From:                     STATE SUPERINTENDENT

Sent:                      Friday, October 04, 2002 4:41 PM

To:                         'District Superintendents, ROEs, Directors of Special Education'

Subject:                 Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller   10/4/02

Good afternoon.  My message this week contains a wide variety of topics.  I especially want to call your attention to three items.


First, we are now officially accepting applications for the management positions I mentioned to you in the last few weeks.  To view the formal vacancy list and download an application to complete and mail or fax it to us, click on ISBE Vacancy List or go to


Second, I wanted to reiterate the state’s definition of “highly qualified” teacher under No Child Left Behind.  So much is being thrown at districts so quickly that I want to be sure you thoroughly review the language and assess its impact on your schools.  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Pat Ryan in Professional Preparation and Certification at or 217/782-4123.


The definition of highly qualified is located at on ISBE’s NCLB page ( or can be reached directly by clicking on


Third, as you know, we are collecting specific information from each of your 2002-03 budgets in order to help build our case in the struggle for school funding reform.  We appreciate your help in pulling those data together.  It would also be helpful to get some anecdotal information from you about the impact of the budget crisis on your students and communities.  For example, Springfield School District 186 has had to lay off librarians in its elementary schools, effectively putting that service out of business.


I know that each of you have similar stories and I would like to collect some of them to also help “build our case.”  If you have such anecdotes (with specific numbers and/or details as possible) that you would allow us to use in articles, speeches, testimony and other public documents, please email them to me at  You can contact Public Service and Communication at 217/782-4648 if you have questions. 


In today’s message:


Ÿ Illinois Certification System goes on line

Ÿ State Board September meeting summary

Ÿ NAEP selects 350 Illinois schools

Ÿ New program will assist students with disabilities

Ÿ Administrative update:     electronic filing for special education claims

Orphanage Act reimbursement changes



Illinois Certification Testing System goes on line

We are pleased to announce the opening of the Illinois Certification Testing System (ICTS) Web site.  Examinees may now register online for teacher, school service personnel and administrative certification tests; view and download study guides; and, beginning with the December 7, 2002 test administration, access their test results. 


The site address is:  This site may also be accessed via the Illinois State Board of Education Professional Certification and Testing Division's web page at


This new service will provide certification candidates with easy access to teacher certification testing materials and registration activities.  Please share this information with your faculty, students, and certification candidates. 

Any comments regarding the website may be sent to: Pat Glenn, Professional Certification and Testing Division, Illinois State Board of Education, 100 North First Street, S306, Springfield IL 62777; 217/782-3774 (phone),  217/524-1289 (fax),




State Board September meeting summary

Please see September Board agenda/packet materials and/or the “Twenty Minute Packet” for information about issues on the September agenda.


Quick Takes


The State Board:

·    Approved the “Highly Qualified Teacher Guidance Document” and authorized its distribution, along with sample notice forms (see press release for details - insert link).

·    Approved the “Criteria for Selecting Supplemental Education Service Providers” and requested that staff take action, to the extent possible within the law, to encourage the use of qualified teachers and control costs for Supplemental Educational Services (see press release for additional information – link)

·    Authorized transmission of the Fall 2002 Waiver Report to the General Assembly with recommendations for legislative denial of the waiver requests by Sauk Village School District #168 and Boone/Winnebago Regional Learning Center and a recommendation that the Fisher School District waiver be approved for two years instead of the requested five years.

·    Approved recommendations related to the fourth annual report on the implementation of Learning Standards in Illinois schools; these will result in a gap analysis/plan for taking the next steps in standards implementation and a project to develop high school coursework “frameworks.”  (See press release {link} and the full evaluation report {link} for additional information.)

·    Endorsed the preliminary “2002 Title II State Report Card” and authorized completion and submission of that report in compliance with federal requirements.

·    As a result of discussions about the Title II State Report Card, directed the State Superintendent to develop strategic plans to study the impact of teacher education reforms and the success of teacher preparation programs. 

·    Authorized dissemination of proposed rule amendments to Part 29 and Part 226 for public comment; both deal with requirements for the position of “special education director.”

·    Adopted proposed rule amendments to Part 1 and Part 25 as previously published.

·    Approved a resolution of appreciation for the Chairman and members of the Financial Oversight Panel for Round Lake Area School District 116: Marc Spivak, William “Bill” Thompson, and Jess Porres.

·    Accepted the finance, audit and agency operations reports.

·    Formally acknowledged receipt of the “notice of objection” from the Illinois Institute of Technology regarding the State Teacher Certification Board recommendation concerning provisional unit accreditation and program approval and scheduled further discussion for October.

·    Deferred action on the preliminary recommendations of the After-School Initiative Task Force pending additional data and further clarification of next steps.

·    Consistent with the Open Meetings Act, approved the minutes of closed meetings of the State Board of Education between August 2001 and July 2002 and authorized the Board secretary to make them available to the public.

·    Deferred action on the FY03 Internal Audit Plan.

·    Discussed state and federal legislative issues.

·    Heard from the Superintendent that the proposed “Tomorrow’s Builders Charter School” has met all of the criteria and been certified.  This charter school was proposed by East St. Louis District 189 proposal and developed by the Emerson Park Development Corporation.



Assessment and Accountability Task Force


     The State Board:

·    Heard the formal announcement of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force, which will begin its work on September 23.  More information is available at

·    Learned that Task Force hearings are scheduled for


                        Monday, September 23 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. – Springfield

                        Tuesday, September 24 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. – Wheaton

                        Tuesday, October 1 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.  – Mt. Vernon


                 Additional hearings may be scheduled at a later time.


·    Authorized the Superintendent to refer to the Task Force the issue of cut score setting for ISAT and PSAE.

·    Agreed with the Superintendent’s recommendation to refer to the Task Force a recommendation from the Standards Implementation Evaluation Report calling for clarification of the alignment between state assessments and the Illinois Learning Standards.   The report specifically recommended that the state should:


                              1.  Publish the results of content validity studies that

                              demonstrate alignment between ISAT/PSAE and ILS.

                              2.  Make clear to LEAs the areas in which local assessments

                              must address ILS not covered by the state assessments.

                              3.  Revise the ISAT/PSAE reporting strategies to align more

                              closely with ILS.



 Budget Hearings


The State Board

·    Adopted the following schedule for hearings related to development of the FY 04 budget for elementary and secondary education.


                        September 19, 2002                 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.   Springfield

                        September 24, 2002                 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.   Wheaton

                        October 17, 2002                    1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.   Collinsville

                        October 25, 2002                    9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Chicago



Special Guests:  School/District Showcase


The State Board:


·    Met with representatives of Irving Elementary School and the Quincy School District # 172 regarding their success in raising student achievement and earning removal from the Academic Early Warning List.

·    Heard that the special funds received by the district, some of which were directly related to being on the Academic Early Warning List, were an important factor in raising the achievement of Irving School students. 

·    Focused on the challenge of sustaining academic growth if and when the success of a failing school makes it ineligible for special funding and it again faces limited resources and the possibility of declining achievement. 

·    Asked the Superintendent to review strategies to highlight the factors that have been important in raising achievement in Irving School.


Education Funding Advisory Board


The State Board

Ÿ also heard from Bob Leininger, Chairman of the Education Funding Advisory Board, about the EFAB preliminary recommendations.


Board Staff Changes


The State Board:

·    Announced the appointment of Patrick Mogge as the new Executive Director for Board Services to the State Board of Education.  Patrick has worked in state government as a Dunn fellow in the Governor’s Office, as an employee of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and most recently, as Northern Regional Coordinator for the Illinois Learning Partnership.  Patrick is a graduate of Illinois State University and a certified teacher.


·    Thanked Lynne Haeffele-Curry for assuming the extra responsibility of managing the Board Services unit during the past several months, as well as Alison Harbour and Kay Evans, Board Services staff, for their special efforts during the transition period.





NAEP selects 350 Illinois schools

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has selected 150 schools in Chicago and 200 Illinois schools outside of District 299 to participate in the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in reading and mathematics at grades four and eight.  NAEP assessments are administered by trained federal contractors and will take a maximum of 90 minutes of each student’s time.


Within the next few weeks, Illinois State Board of Education staff will contact district superintendents and principals of schools that have been selected to participate in the assessment.


In 2003, NAEP assessments will be administered from January 27, 2003 through March 7, 2003.  The results from the reading and mathematics assessments are scheduled for release in September 2003. The NCES web site,, contains additional information about NAEP. Direct questions about NAEP to Veronica Haller, the NAEP State Coordinator, or 217/782-4823.


From 1990 through 2002, school participation in State NAEP was voluntary.  However, beginning with the 2003 assessment, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires states and local education agencies to participate in NAEP every other year in reading and mathematics at grades 4 and 8. 


In order to meet federal requirements, the General Assembly approved legislation last spring that requires all schools in Illinois that are part of the sample drawn by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to administer the biennial NAEP reading and mathematics assessments of grades 4 and 8.


Often called the "Nation’s Report Card," the National Assessment of Educational Progress is the only nationally representative, continuing assessment of what America’s students know and can do in various subject areas.  NAEP provides a comprehensive measure of students’ learning at critical junctures in their school experience.  States that meet NAEP reporting criteria are able to compare their results with both national results and the results of other states.


NCES will select a representative sample of students in grades 4 and 8 in selected schools.  NAEP does not provide scores for individual students or schools.  Under this program, only information related to academic achievement is collected, and NAEP guarantees that all data related to individual students and their families remain confidential.


A second NAEP urban district assessment will include ten large urban school districts.  Chicago School District 299 and nine other districts in the nation will participate in the 2003 Trial Urban Assessment and will receive a district-level report as well as comparative district data. 




New Program will assist students with disabilities


Thanks to a grant awarded by the U.S. department of Education, a new state-wide program will soon be implemented by the Illinois State Board of Education to provide training and technical assistance in the area of secondary transition.  This three-year project, Transition Outreach Training for Adult Living (TOTAL), will begin October 1, 2002.


The project will incorporate a variety of training, technical assistance and implementation tools and techniques to assist transition teams—made up of educators, service providers, parents and young adults with disabilities—in the provision of research-based  transition practices.  The four core best practices emphasized by TOTAL include Understanding and Meeting State and Federal Transition Mandates, Person-Centered Transition Planning, Promoting Student Self-Determination and Transition as the Centerpiece of the Individualized Education Plan.  These practices are said to have been linked to improved post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities.


Participants for TOTAL will be chosen by an application process on both the local and regional levels.  During years one and two, 10 local sites and 50 regional representatives will participate in the program, and in year three, 50 regional representatives will participate.  All applicants, whether chosen for participation or not, will receive a TOTAL multimedia self-training package. 


Additional information about the Transitional Outreach Training for Adult Living Project is available by contacting project coordinator Debra Heckenkamp at or 217/782-5589. 




Administrative Update:


2002-03 Special Education Claims Required to be Submitted Electronically


With so many districts taking advantage of the opportunity to submit their special education claim forms electronically, ISBE is switching to a paperless, all electronic system for filing the special education pupil (Form 50-52) and personnel reimbursement (Form 50-49) claims beginning with 2002-03.


For the 2001-02 school year, 70% of the claims for the two programs were submitted electronically.  The move to an all-electronic system is another step toward our commitment to serve you in the most accurate, efficient and effect ways possible, plus help eliminate the possibility of keypunch errors. There will be no paper option for data submission.


Be sure you have activated your IWAS account, then take advantage of free software for electronically submitting claim data from the Harrisburg Project, a federally funded initiative established to assist in the timely and accurate submission of data.  It can be reached at 800/635-5274 or by email:  Any questions regarding this information may be directed to the Division of Funding and Disbursement Services at 217/782-5256.  Questions about activating IWAS can be directed to 217/782-4313, ext. 1182.


Legislative Changes to Orphanage Reimbursement Programs


Legislative changes enacted last spring and approved by the Governor now prevent ISBE from using subsequent year's appropriations to pay for prior-year’s claims.  At this time, we believe that there will be sufficient funding for the 2002-03 school year claims under Sections 14-7.03 (Special Education) and 18-3 (Regular Education).  However, we can no longer guarantee that the claims will be paid at 100%.  As The payment level depends on the claims, which are due in this office on July 15, that are submitted for this current year funding.  Questions regarding this change may be directed to the Division of Funding and Disbursement Services at 217/782-5256.


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

 of Education