrenville Road
    Lisle, IL 60532
    (888) 658.8632
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  • WHEELING

    Located in one of Chicago's major northwest suburbs, the newly renovated NLU Wheeling includes 20 classrooms with high-tech media equipment, four conference rooms, four computer labs with high-speed Internet access, large student lounge areas with wireless capabilities and interactive video capabilities, and an extensive research library. The site also houses the university library research collection.

    1000 Capitol Drive
    Wheeling, IL 60090
    (888) 658.8632
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  • FLORIDA (TAMPA)

    Established in 1988 and located in one of the city's major business districts, NLU's Florida Regional Center serves students in 13 counties in central Florida. In addition to six classrooms, this location features a conference room, a computer lab with high-speed Internet access, an extensive research library and comfortable student lounges.

    5110 Eisenhower Boulevard Suite 102
    Tampa, FL 33634
    (800) 366.6581
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  • WISCONSIN

    NLU's Milwaukee campus has a proud history of serving graduate students in education in southeastern Wisconsin. Nearly one in five certified Wisconsin teachers looks to NLU for graduate education programs – more than any other university in the state. In addition to classrooms with high-tech media equipment, the campus offers a state-of-the-art computer lab with wireless Internet access and an extensive IDS research library.

    12000 West Park Place, Suite 100
    Milwaukee, WI 53224-3007
    (414) 577.2658
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