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Kindergarten Readiness Innovator

Do you have an innovative solution to an issue that impacts kindergarten readiness? Would you like to help spread this solution to other educators, positively impacting student learning while receiving an implementation grant, professional development, and leadership coaching? Through the Kindergarten Readiness Innovation program, Teach Plus recruits, selects, trains, and supports outstanding educational leaders to lead an effort to innovate a solution to an issue relating to Kindergarten readiness.

What is the Kindergarten Readiness Innovation Initiative?

Last year, only 26% of children in Illinois demonstrated readiness in all three areas of the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), and 39% of children did not show readiness in any of the areas. We need educators with ideas for innovative solutions to help us close this gap for our state’s youngest learners! The Kindergarten Readiness Innovation Initiative a year-long grant initiative for educators whose work impacts children in pre-K and kindergarten. Recipients will develop and lead a year-long project to improve kindergarten readiness. Successful applicants will receive a leadership stipend, an implementation grant, and leadership coaching as they implement their project.  Applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience and currently work in an education setting (for example--teacher, administrator, district employee, community leader, etc.) who currently or previously demonstrated effectiveness in their classroom and who have the potential to develop the skills necessary for effectively leading other teachers/adults. Potential innovations could fall under aligned teaching and learning (between pre-K and kindergarten teachers), aligned assessment and data use (between pre-K and kindergarten, schools within a district, between districts, and/or across the state), or strengthened cross-sector partnerships (between families, communities, schools, and teachers).  

To apply to this program, an educator and the appropriate decision-maker (ex--principal, district staff, community leader), co-identify an innovative solution to an issue addressing kindergarten readiness that they would like to spread to other educators. Once selected, this educator becomes a Teach Plus Kindergarten Readiness Innovator, joining the Kindergarten Readiness Innovator cohort with educators from other selected schools/organizations. Teach Plus will support the Kindergarten Readiness Innovator in tackling their problem throughout the school year, in the following ways: 

  • Implementation Grant -Teach Plus will provide Innovators with a $5,000 grant to help them execute their project.
  • Leadership Training - Kicking off over the spring/summer, we’ll host a two-day leadership training session, helping Innovators create goals and action plans to implement their innovative solution.  
  • Monthly Coaching - Monthly during the school year, Teach Plus provides regular coaching sessions and cohort meetings to support Innovators in their growth as educational leaders throughout the implementation of their action plans.  
  • Stipend - In recognition of their time and effort, Teach Plus will also award all participating Innovators a $2,500 stipend.

As a Kindergarten Readiness Innovator, you will:

  • Work with the appropriate decision-maker to identify a high-leverage problem and innovative solution that affects kindergarten readiness, which you will address with a team of educators throughout the school year;
  • Attend two-day training over the spring/summer to develop your goals and action plan. An administrator with access to data and decision-making power must attend with you for the first part of the training;
  • Work independently and collaboratively each month with Teach Plus coaches and the Kindergarten Readiness Innovator cohort to discuss, analyze data, reflect, and revise action plans. Cohort meetings will last 2-3 hours and occur once a month (alternating between virtual and in person sessions);
  • Celebrate your progress at a showcase with other Innovators, principals, district staff, and the philanthropic community. 

The application is due by March 1st and must be completed by a current educator (teacher, administrator, district staff, community leader), with at least two years of classroom experience, with approval from his/her supervisor.


Applicants must have at least two years of teaching experience and currently work in an education setting in Illinois (for example--teacher, administrator, district employee, community leader, etc.)

Application Process

Part 1- Online application
Part 2- Performance task & virtual interview
Part 3- Supervisor phone interview & reference check

Application and Series Timeline

Application Deadline:  March 22nd
Interviews (conducted virtually): March 30th
Supervisor Phone Interview & Reference Check: April 7th
Final Notification: April 17th

Facilitator Training: Late June

‚ÄčPlease contact Kristen Ciciora ( with any questions.