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Back to School 2016-17 

For more Back to School updates:

Illinois State Board of Education Vision, Mission, and Goals

Vision: Illinois is a state of whole, healthy children nested in whole, healthy systems supporting communities wherein all citizens are socially and economically secure.

Mission: Provide leadership and resources to achieve excellence across all Illinois districts through engaging legislators, school administrators, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders in formulating and advocating for policies that enhance education, empower districts, and ensure equitable outcomes for all students.

Goals: Every child in each public school system in the state of Illinois deserves to attend a system wherein…

  • All kindergartners are assessed for readiness.
  • Ninety percent or more third-grade students are reading at or above grade level.
  • Ninety percent or more fifth-grade students meet or exceed expectations in mathematics.
  • Ninety percent or more of ninth-graders are on track to graduate with their cohort.
  • Ninety percent or more students graduate from high school ready for college and career.
  • All students are supported by highly prepared and effective teachers and school leaders.
  • Every school offers a safe and healthy learning environment for all students.​

For Families

Welcome back to school! Families play a critical role in their children’s education. None of this is possible without your partnership and engagement.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) wants to make sure you have access to all you need to nurture your children’s healthy development and education. Below are recommended best practices and resources to help you start off the school year.


Attendance is important all year round, but especially so in the first month of school because that can predict poor attendance throughout the school year. Missing just two days per month negatively affects a student’s academic performance.

  • For younger students, poor attendance can influence whether they can read proficiently by the end of third grade or need to be held back.
  • By sixth grade, chronic absence is a leading indicator that a student will eventually drop out of high school.
  • Research also shows that attendance in ninth grade is a strong indicator of whether a student will finish high school. Also, attendance is a better indicator of whether a student will graduate from high school than test scores or other student traits.

Overall, when students improve their attendance rates, they improve their chances for academic success and improve the likelihood that they graduate.


Learning to Read, Reading to Learn

For the children who are still learning to read, the beginning of the school year is a great time to develop habits that will benefit them over the long term. Family involvement in and out of school is crucial to improving students’ reading skills.

 College/Career Readiness

Pathways to Success

ISBE believes every student should be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to successfully pursue higher education and to succeed in the 21st-century workforce. ISBE works with schools, districts, businesses, communities, and colleges to ensure students succeed in school and beyond.

Make sure you and your child are:

  • Academically ready

    As your children get older, stay connected to their school. Work with their teachers to make sure your children are taking the right classes – and succeeding in them
  • Admissions ready

    Encourage your child to get involved in extracurricular activities like after-school programs, sports, and school-based and community offerings that connect with their interests.
  • Career ready

    Talk to your child about their interests. Discuss which type of schooling might be the right fit for the careers or areas of study that interest them.
  • Financially ready

    Explore the financial planning tools offered through the Illinois Student Assistance Commission at www.ISAC.org. You and your child should talk to a school counselor and research scholarships online.
  • Personally and socially ready

    Help your child build positive relationships with peers who make good choices and are developing good study habits.
  • Be A Learning Hero - The Super 5: Back-to-School Power Moves
    Five important tips designed to help families guide their children’s academic success and emotional development and ensure their children are on the path to college and career readiness.

 Health & Wellness: Immunization Requirements for School Year 2016-2017

Immunization Requirements for School Year 2016-2017

Don’t wait, vaccinate! Immunizations are required to start school. Our partner, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), created an easy reference guide to help you understand what vaccines are required based on grade.

School Meals and Nutrition

  • If your school participates in the School Nutrition Programs (National School Lunch, School Breakfast, After-School Snacks, Special Milk) check with your school for information on applying for meal benefits. 
  • Has your child tried the school lunch and/or breakfast options at their school? The school meal programs provide tasty, healthy food items that meet the nutritional needs of the student based on their grade level.
  • Does your school offer enrichment activities after the school day? If they do, take a look at the After School Snack Program and see if it could benefit your students.


For Administrators

Welcome back to school! The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) thanks you for your hard work and commitment to the children of Illinois. ISBE strives to support and empower districts by providing the leadership and resources needed to achieve excellence across the state.

Below are materials to help make the transition back to school as smooth as possible.​

 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)


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