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Project Connect

Project Connect

Illinois State-wide Kindergarten Professional Development

Project Connect Registration for 2023-24 is Closed

Designed to Promote Equity

Project Connect is professional development for kindergarten teachers through a learning partnership between Erikson Institute and ISBE.

Effective teaching must start with understanding each child’s developmental, cultural, and linguistic assets. We help teachers assess and address the needs of the ‘whole child.’

Connect the Dots:

Improving Kindergarten Assessment, Teaching, and Learning

Read the article


Illinois State Board of Education Logo          Kindergarten Individual Development Survey Logo

Project Connect’s last cohort of Kindergarten teachers for the 2023-24 school year is closed.

Underwritten by a generous grant, this one-year program is low-cost to districts and schools. As a result of their participation, kindergarten teachers will improve their ability to observe, document, and interpret children’s behavior and thinking using the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS).

Through a variety of engaging online formats, kindergarten teachers will gain:

  • ISBE PD Hours for high-quality, kindergarten-focused professional learning experience
  • Protected time during each PLC day for observation and documentation of children’s development on required KIDS measures
  • Collaboration with peers and Erikson facilitators to analyze child data and benefit from the use of KIDS as formative assessment
  • Deeper knowledge of children’s development in math and language/literacy, including dual language learning
  • Honorariums for teachers participating as Action Researchers

Administrators will be supported in advancing their working knowledge of developmentally appropriate early education and how best to utilize KIDS data.

Missed the Info Sessions?

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Project Connect: Illinois State-wide Kindergarten PD

What is Project Connect?

Learn about innovative, grant-funded work with Kindergarten teachers across Illinois.

Project Connect includes self-paced online modules, PLCs, and Administrator Seminars. Hear from project participants about what they’ve gained from their professional development experience.

Teacher Reading

Project Connect is comprised of the following:

  1. A kickoff in August to orient kindergarten teachers to Project Connect. Stipends for participation paid by Erikson.
  2. Five professional learning community (PLC) days throughout the year, held during the school day. Includes morning and afternoon virtual small group collaboration facilitated by an Erikson early childhood content specialist plus dedicated time for teachers to conduct observation and data collection.
  3. Four online self-paced professional learning modules aligned with the required KIDS domains. Modules deepen teachers’ content knowledge and illustrate children’s development through real classroom video.
  4. Two administrator seminars in the Fall and Spring to address the role of observational assessment and how to use KIDS data to drive school improvement.

About Participation

What will participation look like for Kindergarten teachers?

  • Participation in kick-off and PLCs throughout the year
  • Online self-paced professional development modules
  • Data collection for KIDS and analysis with peers and an Erikson facilitator
  • Completion of participation surveys for program evaluation

What will participation look like for Administrators?

  • One-year commitment to partner with Erikson, including working with kindergarten teachers to schedule and provide release time for their attendance on PLC days (flexible scheduling options available to ensure maximum participation)
  • Participation in a Fall and Spring Administrator Seminar, bringing together principals and other district leaders from across IL public schools
  • Support for K teachers to explore new instructional practices to best meet the needs of their students
Project Connect Recorded Session

Missed the info sessions?

Watch a recorded session

Learn more about the program components and how to apply today.

Claudia Lopez Principal | Fairfield Academy
Claudia Lopez
Principal | Fairfield Academy
“ Project Connect has been an amazing PD opportunity for my Kindergarten team. My teachers get a chance to analyze their own students’ data collected from the implementation of the new routine with Erikson specialists and Kindergarten colleagues from around the state on the same day!  We appreciate the flexibility in the design of the PD, which has facilitated finding coverage for teachers to attend on a particular day. At a time when a teacher’s job is so challenging, it is wonderful to be able to support them in attending job-embedded PD! ”