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Back to School 2019-20

Want to see photos from your district on ISBE’s webpage and social media pages? Email your Back to School photos and captions to   Please make sure that you have obtained the necessary media consent from the parent/guardian of each student shown in the photos.

Welcome Back!

This is an exciting time of year, as we’re all looking forward to the start of another great school year! As you gear up for students to return to the classroom, ISBE is here to provide all the information and supports you need to make this your school’s best year yet. It’s our mission at​​ the Illinois State Board of Education to ensure that every single student has the support they need to succeed, and that starts with supporting our school leaders. We’re also here to listen to your feedback and ensure that we have ongoing conversations that move Illinois education forward. If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback, on any topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us – we’re here to serve your needs and always value your feedback.​ Please email ​​.

2019-20 Back to School Webinar for District & ROE Administrators:

State Superintendent Dr. Carmen I. Ayala hosted a webinar for district administrators and ROE superintendents/ISC directors on Aug. 13 in preparation for the 2019-20 school year. Dr. Ayala spoke about the upcoming school year and the resources available to administrators. ISBE senior staff also answered questions during a Q&A period.

For more Back to School updates:

If you would like to be added to ISBE's Weekly Message email list, email​​.

Deep-Dive webinars on key topics for back to school:

#ILBacktoSchool photo c​ampaign

What does Back to School look like in your school and district? Share your pictures on Twitter and Facebook with #ILBacktoSchool and we will highlight your stories on our social media pages!

New Teacher Assignability Tool


ISBE has created an interactive tool that can be used by district and school administrators, regional offices of education/intermediate service centers, and educators to determine what credentials an individual must hold for a particular teaching assignment. Users will start by indicating if the assignment in question is for a teacher or a substitute teacher. Users will then be led through a wizard of questions before arriving at a final screen listing the qualifications the educator must meet to teach the position in question. After viewing required qualifications documents, users can click on each credential to see requirements that must be met to earn it, and click “View Teacher Credentials in ELIS” to see where these credentials will be listed in a teacher’s ELIS account.

Quick Links

We have organized some quick links and facts below to help you navigate hot topics affecting districts and schools at the start of the 2019-20 school year.


 Support and Accountability

2019 Report Card ​

The Illinois Report Card is an annual report released by the Illinois State Board of Education that shows how the state, and each school and district, are progressing on a wide range of educational goals. The Report Card offers a complete picture of student and school performance in order to inform and empower families and communities as they support their local schools. Subscribe to the Report Card Rundown for monthly updates.  

Summative Designations

Summative designations help families and communities understand how well schools are serving all students. Illinois has four summative designations for schools: Exemplary, Commendable, Underperforming, and Lowest Performing. Underperforming schools and Lowest-Performing schools receive additional funding and customizable supports to build local capacity and improve student outcomes. Multiple measures of school performance and growth determine a school’s designation. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to provide every school a summative designation. ISBE will include school designations on the 2019 Illinois Report Card.


IL-EMPOWER is the statewide system of accountability and support that empowers schools with greater choice and voice in the school improvement process. Schools, districts, partners, and ISBE are working collaboratively to promote shifts in practice and build capacity. 

Site-Based Expenditure Reporting

ESSA contains a short but significant provision requiring Local Education Agencies (LEAs) to report not only district-level expenditure data but also, for the first time, site-based expenditure data. FY 2019 is the first year for reporting data and it will be included on the 2019 Illinois Report Card. Various supports and resources can be found at

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Amendment​

ISBE hosted a listening tour throughout the state during the spring to gather feedback on the new support and accountability system. Stakeholder feedback gathered throughout the tour will inform an amendment to the Illinois ESSA Plan that will go into effect for the 2020-21 school year and will improve Illinois’ approach to measuring and supporting school performance. 
ISBE requested feedback on several major areas of the support and accountability system during the tour, including:
  • Overall weighting of academic vs. student success indicators
  • Weighting of individual indicators
  • Assessment policy for newly arrived English Learners        
  • Designations
  • Number of designations
  • Names of designations
  • Criteria for Exemplary designation
Updates will continue to be provided as we move forward with the ESSA amendment process. 


​ISBE continually strives to strengthen the quality and functionality of state assessments to support educators in tailoring instruction to serve the needs of students and ensure that they master the standards necessary to be prepared for college and career. Stay up-to-date on all state assessment information by subscribing to ISBE’s Assessment Listserv

District Assessment Survey

  • The fourth annual District Assessment Survey is now available. Legislation requires each school district to report information to ISBE concerning the administration of standardized assessments to students at each school. The law also requires schools to make this information public via the school district's website or distribution in paper form. Districts can comply with this requirement by linking to the assessment survey results. This will also allow districts to track their completion rate. The survey will dynamically populate data submitted in the previous year for review and editing as needed.
  • Please note that the law defines tests "scored by a non-district entity" as the focus of this data collection effort. We refer to these as "standardized".
  • We appreciate your assistance with completing the form before Friday, Sept. 27, at noon. Contact the Assessment Department​ at (866) 317-6034 if you have specific questions about the survey.
  • Please click here for a How-to-GuidePDF Document  on completing the survey. ​​

 Legislation and Policies

View School Year 2019-20 Legislation.PDF Document

Read about Public Act 101-0012PDF Document, the new law that reinstates the requirement that a school day must consist of a minimum of five hours of instructional time. The law also allows districts to use e-learning days in lieu of emergency days. View the E-Leaning webinar recording for additional information​.

Learn more about the Accelerated Placement Act during a webinar on Aug 12Go To Meeting Link. The Act requires all school districts to develop and implement a local policy that uses a fair and equitable decision-making process with multiple measures to identify students who may benefit from accelerated placement. Parents and educators can view existing guidance on the ActPDF Document.​

 Evidence-Based Funding

Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) sends more resources to Illinois’ most under-resourced students. EBF takes the necessary first steps toward ensuring all schools have the resources they need to provide a safe, rigorous, and well-rounded learning environment for all students. FY 2020 Evidence-Based Funding Calculations are now available. ISBE anticipates the first of 22 payments to be available on Aug. 12. ISBE produces a variety of resources for districts to better understand EBF including an EBF Distribution Calculation Guide available on our website​PDF Document.

FY 2020 Student Population Allocation Reports will be available in the coming weeks for utilization in the preparation of district FY 2020 Spending Plans.

 Competency-Based Education

Webinar – Investigating CBE: What it Means to Shift Towards a Competency-Based System – Aug. 15
Registration is available for a webinar presented by ISBE in partnership with the Midwest Comprehensive Center from 1-2 p.m. on Aug. 15. Investigating CBE: What it Means to Shift Towards a Competency-Based System will be presented by Je​n Sigrist, executive director of Media and Technology for the Central Rivers Area Education Agency in Iowa. Jen will address the following questions: What is a competency-based system all about? How does it look different from a traditional classroom? We'll talk about what CBE is during this introductory webinar, what it looks like in the classroom, and how the shift toward CBE impacts the system in supporting learners to be ready for the future.

Visit the Competency-Based Pilot webpage for additional information on how to implement CBE in your district!  


​​​Ed360 is a free, mobile-friendly, web application that provides accessible, actionable data for teachers, principals, district superintendents, and regional superintendents. ISBE designed Ed360 to empower educational leaders with access to near-real time metrics, updated nightly from the ISBE data warehouse. 
Ed360 features include: Metrics, such as educator licensure and employment data, student enrollment and course history data, classroom rosters, state assessment scores with performance levels (PARCC, SAT, ISA, and DLM results); opt-in services such as NWEA MAP and Plickers; open education resources including Khan Academy Math; exportable data visualizations; role-based security following FERPA guidelines; and easy access using district-associated GSuite or O365 credentials.

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