Please direct all program related information and questions to:
Bureau of Youth Services and Delinquency Prevention
815-823 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
The objective of Illinois Steps AHEAD (Attaining Higher Education Through Academic Development) (ISA) is to increase the number of low-income students who are academically prepared and ready to succeed in post secondary education. The program works with students from low-income families in 21 urban and rural areas of Illinois. Illinois Steps AHEAD follows middle school students through high school graduation and enrollment in post-secondary education. The program assists families, schools, and communities to engage and motivate students to attend and succeed in higher education.
II. Policies and Procedures
The Provider will provide the following services and agrees to act in accordance with all state and federal statutes and administrative rules applicable to the provision of services pursuant to this Agreement.
III. Contract and Amendment Process
The contract between the Department and the Provider is generally referred to as the Agreement and consists of several parts:
- Community Service Agreement, containing the standard contract language used for all Department contracts
- Exhibit A, containing Scope of Services/Purpose of Grant
- Exhibit B, containing Deliverables
- Exhibit C, containing Payment Information
- Exhibit D, containing Contact Information
- Attachment E
- The Program Manual, attached by reference to the Agreement, contains the program service provisions.
The Department will initiate the contract by having it online for the Provider to obtain and sign. The Provider will fax signature page to the Department to obtain the Secretary's signature and the Department will return a copy of the executed signature page of the contract to the Provider via pdf email.
There are two types of amendments to an executed Community Service Agreement.
- Letters of increase or decrease - A letter is sent to the Provider stating the intent to increase or decrease dollars to specific program services existing in the Community Service Agreement. There is no need for the Provider to sign and return this document.
- Formal amendments - A two-party signed agreement to an executed Agreement is a formal amendment. The following process is required for a formal amendment to be processed:
- Adding new program services - An amendment to add a new program service must contain a detailed summary of services to be provided under the executed Community Services Agreement and a method of payment.
- Extending the service dates of the Community Services Agreement* - An amendment to extend the service dates of the Community Services Agreement must contain the following information: Agreement number as it appears on the original Community Services Agreement; Provider name; clause stating the new term of the Agreement; signatures of the Provider and the Secretary of the Department of Human Services
*NOTE: A Community Services Agreement end date should be June 30, due to mandates in the State Finance Act regarding audit period. Language on pages one through nine in the Community Services Agreement may not be changed.
- Extending the service dates of an existing program attachment - An amendment to extend the date of a specific attachment in the existing Community Services Agreement must contain the following information: -Agreement number as it appears on the original Community Services Agreement; Provider name; clause stating the new term and the specific attachment name and number; signatures of the Provider and the Secretary of the Department of Human Services
- Changing language within an existing program attachment - An amendment to change language in an existing program attachment of the Community Services Agreement must contain the following information: -Agreement number as it appears on the Community Services Agreement; Provider name; clause(s) stating the new language; signatures of the Provider and the Secretary of the Department of Human Services
- Payments to the Provider will be made on a prospective basis, rounded to the nearest $100.00. The final prospective payment may be greater or lesser than the previous payments due to rounding.
- The Department will compare the amount of the prospective payments made to date with the documented expenditures provided to the Department by the Provider. In the event the documented services provided by the Provider do not justify the level of award being provided to the Provider, future payments may be withheld or reduced until such time as the services documentation provided by the Provider equals the amounts previously provided to the Provider. Failure of the Provider to provide timely documentation may result in a reduction to the total award.
- The final payment from the Department under this Agreement shall be made upon the Department's determination that all requirements under this Agreement have been completed, which determination shall not be unreasonably withheld. Such final payment will be subject to adjustment after the completion of a review of the Provider's records as provided in the Agreement.
V. Provider Responsibilities
In 1998, US Department of Education implemented the GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programming) program in an effort to provide low-income youth increased educational and career exploration assistance, as well as college scholarships. GEAR UP programs seek to expand the range of career choices and educational opportunities for youth by ensuring that all participants are college ready upon completion of the program.
Programs are to establish working relationships with schools, which also includes the release of grade and standardized test information. Programs are encouraged to establish working relationships with DHS local offices, local businesses, and other community service providers, and are required to execute formal linkage agreements with local colleges and universities.
GEAR UP programs must provide the following core services and may include additional services appropriate to community and participant needs. Core Services include:
- Tutoring/Homework Assistance/Academic Enrichment - Students receive tutorial help on their homework, and also work with standards-based and research-aligned curriculum to help improve academic skills.
- Computer Assisted Lab - Computer assisted lab is the basis for all academically oriented computer programs that students work with. These programs range in activity from ACT and SAT prep, career exploration, and college research.
- Mentoring - Mentoring refers to the actions taken to expose students to various career options and to instill self-confidence. Mentoring may include staff members working with students to stress the importance of college attendance, or helping them understand how to achieve their college and career goals.
- Counseling/Advising Academic Planning/Career Counseling - These activities help students select coursework that will increase their chances for college enrollment and succeed in their areas of academic interest.
- College Visit/College Student Shadowing - Taking students and their parents to visit a college campus or opportunities for program participants to follow college students through their daily activities.
- Job Site Visit/Job Shadowing - Career exploration refers to all job shadowing and job site visits.
- Educational Field Trips - Trips that are designed to heighten awareness of and provide educational experiences that students would not normally get a chance to receive.
- Workshops - Workshops are seminars on various educational topics. These workshops may be focused on college access and placement, as well as leadership and character development.
- Family Events - Events that the entire family is encouraged to participate in. The events can be showcases of students achievements, or presentations for families to share. These events can expand beyond, but should include, students' immediate families.
- Cultural Events - Cultural Events are those that seek to increase and heighten awareness to different cultures and customs. Examples include participation in events for Black history month or learning about the origins of Caesar Chavez day.
- College Visits for Parents - Visits to college campuses that are arranged to encourage or facilitate parental participation.
- Counseling/Advising for Parents - Counseling/Advising time can be used includes activities to inform parents of the Illinois Steps AHEAD program or to update them on their students' progress and personal needs. These activities need not be formally organized. Workshops for college preparation/financial aid - Periodic sessions to help parents gain a thorough understanding of preparation for college, including information about financial aid and enrollment.
The Provider must use the ISA funds to support ISA core services as described above and services described in the Provider's approved program plan.
The Provider may recruit students in ninth through twelfth grades to participate in the program's core services. Each participating student and his or her parent(s) must complete an Illinois Step AHEAD Resource Agreement. The Provider may not enroll new students in the program's scholarship component without prior written approval from the Department in writing.
The Provider must direct recruitment efforts toward students who are low income as defined by being eligible for Title I (federal funds provided for additional services and resources to at risk students defined as low achieving, limited English proficiency students, migratory students, and students with disabilities), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or the Free or Reduced Price Lunch program. The Provider must use curriculum that is "standards based and research aligned" (curriculum aligned with the Illinois State Standards for math, reading, English, and science in which research has been conducted and shown to have positive outcomes for students).
The Provider will work collaboratively with other programs and services provided by the Department and its Contractors in the Provider's service area for Illinois Steps AHEAD. The Provider will collaborate with local area colleges and schools that have students attending Illinois Steps AHEAD program activities. The Provider will be encourage to collaborate with partnering agencies participating in the Illinois Steps AHEAD program.
Service Hours & Days of Operation
The Provider should operate after and/or during school hours based on their community needs, in particular the early evening hours. Providers are encouraged to implement programs that will operate on Saturdays and Sundays.
Illinois Steps AHEAD is a year-round program. The Provider must offer programming every month, including summer vacation and other recognized school breaks as appropriate.
The Provider will ensure representation at mandatory program meetings and trainings convened by or in behalf of the Department.
Data collection and reporting
Required data will be collected and maintained on all youth enrolled in the ISA program.
The Provider will submit required fiscal and program reports in the format designated by the Department.
The Provider will participate in data collection and outcome evaluation activities as designated by the Department.
The Provider will report participant, case planning and service delivery data to DHS utilizing the eCornerstone system daily.
The Provider shall maintain records and submit data and reports as required by the Department of Human Services, in accordance with Department procedures, which shall include:
- unduplicated number and demographic characteristics of program participants, annual enrollment data,
- participant attendance data,
- hours of operation,
- program service activity,
- participant outcomes in accordance with the goals and objectives specified for ISA,
- academic outcomes, and
- reporting on all ISA PERMS (see "Special Conditions," below)
Failure to submit the required data, reports and forms timely may result in the Department withholding or suspending funds.
Fiscal reports shall be provided 30 days after the end of each reporting period to:
Illinois Department of Human Services
Bureau of Community and Youth Programs
Fiscal Support Services
815-823 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
Program Plan & Deliverables
The Provider will submit an annual program and spending plan in a format designed by the Division of Community Health and Prevention.
Indirect costs are not allowed for this program. (Indirect means general or specific costs not directly allocated with the management or implementaion of the program).
No more than 20 percent of the total award may be used for administrative costs and services. (Administrative means those activities performed by staff and costs which are supportive of and required for the project for which there is no direct client contact such as administrative and fiscal staff, clerical support, rent, utilities, and general office equipment.)
There will be no exceptions to the contract requirements without prior written approval from program staff.
The Provider shall permit Department staff to conduct reviews of its records of service delivery to clients. The purpose for these reviews shall be to ensure that ISA services are being provided to youth in accordance with the approved agency program plan and budget; and to ensure that the following performance standards identified by the Department are being upheld:
- Timely data entry: e-Cornerstone (Attendance and Enrollments): Provider is expected to input data within 2 days of event or activity.
- Actual Population Served - Providers will continue to serve youth who are already enrolled in the program. As designated under the "priority student model," no new youth may be enrolled in the program during state fiscal year 2012.
- Proposed vs. Actual Average Daily Attendance - This performance indicator considers the approved projected Average Daily Attendance as compared to the Actual Average Daily Attendance, by site and by agency. The goal is 75% or more of projections.
- Days Open - Average - The average number of days that the program is in operation per week will be monitored on a quarterly basis. It is expected the sites will be open 2.8 or more days a week.
- Average # of days (by age group) - Provider will assure that 85% or more of youth will attend the program 3 or more days per week.
- Average # of tutorial hours - Provider will assure that 80% or more of youth will receive at least 4 hours of tutorial services per week.
- Average number of career/college exploration hours - Provider will assure that 80% or more of youth receive a minimum of 2 hours of college/career exploration per month.
- Average number of hours spent conducting parental workshops/activities - Provider will spend at least 3 hours or more per quarter conducting parental workshops/activities.
- Average number of parental workshops/activities - Provider will assure that 70% or more of parents will participate in at least 3 hours of parental workshops / activities per quarter.
- Academic Performance - percentage of students passing all classes - Provider will assure that 75% or more of students have not received a failing grade in any academic subject during any full grading period during the school year.
- Academic Performance- percentage of students maintaining a "C" average - Provider will assure that 70% or more of students will possess a "C" average for all of their classes. This can also be defined as a 2.0 on a four-point grade scale or an average of at least seventy percent in all classes.
- Academic Performance- percentage of individual learning plans - Provider will assure that 90% or more of students will have on file an individual learning plan that has been constructed in concert with a student's parents and teachers.
- Academic Performance- linkage agreements- Provider will assure that linkage agreements are on file from partnership schools addressing timely access to report card data and standardized test scores.
More detailed information on these performance standards may be found in the ISA PERMS Manual, which is incorporated herein by reference.
The Department of Human Services will be collecting data from ISA programs to measure the above performance indicators. Periodic site visits will be conducted to measure performance indicators as well.
VI. Department Responsibilities
The Department will respond to the needs of the Provider as required within the full scope of the Agreement.
VII. Support Services
Utilization of Community Resources
It shall be the responsibility of each project director to coordinate the services provided through the project with other sources of care in the community, such as:
- The Illinois Medical Assistance Program
- Local Health Departments
- Neighborhood Health Centers
- Local child Development Clinics
- Division of Specialized Care for Children
- Local Hospitals
- Local Children and Family Services Programs
- Local Schools
- Vocational Rehabilitation Services
- Regional Prenatal Centers
- Local Early Intervention Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Handicaps
- Other related social service agencies
Please refer to 77 Ill. Admin. Code 630.160 and 630.170; Other Applicable Rules; and to the program-specific Exhibits for additional requirements.
VIII. Billing Instructions
Providers shall use the following methodology to document the use of these funds:
- The Provider shall provide summary documentation by line item of actual expenditures incurred for the purchase of goods and services necessary for conducting program activities. The Provider shall use generally accepted accounting practices to record expenditures and revenues as outlined in DHS Rule 509, Fiscal Administrative Recordkeeping and Requirements.
- Expenditures shall be recorded in the Provider's records in such a manner as to establish an audit trail for future verification of appropriate use of Agreement funds.
- Expenditure documentation shall be submitted, in a format defined by the Division of Community Health and Prevention, to the Department on a quarterly basis, within 30 days after the end of each calendar quarter. However, the Provider shall have the option to report monthly.
- The Provider shall submit expenditure documentation by one of the following means:
- Mailing Address
815-823 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
- All financial record keeping on the part of the Provider shall be in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles consistently applied.
Expenditure Documentation Form Instructions
Expenditure Documentation Form
IX. Program Monitoring
The Department will provide periodic monitoring and technical assistance that will ensure efficient service delivery, effective resource management and successful outcomes.
X. Program Budget
Providers agree to establish and utilize a budget approved by the Provider's Board of Directors.