At this writing, I have just come from a meeting of the
Governor’s Education Task Force here in
Our certification staff continues to work overtime to process certification applications, and we have made significant headway in eliminating the backlog. Headcount is up in the division, and we have been able to process 2,579 completed applications in the past three weeks. That said, it remains clear that a comprehensive revision of the rules governing certification is necessary if we are going to be able to prevent future backlogs once the current backlog has been cleared.
In addition, by working together we have successfully cut the number of districts with errors on their AYP data significantly. However, some districts still show discrepancies. ISBE staff members will contact these districts by phone by early next week at the latest to walk them through Schoolhouse and complete this process. While we still have a bit more to do before all of the School Report Card data has been corrected, I’m confident we’ll get there.
At next week’s board meeting we are planning to announce a three-point plan of attack for comprehensively reviewing and streamlining current rules and regulations for school districts. As a reminder, if you have recommendations on this topic, you can share them with the agency at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have also begun meeting regularly with the Illinois Finance Authority to look at programs they have available that can save schools money. Stay tuned—more on these initiatives will be forthcoming.
Randy J. Dunn
State Superintendent of Education (Interim)
Also included in today’s message:
Annual Claim for Pupil Transportation Reimbursement Revisions DUE OCTOBER 29
All entities who submitted a 2003-04 Annual Claim for
Pupil Transportation Reimbursement via the Pupil Transportation Claim
Reimbursement System in IWAS are hereby notified that the review and amendment
(if needed) process will end at close of business on October 29, 2004.
Revisions will not be accepted after
New Interim Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning makes School Report Card Data a priority
Dr. Ginger Reynolds joined the State Board this week as
Interim Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Services. She
completed her doctorate in educational policy at the
Dr. Reynolds has placed finalizing School Report Card data at the top of her priorities. She reports that State Board staff members are calling a small number of schools with remaining data discrepancies. Once that process is complete, School Report Cards will be finalized as quickly as possible.
In the next few days, superintendents of unit and high school districts will be receiving a memo from the Student Assessment Division that will provide guidance for implementing Public Act 93-857 – Prairie State Achievement Examination as a Condition for Graduation for 2004-05 school year.
Please make sure that principals and guidance counselors receive this memo as well.
This guidance will also be posted at www.isbe.net/assessment. If you have any questions, please call Student Assessment at 217-782-4823.
Spring Testing Dates for 2005
The dates, grades and content areas that will be tested in spring of 2005 can be found at http://www.isbe.net/assessment/Chart2005.htm. The testing sessions for ISAT can be found at http://www.isbe.net/assessment/isatschedule05.htm
The checklist of dates for 2005 PSAE spring testing can be found on the PSAE Web page (www.isbe.net/assessment/psae.htm under Information for PSAE Test Supervisors/Accommodations Coordinators) – please refer to it for critical milestone dates. The revised School Schedule and Site Options document is also posted there – the link to the off-site request form is included in that document under Option 7.
Notice of Completed Rulemaking
Please be advised that a rulemaking item recently adopted by the State Board of Education is now in effect. This updated set of rules has been posted on the agency’s web site at www.isbe.net/rules; choose “Rules Currently in Effect” and scroll to the relevant Part number. (If you print only the affected Sections, remember to include the table of contents for the Part, which changes every time the Part is amended.)
Part 575 (School Technology Program)
P.A. 93-368, effective
· allows charter schools, area vocational centers and university laboratory schools to apply for loans;
· allows participants to use up to 10 percent of loan proceeds to purchase computer furniture; and
· requires that rules for the program specify collateral for the loan.
General state aid will be used as collateral in the case of a loan recipient's default on a loan, and the amendments describes the process for the State Board of Education's accessing general state aid when a default occurs.
Affected Sections: 575.100, 575.200, 575.300, 575.400, 575.500, 575.600, and 575.700
National Mock Election – October 28
The National Student/Parent Mock Election is sponsoring a special national election to get students and parents actively involved in the democratic process.
The program promotes teacher and student participation
in the National Student/Parent Mock Election set for
Educators and parents can enroll at www.nationalmockelection.org, by
mail to the National Student/Parent Mock Election,
Additionally, all state ballots can be downloaded from
the National Student/Parent Mock Election Web site on the “How to Vote” page,
and on the New Jersey Division of Elections Web site. Teachers who wish to have
their students vote individually online will be able to take advantage of
The State Board of Education invites you to nominate
your local board president for the
This award was created in 1991 in memory of the late
ISBE chairman and is presented each November at the IASB/IASA/IASBO conference
Nominations should be submitted to the address listed
below by the close of business on
For nomination information and format please go to: http://www.isbe.net/pdf/burroughs_award.pdf
Please nomination materials to:
Office of Board Services
State Board of Education
Those Who Excel Nominations
Recognize the unsung heroes of your school or district! Nomination information and forms for the 2004-05 Those Who Excel program may be accessed at www.isbe.net/those_who_excel.htm or please call Ann Keran at 217/782-4648 for a paper copy.
Middle Grade Education Symposium
A national symposium on middle grades education,
entitled, Lessons in the Middle Grades:
Research, Policy and Practice in Today's World is scheduled for December 6th & 7th
at the Westin Hotel O'Hare (near
The middle grades have been described as the "last best chance" to reach adolescent learners. During a period of their lives marked by rapid physical, emotional, social and moral development, these students need teachers specially prepared to address their unique developmental needs. These educators must be prepared in both content and pedagogy in order to challenge and nurture these young, eager minds. Yet out-of-field teaching in the middle grades ranges between 39% and 82%. The No Child Left Behind law makes these issues even more urgent.
This symposium seeks to propel the movement for better education for adolescent learners to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his/her potential. Please join us as we initiate an action agenda for middle grades reform.
An overview of the symposium's sessions and presenters, and online registration is available at www.cprd.uiuc.edu/symposium/
Beyond Field Trips – Children’s Museum Event
The Chicago Children’s Museum is hosting an educator’s event on Tuesday, Oct. 19, “Beyond Field Trip Basics: What Children Really Learn.” The interactive presentation offers insights from educators on the impact of informal experiences on the classroom curriculum. The evening’s events include a reception, presentation, special previews and presentation in the IMAX theater.
Participants can earn one Continuing Professional Development Unit.
The event and free admission is for educators only. For more information on the schedule, speakers, or to RSVP, please call 312/464-8243.