AIMS Directs Federal Grant to Support Illinois Middle Schools

The Association of Illinois Middle-grade Schools (AIMS) advocates for middle school students and the professionals who serve them. In response to lagging proficiency in math and English language arts among eighth graders, AIMS directed two federal grants for Illinois middle schools to implement the strategic instructional modelPower of Two: Pairing Literacy and Numeracy Professional Learning for Middle Grades TeachersOn May 7th, the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform hosted a legislator briefing in Washington, D.C. to showcase the projects’ success.

AIMS Treasurer and Illinois Grant Project Director, Vicki Mogil and Laurel Kuxhaus of Congressman Lipinski’s office

With funds from the SEED grant, a federally funded initiative focused on enhanced educational opportunities, nine Chicago middle schools trained teachers to implement the Focused Instructional Model (FIM) in math and Academic Language Development (ALD) programs. Participating schools paired students’ English language arts and math intervention experiences to accelerate academic growth. Implementation of the paired intervention approach shifted practice across all aspects of the schools to bolster student learning, effectively changing the way teachers addressed students’ specific academic needs. Schools saw significant student growth as evidenced by NWEA test data in math and reading.

Power of Two Instructional Coaches at Schools to Watch Conference

Schools participating in the grant project benefitted from Chicago-based professional development activities, membership in the AIMS Network and access to all AIMS events during the grant period. Instructional coaches received expert training in the ALD program and the FIM in mathematics at the National Schools to Watch Conference and ongoing support from AIMS Treasurer and SEED Grant Project Director, Vicki Mogil.

AIMS, in conjunction with the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform, advocates for middle-level learners through its work with federal grants designed to support schools and teachers. For more information about the SEED grant and future opportunities for Illinois middle schools, contact AIMS Executive Director, John Viano.