From:                     STATE SUPERINTENDENT

Sent:                      Friday, November 15, 2002 4:35 PM

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

Subject:                 Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller   11-15-02

Good afternoon.  My Weekly Message this week is fairly brief.  With the election now behind us, we have reached out to the new administration to provide briefings on the state of education in Illinois and to offer whatever assistance we can to Governor Blagojevich’s Transition Team.


At the same time, we have some responsibilities to the current Governor and staff to help tie up “loose ends” as that era comes to a close.  Most immediate, of course, is the General Assembly’s veto session November 19-21 and December 3-5.  Although ISBE has no vetoed legislation on the agenda, we will be closely monitoring the deliberations for issues affecting public education.  We will keep you posted if anything shows up on our radar screen.


In the meantime, the Board is developing legislative proposals and strategies for the Spring session.  State Board member and former local superintendent Bev Turkal has been an active, key leader in this process, as chair of the Board’s Legislative Committee.  You will get more information from us as the budget and legislative proposals are refined.


In this week’s message:


Ÿ New date for releasing superintendent salaries

Ÿ Your feedback is essential to developing new assessment framework

Ÿ Hope to see you at the Triple I Conference

Ÿ 20-Minute State Board Packet

Ÿ Free Online resources available to all Public Schools



New date for releasing superintendent salaries

By now you should all have reviewed the superintendent salary data we sent you in our Mid-week update on Wednesday.  We have decided however, to postpone releasing the list to reporters who have requested it until Friday, November 29.  That means the earliest stories would be published is the following week, although some industrious reporter could have a story ready for Saturday or Sunday’s papers, the 23rd or 24th.


Consequently, we will not be giving this information to anyone except you, and we appreciate your confidentiality until at least the 29th.


Your feedback essential to developing new assessment framework

I first want to thank those of you who have already responded to our request for input on the draft proposal from the Assessment and Accountability Task Force.  A quick overview of your comments has already identified additional issues I know Task Force members will want to discuss.


I encourage the rest of you to take advantage to of the chance for your voice to be heard on this extremely important issue.  Simply go to or click on State Assessment Proposal in my message on the ISBE home page ( to review the brief document and email or fax us your response by December 6 .  The next Task Force meeting is Monday, November 18 in Springfield, but the analysis and report on your feedback will not be made until the December 10 meeting in Naperville. If you have any questions, contact Gail Lieberman at or 217/782-5053.




Hope to see you at the Triple I Conference

ISBE will once again be hosting an Information and Hospitality Room at the Joint Conference of IASB, IASA and IASBO on November 22 and 23.  We will be in our usual spot in the Comiskey Room in the West Tower as you come out of the lower-level tunnel from the East Tower. 


A variety of agency staff will be on hand to answer questions and highlight agency programs and services.  In addition, we will have a schedule of topics and times for some of the more popular issues, so be sure to check the poster outside the room for that list. 


I will be in the Comiskey Room off and on throughout the event, but I will post a specific time on Saturday when I will definitely be there.  I look forward to meeting as many board members and administrators as possible, so check the poster outside Comiskey for the specific time.  It will probably be Saturday afternoon before my 3:30 presentation in Sheraton 5 Ballroom in the fourth level.  I hope you will have the chance to attend as I share my candid views on our schools’ greatest challenges and my vision for our public education system.




20-minute State Board of Education packet for November 21 meeting

(Complete meeting materials, including specific documents mentioned below, are available at



Location:          Museum of Science & Industry - Chicago

12:00 p.m. – Closed Session    1:00 p.m. – Meeting Reconvenes



Educational Showcase:  Museum of Science & Industry Educational Programs


Background and Issues

·    For several years, the Museum of Science & Industry has offered a variety of educational programs and services for students, teachers, and the general public.  

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    Staff from the Museum of Science and Industry will provide an overview of the educational programs offered for teachers and students.

Next Steps

·    A District Showcase with a local school district will continue at the December Board Meeting in Chicago.



Education Policy/Planning Issues


NCATE Protocol and  Partnership Agreement:

 Action Item


Background and Issues

·    Subsequent to the October 16-17, 2002, meeting of the State Board, staff has incorporated the changes to the proposed protocol as detailed by Board members. 

·    The revised version has been shared with the Partnership Committee and the State Teacher Certification Board. 

·    Additional recommendations issued by these groups have been introduced to the agreement and protocol now submitted for consideration by the State Board.

·    Additionally, an expenditure survey was directed to 26 educator training institutions to learn the costs associated with State and NCATE accreditation reviews. 

·    The survey instrument also solicited information on the expenditures attributed to the redesign of educator preparation programs to align them with content standards and knowledge and performance indicators.

·    NCATE is scheduled to review the content of its State Protocol form, and some revisions are anticipated.  Because the ISBE/NCATE Partnership Agreement and Protocol are due on January 1, 2003, NCATE has provided State Board staff with the most recent draft of its documents.  While NCATE anticipates few changes in this version, the final agreement and protocol submitted to the Board in December may differ slightly from the version under consideration in October.

·    Approval of the final Partnership Agreement and Protocol will allow the State to continue its relationship with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education, and Illinois institutions that seek and earn NCATE accreditation will receive national recognition.

·    Failure to approve the final version will mean that Illinois will not retain its affiliation with NCATE.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o present the revised Protocol and Partnership Agreement to the State  Board of Education.

·    The Board will be asked to:

o approve the proposed Partnership Agreement and Protocol and authorize its filing with the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education by January 1, 2003.

Next Steps

o Staff will prepare a final version of the NCATE/State Partnership Agreement and Protocol with accompanying attachments for the State Superintendent’s signature by no later than December 20, 2002. 

o Following the endorsement of the Superintendent, the documents will be sent to NCATE before December 30, 2002.


Alternative Routes to Teacher and Administrator Certification Update

Discussion Item


Background and Issues

·    The first of the Alternative Certification laws was enacted in 1997 (105 ILCS 5/21-5b).  This piece of legislation restricted programming to cities with population in excess of 500,000 people and created a certificate that was valid only in Chicago.  Enrollment in this program was capped at 260 new participants each year.

·    The law was amended in 2000 to allow the application of the certificate statewide and to exempt programs operating under this statute from the five-year experience requirement.

·    The amendment also created the Initial Alternative Teaching Certificate that is valid for four years of teaching and is not renewable, like the Initial Teaching Certificate.

·    A second alternative certificate law, Alternative Route to Teacher Certification, (ILCS 105 5/21-5c), was passed by the General Assembly and enacted in 1998.   Under 5/21-5b, alternative programming was only available in Chicago.  The five-year experience requirement was included in 5/21-5c, but the enrollment cap of 5/21-5b was eliminated.

·    Currently, only Western Illinois University offers and option to prepare superintendents in a non-traditional program.  Since its inception in 1999, 17 candidates have received the endorsement, and eight are currently employed as superintendents.

·    Agency staff suggests that the Board give consideration to a legislative initiative to combine the common features of 5/21-5b and 5/21-5c, to remove the enrollment cap on 5/21-5b, and to establish a single alternative certificate title. 

·    Agency staff also recommends that the Board give consideration to a change in the alternative administrative certificate (5/21-5d) to allow prospective building principals to be trained in non-traditional programs.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o provide the Board with an update on the alternative routes to teacher and administrator certification programs in Illinois.

·    The Board will be requested to:

o review the discussion item as an informational update on alternative certification programs in Illinois.

Next Steps

·    Staff will continue to conduct workshops and to provide technical assistance to colleges and universities interested in developing alternative certification programs for teachers and administrators. 

·    All non-traditional offerings will continue to be examined for compliance against the content and unit standards during the Fifth-Year review process.


State of Illinois Five-Year Technology Plan

Action Item


Background and Issues

·    The 1995 State Technology Plan created a policy and planning infrastructure that included technology standards for students and educators; systematic planning at the local level; two state funding streams; and a statewide backbone for connectivity.

·    The 2002-2007 Plan has been shaped by four key factors: the unfinished agenda from the 1995 Plan; the new federal requirements for technology; the Illinois vision for education in the 21st century; and a set of principles for policy and practice in the future.

·    At the August 2002 Board meeting, the Board authorized the distribution of the state plan for public comment. 

·    Agency staff incorporated several changes in response to suggestions from members of the State Board and public.  Changes were made in the strategies section for goal 5; minor changes were made to clarify the adoption of the ISTE National Education Standards and to standardize terminology; the final version has been formatted to clearly present the plan in three sections that follow a standard sequence of activities including the context for planning, the framework, and the evaluation design; and, the words “stable and reliable” were added to the description of a robust network on page 13.  The complete report is available by visiting the ISBE website.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and staff will:

o explain the changes to the report and recommend the approval of the 2002-2007 State of Illinois Five-Year Technology Plan.

·    The Board:

o will be asked to review and approve the final draft of the state technology plan and the changes that resulted from the public comments received between August 23, 2002 to mid-October, 2002.

Next Steps

·    The 2002-2007 State of Illinois Five-Year Technology Plan will be implemented upon its approval by the Board. 

·    Staff will prepare a business plan for implementation and a budget for each of the five years. 


Rules for Initial Review- Part 25 (Certification)

Action Item


Background and Issues

·    The amendments contained in this set of rules will implement two major aspects of P.A. 92-796 (HB 1436).

·    New requirements for the renewal of administrative certificates are being presented in Section 25.315 as a result of this legislation, to be effective beginning July 1, 2003. 

·    Requirements for the standard certificate are presented in a series of new Sections in Subpart K of the rules.

·    The proposed revisions to Sections 25.720 and 25.725 are technical in nature and are needed for further clarification of the applicability of the testing requirement for certified individuals seeking additional certificates.

·    These rules were reviewed by the State Teacher Certification Board at its November meeting.  The STCB voted to recommend the proposed amendments to the State Board of Education.  Several minor changes were subsequently made in the draft to clarify points raised by members of the Certification Board.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will ask the State Board of Education to:

o authorize solicitation of public comment on the proposed rulemaking for Certification (23 Illinois Administrative Code 25), including publication of the proposed amendments in the Illinois Register.

o investigate the potential for legislative action as discussed above with the Board’s Governmental Affairs Committee.

·    The Board will be requested to:

o authorize solicitation of Public Comment on Rules: Part 25 (Certification).

Next Steps

·    With the Board’s authorization, staff will submit the proposed amendments to the Administrative Code Division for publication in the Illinois Register to elicit public comment.  Additional means such as the Superintendent’s Bulletin and the agency website will also be used to inform interested parties of the opportunity to comment on this rulemaking.



Budget, Finance and Operations Issues


Finance, Audit and Agency Operations

Action Item


Background and Issues

·    In June 2002, the State Board adopted bylaws outlining a new committee structure under which fiscal, audit and operations issues will be handled by the Fiscal and Audit Committee.  Superintendent Schiller requested that the agency organize and standardize the financial and headcount data provided to the Board for their future policy work and decision-making. Currently the following Reports are provided or are being developed:

1.         Budget / Annual Report (Annually in January)

2.         Comptroller SEA Report (Annually in February)

3.         Board Goals (Annually in November)

4.         Appropriation and Expenditure (Monthly)

5.         Financial Status Report - Contract/Grant Detail (Monthly)

6.         Business Plans at the Director Level (Quarterly)

7.         Headcount Reports (Monthly)

                        Personnel Transactions

                        Staff Detail by Division

Monthly Headcount Graph

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will: 

o provide the Board standard reports with key information on fiscal and administrative activities of the state agency.

·    The Board will be asked to:

o accept the Standard Monthly Reports: Finance, Audit, Agency Operations Status Reports

Next Steps

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will continue to provide these reports pursuant to the schedule provided above.  


Fiscal Year 2004 Budget Development

Discussion Item


Background and Issues

·    At the August meeting, the Board reviewed the Budget Calendar and reviewed the financial and economic outlook for the FY04 Budget.

·    At the September meeting, the Board reviewed the Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) recommendations with the EFAB Chairman Bob Leininger.

·    In September and October, the Board held four Budget Hearings and held other discussions of budget and policy issues with various representatives of the education community.

·    Additionally, staff has shared various materials with the Board that outline major budget and policy issues facing the education system.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o provide the Board with an update on the budget situation in Illinois.

·    The Board will be requested to:

o review the report as an informational update on the budget situation in Illinois.

Next Steps

·    At the December meeting, the Superintendent will recommend a “State of Education” document for the Board to approve, which will be distributed prior to consideration and approval of a budget recommendation in January.


School District Financial Profile

Action Item

(Plenary Session Only)


Background and Issues

·    In March, 2002, staff met with the Board to release the final Financial Watch, Financially Certified, and Financial Oversight Panel lists under the FAAS measure and process.  At that time, the Board encouraged staff to finalize a new designation system and report progress by mid-year. 

·    The proposed School District Financial Profile is ready for use as an internal management tool and was demonstrated to the Board at the October meeting.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o recommend that the State Board approve the new School District Profile and Designation System including the ranges and weightings which establish the new School District Financial Designation System.

·    The Board will be asked to :

o approve the new School District Financial Profile for use to present financial information about school districts and to establish a financial designation system.

Next Steps

·    Agency staff will proceed to implement the School District Financial Profile with FY02 AFR data for use in the new designations in the early spring of 2003. 

·    This data will be made available to appropriate school personnel as soon as possible for their use. 

·    Additional work will continue to make the system more compatible for general public use over the internet.



Governmental Affairs Issues


State Legislative Status Reports

Discussion Item


Background and Issues

·    The Board’s Governmental Affairs Committee has met to discuss legislative issues associated with the fall and spring sessions.

·    The Superintendent and members of the Governmental Affairs Committee have been meeting with constituent groups, and several more such meetings are scheduled for the coming month.

·    The schedule for development of the Board’s legislative proposals calls for completion of that process in December.

·    The bulk of activity is geared for the Spring 2003 session; however, there may be a need to take legislative action during the November/December veto session.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will discuss the process in developing legislative priorities and proposals to support the Board’s goals and the needs of school districts in Illinois.

Next Steps

·    The Governmental Affairs Committee, the Superintendent and staff will continue to work with stakeholders toward development of a legislative proposal for FY04. 


Federal Legislative Status Reports

Discussion Item


Background and Issues

·    Governmental Affairs staff continues to monitor activity in Congress regarding the FY2003 Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations bill through almost daily discussions with the BGR firm. 

·    Congress is expected to return on November 12th for session. At this point, it is too soon to tell if they will be able to reach agreement on the FY 03 budget or if another continuing resolution will be passed to take the discussions into the 108th Congress.

·    The Homeland Security bill and the FY 03 budget are expected to take up much of the session.

·    No other major education related issues are expected to occur during that time.

What will happen at the Board meeting

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will:

o provide the Board with an update on Federal legislative activity.

·    The Board will:

o discuss the federal legislative report and its implications for Illinois.

Next Steps

·    The Superintendent and agency staff will take action consistent with the results of this discussion.


Additional Agenda Items and Meeting Activities

·    Reports and announcements by Board members and the State Superintendent

·    Closed sessions

·    The Board, Superintendent, and various constituent groups will be participating in “Education Leadership Forums” with local superintendents and board members on Friday & Saturday, November 22 & 23 during the Triple I Conference



Online Resources Available to All Public Schools At No Cost

ISBE has been able to access two extensive sets of online resources and make them available at no cost to all Illinois public schools during the 2002-2003 school year.  Schools were recently sent instructions for setting up accounts with the two resource providers.


Classroom Connect, a division of Harcourt Education, and Encyclopedia Britannica were selected from a field of 15 proposals to provide online resources to schools this year. 


Classroom Connect is making available the tools and resources in its ConnectedIllinois program, which includes Classroom Today and Connected University.  Connected University is an online professional development community for educators that provides high quality professional development courses to help teachers successfully integrate technology into their instruction.


Connected University models best practices in teaching and learning, and uses ISTE/NCATE (International Society for Technology in Education/National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) Technology Standards as the basis for assessment of teacher technology skills and methodologies. Three courses will be offered through the program, each developed specifically to meet the needs of Illinois teachers.  Connected University also features collaboration tools, message boards, resource collections, Web Drive file/project storage, and project galleries.  In addition, online tutorials, a rich Web-link library and other resources are easily accessible within Connected University.  


Classroom Today, an online curriculum and learning resource for students in grades K-12, combines curriculum topics, standards-aligned resources, and daily news and information in one place, saving teachers a tremendous amount of time researching and organizing classroom activities.  Teachers can select from the more than 800 Classroom Today curriculum topics to meet their class' needs and schedules, and . easily track how their selected curriculum activities match Illinois' standards - all with a click of a mouse.


Encyclopedia Britannica online resources include access to three encyclopedias, Britannica's Internet Guide, videos, magazines and media.  Search avenues include the Britannica Elementary Encyclopedia, created especially for intermediate readers at the elementary and middle school levels, the Britannica Student Encyclopedia, with references from elementary to high school levels, and the Encyclopedia Britannica, which contains the most extensive collection of advanced reference materials. 


The Britannica Internet Guide sorts through thousands of quality web sites that have been reviewed by Britannica editors.  Student researchers can also access an extensive collection of magazine articles related to their topic.  Magazines are divided into K - 5 and 6 - 12 grade levels.  The Video and Media section contains links to hundreds of video clips and media presentations.  Also included in the Britannica online resources for schools is Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and Thesaurus, containing more than 215,000 entries with definitions, pronunciation guides, word histories, synonyms, and antonyms.


To access these online resources, public schools need only contact the appropriate representatives and register.  There is no limit to the number of teachers and students in the schools that may use the resources and no limit on the number of times they may be used. 


Funding for providing access to online resources comes from state funding for Technology for Success, contained in the State Board of Education’s budget. 



Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

 of Education