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Back to SchoolState Superintendent Tony Smith will lead a webinar for district administrators at 1 p.m. on Aug. 9 in preparation for the 2017-18 school year. He will speak about funding for schools, address new developments in state implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and update district administrators on state assessments and other key ongoing education initiatives. He will also discuss the resources that will be provided to administrators as they launch into the new school year.

A portion of the webinar will be devoted to answering questions. Participants are invited to email questions to
backtoschool@isbe.net by
Aug. 7. A list of most frequently asked questions will be compiled and addressed during the webinar.

To register, please go to
https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1032827730899995906.

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The grace period for renewing professional educator licenses and educator licenses with stipulations endorsed for career and technical educator ends Aug. 31. All licenses with a July 1, 2017, renewal date must be renewed and registered by Aug. 31 or they will lapse and be invalid for employment. Educators who wish to reinstate a lapsed license must either pay a $500 penalty fee or complete nine semester hours of endorsement-related coursework.

Administrators, please remind your staff to renew before the deadline and ensure all of your teachers are renewed and registered. To check, login to ELIS and ensure your educators’ “Registered Thru” column shows a date of 6/30/18 or later.

Educators, don’t let your license lapse! Login to your ELIS account today to record your professional development, renew, and register your license for the upcoming five-year cycle.

For questions, please contact ISBE’s Educator Effectiveness Division at (217) 557-6763 or licensure@isbe.net.

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Schools across Illinois participated in the fifth annual Illinois 5Essentials Survey of Learning Conditions: Organizing Schools for Improvement from Nov. 15, 2016, to Jan. 30, 2017. This survey generates data that districts can use to guide their ongoing efforts to improve schools and to offer students a world-class education. The survey is another improvement tool that allows districts and the state to share data as a means to inform parents and community members.

The administration window for the survey ran from January to March during the first four years it was taken. It was decided to administer the survey from late fall to early winter for school year 2016-17 after feedback was received from schools and districts. The shift in timeline, which will be maintained moving forward, gives students, parents, and school staff a better opportunity to provide feedback on the critical elements of school culture and climate. The Illinois 5Essentials Survey is administered online by UChicago Impact at the University of Chicago on behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education.


Accessing the Survey Results

The reports for schools that participated in the 2016-17 survey administration can be accessed by visiting
https://illinois.5-essentials.org/2017/ and searching by school name, district name, or ZIP code. Please note: Schools are only required to participate in the 5Essentials or an approved alternative every other year. Therefore, some schools may not have reports or data to view.


The 5Essentials Indicators

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey identifies five indicators that lead to improved outcomes for all students, including improved attendance and larger test score gains.

The five indicators that positively affect school success are:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Involved Families
  • Supportive Environments
  • Ambitious Instruction

Research derived from the Five Essentials for School Success has proven that schools strong on at least three of the 5Essentials are 10 times more likely to improve student outcomes.


Looking Forward


 The 2017-18 survey window will go from Nov. 15, 2017, to Jan. 18, 2018. More details about the coming year’s survey administration will be released in the Superintendent’s Weekly Message and to school administrators in August. Also, ISBE staff are collaborating with UChicago Impact to expand the fourth- and fifth-grade student pilot to other districts that are interested. In addition, staff will be working with schools and districts to share local efforts so that survey results can be utilized to create better opportunities and outcomes for all students. Finally, staff from ISBE, the Ounce of Prevention, and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research will be working to determine feasibility regarding scaling up the early childhood survey pilot that was conducted in school year 2016-17. There will be additional information about survey enhancements forthcoming throughout the summer and fall.

If you have any questions, please contact IL-EMPOWER team at (217) 524-4832 or email
5Essentials@isbe.net.


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The Sharing A Vision conference, coordinated by the Illinois Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Human Services, will take place Oct. 25-27 in East Peoria. It is open to both professionals and families and is designed to improve policies and practices for young children. The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites and Conference Center in East Peoria and will host more than 70 sessions in alignment with Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices. To register, please visit www.sharingavision.org.  

Additionally, as we gear up for the school year remember to consider the professional development and technical assistance available from ISBE’s Early Childhood Division projects:

Early Childhood Center of Professional Development has a goal to provide sophisticated tools and up-to-date resources on which to build - while enhancing - the skills of Illinois early educators through workshops and webinars.

Early CHOICES has a specific focus on preschool least restrictive environments and promotes increasing high quality inclusive education for each and every preschool aged child. This includes working with districts to create systems change so they can generate more inclusive opportunities for all young children.

Illinois STARNET services include a broad range of resources and information for parents and professionals, including workshops, on-site presentations, technical assistance and funding for training. STARNET programs address children from birth to age 8.

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This is a notification that the deadline for SY 2017 employee evaluations has been extended to Friday, Sept. 1, in the Employment Information System (EIS). Evaluations were mandated in the Performance Evaluations Reform Act (PERA) in Senate Bill 315; Public Act 96-0861.

If your district has already submitted SY 2017 evaluations, this notification can be disregarded. Please utilize the Evaluation Reports in the Reports tab to check what information has been submitted.

What's due by Sept. 1?

  • Teacher summative rating
  • Principal and assistant principal summative rating

NOTE: If a teacher was not evaluated in SY 2017, most likely due to tenure, please do not enter an evaluation. Teachers, principals, and assistant principals are the only positions requiring evaluations. No other EIS positions, including school service personnel and district superintendents, require an evaluation.

For step-by-step instructions on how to enter employee evaluations, please refer to "Entering Employee Evaluations: A How-To Guide." Please refer to the Data Elements documentation for further assistance.

For inquiries related to the PERA statute, please call the Licensure Division at (217) 557-6763.

For inquiries related to entering evaluations in EIS, please call the Data Analysis Division at (217) 782-3950 or email datahelp@isbe.net.

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The ACCESS exam used for the purposes of reclassifying English Learners was a new version during the 2016-17 school year. To this end, ISBE has adopted a new cut score for the ACCESS 2.0 retroactive to the 2016-17 school year. Information regarding screening instruments used and cut scores for when a student may require English Learner (EL) services, requirements for part-time Transitional Bilingual Education enrollment, and the ACCESS 2.0 required reclassification score for the 2017-18 school year can be viewed here.

ISBE acknowledges that any change in testing instrument or score may have significant implications for districts to serve ELs successfully.  Thus, ISBE will continue to collaborate with the Illinois Bilingual Advisory Council to ensure that data-informed decisions are in the best interest of ELs. Should you have questions or comments, please contact dell@isbe.net.

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Illinois BicentennialIllinois high school and college students across the state are invited to submit a 45-60 second self-made video highlighting a fact, event, place, person, or something to learn about the incredible history of Illinois.

One hundred winners will have their video aired and posted as part of the 100 Day Bicentennial Countdown. Each winner whose video is selected will receive two tickets to the Dec. 3 Chicago matinee performance of
Hamilton. Deadline for video submissions is Aug. 31. For more details, please visit
http://illinois200.marsdigitalmedia.com/index.htm.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and ISBE are jointly offering training to school nurses and other school health staff regarding school health updates for the upcoming school year on Aug. 23.

All school nurses and others who are responsible for school health compliance and reporting requirements are invited to attend the webinar on Aug. 23. Due to participant feedback from last year's similar update, ISBE and IDPH are splitting the training into two parts for those who cannot attend the entire training in one sitting. IDPH staff will begin the webinar at 1 p.m. and conclude for a break at 2:15 p.m.. ISBE staff will speak from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Participants should plan to register for both and attend the entire time on Aug. 23; however, if time is limited participants may attend one of the live sessions and view the other presentation at a later date. The live presentations will include a Q&A by both IDPH and ISBE staff. The recorded presentations, along with registration links and downloadable slides, will be available Sept. 1. Each session will provide 1.25 Continuing Nurse Education hours for nurses upon verification by the ISBE IT Department and completion of an evaluation. Registration information provided below.

Note: If attending both on Aug. 23, please register for both. If unable to attend both on Aug. 23, please register for the one you expect to attend on Aug. 23.  Do not register for either if you plan to attend at a later time. Registration for attendance other than Aug. 23 will be available Sept. 1.

 IDPH School Health Update https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4280005525762972162

ISBE School Health Update https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4777051851727054082

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A two-day “Workshop for RNs Working in Schools” will be held Sept. 6 and Sept. 20 in Vandalia. “RNs Working in Schools” is a course designed for nurses who do not hold ISBE Professional Educator License endorsed in school nursing.

This workshop provides an overview of all the facets of being a nurse in the school setting since school nursing is a specialization and many nurses entering school nursing from other fields feel overwhelmed when they transition to a position in a school setting. It is a two-day workshop presenting an overview of the legalities of working in schools, nursing responsibilities, overview of special education processes, preparation for emergencies and disaster, application of the nursing process in a school setting, state and national standards of school nursing, and guidelines for running school health offices, and a month-by-month overview of school health services.  

The content is delivered by presentations, Q&A, discussions, and lots of handouts and documents for continued use. Continuing education credit is provided to all participants who attend the entire two days and complete the evaluation. This workshop is an annual one provided to help assure that nurses working with schoolchildren are prepared prior to seeking a Professional Educator License in School Nursing. Register at www.lewisu.edu/rn-working-in-schools-vandalia/.

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ISBE is aware that many schools in the northern part of the state have been experiencing facility problems due to the flooding caused by the recent heavy rains. The agency may be able to provide technical assistance on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Dan Johnson, School Business Services, if your district has experienced such problems. He can be reached at (217) 785-8779 or dajohnso@isbe.net.

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Section 3-8 and Section 8-2 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/3-8 and 105 ILCS 5/8-2) require regional superintendents of schools to file an affidavit with ISBE that shows which school district treasurers in their region are properly bonded. This affidavit must be filed before Sept. 1 of each year. Copies of the actual school treasurer bond should not be filed with ISBE. 

Section 8-2 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/8-2) requires each school district treasurer to be properly bonded. The penalty of the bond shall be 25 percent of the amount of all bonds, notes, mortgages, moneys, and effects of which the treasurer is to have custody at any given time. The bond shall be increased or decreased from time to time, as the increase or decrease of the amount of notes, bonds, mortgages, moneys, and effects may require. The bond shall be payable to the township trustees of schools over the district or payable to the school board of the district, whichever is applicable. The bond shall be filed with the regional superintendent of schools. Again, school districts should not file a copy of their bonds with ISBE. 

For additional information on ISBE’s interpretation of this section, please refer to the State Superintendent’s Weekly Message for May 3, 2010, and May 11, 2010, which can be accessed at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Illinois-State-Board-of-Education-Superintendents-Weekly-Message.aspx?Year=2017.

Section 3-8 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/3-8) describes the duties of the regional superintendent of schools upon receipt of the treasurer bonds. When the bond of any school treasurer is filed with the regional superintendent of schools, the regional superintendent shall carefully examine it. If the bond is found to be in all respects according to law and the sureties sufficient, the regional superintendent shall endorse it and file it with the papers of his/her office. If the bond is in any respect defective or if the sureties are insufficient, the bond shall be returned for correction. 

In Cook County, the responsibilities and duties of the  regional superintendent of schools detailed in Section 3-8 and Section 8-2 of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/3-8 and 105 ILCS 5/8-2) will be assumed by the respective Intermediate Service Center.

An electronic version of the affidavit and other information can be found at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/School-Treasurer-Bonds.aspx.

Please contact Michelle Heninger, School Business Services Division, at (217) 785-8779 or mheninge@isbe.net with any follow-up questions.

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ISBE is seeking interested applicants to serve in the contractor position of ombudsman. In general, the ombudsman acts on behalf of nonpublic schools to help ensure that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) compliance with consultation and implementation requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The ombudsman fulfills this charge by:

  • Providing technical assistance to both LEAs and nonpublic schools regarding
    • The consultation process;
    • Allowable uses of funds by nonpublic schools under ESSA;
    • Implementation of planned services;
  • Assisting with resolution of conflicts and complaints that arise between LEAs and nonpublic schools;
  • Enforcing ESSA requirements as needed;
  • Reporting to ISBE staff and/or the Nonpublic School Advisory Council as requested and as appropriate on work done and on recommendations to improve LEA/nonpublic school relations;
  • Performing other duties as appropriate in relation to LEA/nonpublic school grant program consultation and implementation.

Additional information on nonpublic schools can be found at ISBE’s Nonpublic Website. Additional information on the role of the ombudsman can be found within the Non-Regulatory Guidance: Fiscal Changes and Equitable Services Requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by ESSA. (See sections 1117 and 8501.) 

West 40 will be the business agent for the contractor assigned to serve as the ombudsman required under ESSA (Sec. 1117) to "help ensure equitable services are provided to private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel." All work shall be assigned and managed by ISBE while having the ombudsman work through West 40. This allows the roles to maintain some objective distance from ISBE. 

Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume to Dr. Gary Greene via email at ggreene@isbe.net. The extended deadline to respond is Aug. 8.

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All grantees must complete the registration process and be qualified to do business with the State of Illinois.

The grantee pre-qualification registration portal​ may be accessed directly on the GATA website.

To be qualified to apply for an FY 2018 grant award, an entity must complete the following four steps:

  1. Authentication (New for FY 2018)

    The Grantee Portal can be accessed through the Grantee Links heading on the GATA website. A personal or business email address is required to establish an account. Authentication is required through the Illinois.gov authentication portal.  It establishes or verifies the relationship between an individual and the organization they represent.  Authentication is performed once for each individual associated with a registration. If your email was not previously associated with the organization that you represent, click the “Create a new account” link below the “Sign in” button.  After you have entered the required information, you will receive a confirmation email that will instruct you to click a link to complete the account creation process.  For help with the Illinois.gov Authentication Portal, please browse the Accounts page. Additional instructions may also be found on the Grantee Portal FAQ page.

  2. Registration

    Once your Illinois.gov account is created, you must return to the Grantee Portal log-in screen and enter your user name and password to continue. The system will then ask for your organization’s DUNS number. If the DUNS number for your organization is on record with GATA from the previous year, the system will associate you with your organization. The process may require the approval of the primary GATA system registrant for your organization. After accessing your entity’s registration information, you must click the “Edit” button found near the top of the screen.  This will allow you to correct/confirm the listed information and select the appropriate organization type for your entity.

    If the DUNS number that you enter is not found in the GATA system, the system will invite you to create a new grantee account for the entity related to that DUNS number. Please confirm that you entered the correct DUNS number before creating a new account.  Creation of a new grantee account is accomplished by providing your organization’s:

    • DUNS number (View instructions on obtaining a DUNS number);
    • FEIN;
    • Organization type  (NOTE: school districts, special education joint agreements, and education for employment consortiums should select “School District”);
    • Secretary of State ID (NOTE: the following types of organizations have been deemed EXEMPT from this requirement: school districts, colleges, universities, Regional Offices of Education, special education joint agreements, and education for employment consortiums);
    • Organization name; and
    • Address.
  3. Grantee Pre-qualification

    All entities must be qualified to do business with the State of Illinois.  To be qualified for a grant award, an entity must:

    • Be registered in the GATA Grantee Portal system as described above;
    • Have a valid DUNS number (View instructions on obtaining a DUNS number);
    • Have a current SAM.gov account (View instructions on obtaining a SAM Cage Code);
    • Not be on the Federal Excluded Parties List ( Verify utilizing the Quick Search)
    • Be in Good Standing with the Illinois Secretary of State, as applicable ( Verify Good Standing). (NOTE: The following types of organizations have been deemed EXEMPT from this requirement: school districts, colleges, universities, Regional Offices of Education, special education joint agreements, and education for employment consortiums.);
    • Not be on the Illinois Stop Payment list; and
    • Not be on the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Provider Sanctions list. 

    Pre-qualification status will be verified after Grantee Registration is submitted and nightly thereafter. If an entity has a pre-qualification issue, the specific issue and remediation support is provided through the Grantee Portal.  Entities on the Federal Excluded Parties List are not eligible to do business with the State of Illinois.

  4. Fiscal and Administrative Risk Assessment (ICQ)

    Entities must complete an FY 2018 Internal Controls Questionnaire (ICQ) as the Fiscal and Administrative Risk Assessment.  The ICQ is completed annually for each fiscal year. All state agencies will utilize the results of the ICQ. The entity can access the ICQ from the Grantee Portal. The portal provides access to prior year ICQ responses for those entities that received grants in FY 2017. The FY 2018 ICQ template must be completed prior to making application for an FY 2018 grant. The ICQ should be completed by someone with financial or accounting experience.

The status of compliance with each of the requirements described above is displayed in the Grantee Portal for each registered entity. Again, completion of these four steps is required prior to making application for funding for FY 2018.

Entities must also complete a programmatic risk assessment for each grant award in FY 2018. The programmatic risk assessment will be included in each electronic grant application through ISBE. Paper grant applicants will be directed to the IWAS system once applications have been received.

The SAM.gov registration expires annually and must be renewed to maintain your eligibility for funding.  Renewal of your cage code at the SAM.gov web site does not require a fee.

The ISBE “GATA Grantee Status Report” provides updated status information for all ISBE grantees and can be found under “Resources” on the left side of the ISBE GATA website. Please direct any questions you might have related to the GATA registration and pre-qualification process to GATA@isbe.net or (217) 782-5630.

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  • Congrats to Dr. Brian Waterman, principal at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, and Nicholas Cozzi, owner of Tropical Sno of Western Springs, who have received the 2017 Reaching Out & Building Bridges Award from the Illinois Principals Association. The award is sponsored by Horace Mann Companies. Great work!
  • Congrats to Brandi Bruley, principal at North Elementary School in Taylorville, and Dr. Femi Skanes, principal at the Al Raby School for Community and Environment in Chicago, for receiving 2017 John Ourth and Dr. Fred Singleton Professional Development Scholarships, which are sponsored by the Illinois Principals Association. Awesome job!
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  • Computer Banc has teamed up with Illinois lawmakers and state officials and agencies to help improve children’s access to digital literacy. The program repurposes surplus government computers to provide children access to low-cost learning tools at school and at home. The $85 computers are available for the 2017-18 school year for Illinois. All computers are Grade A condition and warrantied for one full year. For more information, visit www.ComputerBanc.org  or contact David Fowler, executive director, via email at director@computerbanc.org or by phone at (217) 528-9506.
  • The Illinois Farm to School Network has opened registration for the Illinois Harvest of the Month program for schools and early childhood education sites. For more information, visit http://harvestillinois.org/.
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  • The Illinois-Iowa 2017 School Wellness Conference is being held in Rock Island on Nov. 2. The conference is hosted by Illinois/Iowa Action for Healthy Kids. For more information, visit www.actionforhealthykids.org/component/events/event/515.
  • The second annual Leap InnovatED Summit is taking place Aug. 28 at Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago. The summit will offer sessions featuring experts in education innovation and widespread networking opportunities. For more information and to register, visit www.leapinnovatedsummit.org/
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  • The Chicago Botanic Garden is offering professional development opportunities to educators with a limited number of scholarships available for 50 percent off the cost of select workshops for educators working at schools with at least 50 percent of the students receiving free or reduced lunch. For more information, visit www.chicagobotanic.org/education/teacher_programs. To be considered for a scholarship, contact Rebecca Ammann at rammann@chicagobotanic.org
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Staff with ISBE’s Nutrition and Wellness Programs Division will present “Direct Certification” and “Certification of Household Eligibility Applications” webinars this month for School Nutrition Program sponsors. 

Please use the links below to register for the sessions that you wish to attend.

Both webinars will be recorded and available as archived webinars if you are unable to attend at that date and time. Complete information on these regulatory topic can be found in the School Nutrition Programs Administrative Handbook.

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Back to SchoolState Superintendent Tony Smith will lead a webinar for district administrators at 1 p.m. on Aug. 9 in preparation for the 2017-18 school year. He will speak about funding for schools, address new developments in state implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and update district administrators on state assessments and other key ongoing education initiatives. He will also discuss the resources that will be provided to administrators as they launch into the new school year.

A portion of the webinar will be devoted to answering questions. A list of the most frequently asked questions previously sent in by administrators will be addressed during the webinar; an FAQ will be compiled and posted after the webinar as well. Please email any questions or comments regarding the webinar to backtoschool@isbe.net.

Register for the Back to School webinar.

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ISBE is facilitating webinars on Aug. 14 and Aug. 30 to provide Illinois school, district, and technology leaders an opportunity to share ideas on advancing digital learning, equitable access, and networking and technology services that address state, regional, and district needs. The webinars are devoted to receiving feedback from participants, which will then be used to help inform the development of state and regional educational technology support systems that enhance teaching and learning. All interested stakeholders are encouraged to join.

Register for the webinar at 10 a.m. Aug. 14.

Register for the webinar at 1 p.m. on Aug. 30.

If you are unable to attend either webinar, but would like to share ideas or suggestions, please send them to edtech@isbe.net.

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As you may be aware, there will be a complete solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, starting shortly before noon and lasting until 2:45 p.m.  Eclipses, which are a rare phenomenon, are very dangerous to view without appropriate eyewear and precautions. To help keep your students safe, the Illinois Department of Public Health has issued some tips for safely viewing the solar eclipse.

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The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and ISBE are jointly offering training to school nurses and other school health staff regarding school health updates for the upcoming school year on Aug. 23.

All school nurses and others who are responsible for school health compliance and reporting requirements are invited to attend the webinar on Aug. 23. Due to participant feedback from last year's similar update, ISBE and IDPH are splitting the training into two parts for those who cannot attend the entire training in one sitting. IDPH staff will begin the webinar at 1 p.m. and conclude for a break at 2:15 p.m. ISBE staff will speak from 2:30 - 3:45 p.m. Participants should plan to register for both and attend the entire time on Aug. 23; however, if time is limited participants may attend one of the live sessions and view the other presentation at a later date. The live presentations will include a Q&A by both IDPH and ISBE staff. The recorded presentations, along with registration links and downloadable slides, will be available Sept. 1. Each session will provide 1.25 Continuing Nurse Education hours for nurses upon verification by the ISBE IT Department and completion of an evaluation. Registration information provided below.

Note: If attending both on Aug. 23, please register for both. If unable to attend both on Aug. 23, please register for the one you expect to attend on Aug. 23.  Do not register for either if you plan to attend at a later time. Registration for attendance other than Aug. 23 will be available Sept. 1.

IDPH School Health Update

ISBE School Health Update

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The FY 2018 Preschool for All Expansion State Request for Proposals (RFP) has been released. The due date for submittal is 4 p.m. on Sept. 18. The application must be completed in eGMS. Eligible applicants must submit the FY 2018 Notice of Intent to Submit Proposal – Preschool for All Expansion 3 to 5 Years to access the RFP system in IWAS in order to apply. The intent to apply deadline is Sept. 8. The following entities outside the City of Chicago may apply: Regional Offices of Education, public school districts, university laboratory schools approved by the Illinois State Board of Education, charter schools, area vocational centers, and public or private not-for-profit or for-profit entities with experience in providing education, health, social, and/or child development services to young children and their families. A separate appropriation has been awarded to City of Chicago District #299. Questions may be directed to the Early Childhood Division at (217) 524-4835 or earlychi@isbe.net.

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The Sharing A Vision conference, coordinated by the Illinois Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Human Services, will take place Oct. 25-27 in East Peoria. It is open to both professionals and families and is designed to improve policies and practices for young children. The conference will be held at the Embassy Suites and Conference Center in East Peoria and will host more than 70 sessions in alignment with Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices. To register, please visit www.sharingavision.org.    

Additionally, as we gear up for the school year, remember to consider the professional development and technical assistance available from ISBE’s Early Childhood Division projects:

Early Childhood Center of Professional Development has a goal to provide sophisticated tools and up-to-date resources on which to build - while enhancing - the skills of Illinois early educators through workshops and webinars.

Early CHOICES has a specific focus on preschool least restrictive environments and promotes increasing high-quality inclusive education for each and every preschool-aged child. This includes working with districts to create systems change so they can generate more inclusive opportunities for all young children.

Illinois STARNET services include a broad range of resources and information for parents and professionals, including workshops, on-site presentations, technical assistance and funding for training. STARNET programs address children from birth to age 8.

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The grace period for renewing professional educator licenses and educator licenses with stipulations endorsed for career and technical educator ends Aug. 31. All licenses with a July 1, 2017, renewal date must be renewed and registered by Aug. 31 or they will lapse and be invalid for employment. Educators who wish to reinstate a lapsed license must either pay a $500 penalty fee or complete nine semester hours of endorsement-related coursework.

Administrators, please remind your staff to renew before the deadline and ensure all of your teachers are renewed and registered. To check, log in to ELIS and ensure your educators’ “Registered Thru” column shows a date of 6/30/18 or later.

Educators, don’t let your license lapse! Log in to your ELIS account today to record your professional development, renew, and register your license for the upcoming five-year cycle.

For questions, please contact ISBE’s Educator Effectiveness Division at (217) 557-6763 or licensure@isbe.net.

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Schools across Illinois participated in the fifth annual Illinois 5Essentials Survey of Learning Conditions: Organizing Schools for Improvement from Nov. 15, 2016, to Jan. 30, 2017. This survey generates data that districts can use to guide their ongoing efforts to improve schools and to offer students a world-class education. The survey is another improvement tool that allows districts and the state to share data as a means to inform parents and community members.

The administration window for the survey ran from January to March during the first four years it was taken. It was decided to administer the survey from late fall to early winter for school year 2016-17 after feedback was received from schools and districts. The shift in timeline, which will be maintained moving forward, gives students, parents, and school staff a better opportunity to provide feedback on the critical elements of school culture and climate. The Illinois 5Essentials Survey is administered online by UChicago Impact at the University of Chicago on behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education.

Accessing the Survey Results

The reports for schools that participated in the 2016-17 survey administration can be accessed by visiting https://illinois.5-essentials.org/2017/ and searching by school name, district name, or ZIP code. Please note: Schools are only required to participate in the 5Essentials or an approved alternative every other year. Therefore, some schools may not have reports or data to view.

The 5Essentials Indicators

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey identifies five indicators that lead to improved outcomes for all students, including improved attendance and larger test score gains.

The five indicators that positively affect school success are:

  • Effective Leaders
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Involved Families
  • Supportive Environments
  • Ambitious Instruction

Research derived from the Five Essentials for School Success has proven that schools strong on at least three of the 5Essentials are 10 times more likely to improve student outcomes.

Looking Forward

The 2017-18 survey window will go from Nov. 15, 2017, to Jan. 18, 2018. More details about the coming year’s survey administration will be released in the Superintendent’s Weekly Message and to school administrators in August. Also, ISBE staff are collaborating with UChicago Impact to expand the fourth- and fifth-grade student pilot to other districts that are interested. In addition, staff will be working with schools and districts to share local efforts so that survey results can be utilized to create better opportunities and outcomes for all students. Finally, staff from ISBE, the Ounce of Prevention, and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research will be working to determine feasibility regarding scaling up the early childhood survey pilot that was conducted in school year 2016-17. There will be additional information about survey enhancements forthcoming throughout the summer and fall.

If you have any questions, please contact IL-EMPOWER team at (217) 524-4832 or email 5Essentials@isbe.net.

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This is a notification that the deadline for SY 2017 employee evaluations has been extended to Friday, Sept. 1, in the Employment Information System (EIS). Evaluations were mandated in the Performance Evaluations Reform Act (PERA) in Senate Bill 315; Public Act 96-0861.

If your district has already submitted SY 2017 evaluations, this notification can be disregarded. Please utilize the Evaluation Reports in the Reports tab to check what information has been submitted.

What's due by Sept. 1?

  • Teacher summative rating
  • Principal and assistant principal summative rating

NOTE: If a teacher was not evaluated in SY 2017, most likely due to tenure, please do not enter an evaluation. Teachers, principals, and assistant principals are the only positions requiring evaluations. No other EIS positions, including school service personnel and district superintendents, require an evaluation.

For step-by-step instructions on how to enter employee evaluations, please refer to "Entering Employee Evaluations: A How-To Guide." Please refer to the Data Elements documentation for further assistance.

For inquiries related to the PERA statute, please call the Licensure Division at (217) 557-6763.

For inquiries related to entering evaluations in EIS, please call the Data Analysis Division at (217) 782-3950 or email datahelp@isbe.net.

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The ACCESS exam used for the purposes of reclassifying English Learners (ELs) was a new version during the 2016-17 school year. To this end, ISBE has adopted a new cut score for the ACCESS 2.0 retroactive to the 2016-17 school year. View information regarding screening instruments used and cut scores for when a student may require EL services, requirements for part-time Transitional Bilingual Education enrollment, and the ACCESS 2.0 required reclassification score for the 2017-18 school year.

ISBE acknowledges that any change in testing instrument or score may have significant implications for districts to serve ELs successfully.  Thus, ISBE will continue to collaborate with the Illinois Bilingual Advisory Council to ensure that data-informed decisions are in the best interest of ELs. Should you have questions or comments, please contact dell@isbe.net.

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