From: STATE SUPERINTENDENT
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2002 11:41 AM
To: District Superintendents, ROEs, Directors of Special Education
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 12-13-02

Good afternoon.  I’m pleased to be able to report on some very important accomplishments during the past week and to let you know about several upcoming events.  Today’s message will discuss:

 

Assessment and Accountability Task Force

 

The Task Force met in Naperville on Tuesday and approved three sets of recommendations that will be considered by the State Board at next week’s meeting.

 

ISAT and PSAE – The Task Force received more than 332 responses to its draft proposal (see SBE website – insert link), with comments ranging from “Go for it!” to “No assessments are acceptable.”  After reviewing this input, as well as that received during the hearings and earlier meetings of the Task Force, the group affirmed the sense of direction presented in the draft proposal and approved the following recommendations to the State Board. 

 

o       On or about July 2003, a contract will be awarded via RFSP to develop an enhanced ISAT (ISAT 2006) criterion-referenced test for reading, math, science, social science and writing based on the Illinois Learning Standards, and writing at grades 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 (grade 10 on a voluntary  basis) [see chart].

o       This task force recommends to the State Board of Education adoption and implementation of the following chart (including its footnotes) by 2005-06.

 

Chart of Subject Matter and Grade-level Assessment Proposal******

GRADE

2*

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11**

Required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading

x

x

x

X

x

x

X

 

 

x

Mathematics

x

x

x

X

x

x

X

 

 

x

Writing***

 

x

x

 

x

 

X

 

 

x

Science****

 

 

x

 

 

x

 

 

 

x

Social Science****

 

 

 

X

 

 

X

 

 

x

Voluntary/State Paid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLORE*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

x

 

 

PLAN*****

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

Writing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

 

 


* In order to hold all schools accountable, school buildings which have second grade as their highest grade and are Title I funded must offer a standard assessment as required by ISBE.

** The Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) is given at grades 11 in the noted subject areas.  One component of the PSAE is the ACT; another is the Work Keys.  12th graders may voluntarily retake the PSAE.

*** The writing assessment shall be sequenced at grades 3, 4, 6, 8, 10 (voluntary), and 11.  Grade 3 students will write one expository essay; grade 4 students will write one essay in either the expository or persuasive mode; grades 6 and 8 students will write two essays in the expository, persuasive or narrative mode.  Tenth grade students on a voluntary basis will write two essays in the expository, persuasive or narrative mode.  Grade 11 students will write as part of the PSAE.  The writing assessment in grades 3, 4, 6 and 8 will include selected response language items assessing such areas as spelling, capitalization, mechanics/usage, and editing, as may be appropriate.

****ISAT Science tests include sampling items for Physical Development and Health, and ISAT Social Science tests include sampling items for Fine Arts.  The Fine Arts will continue to be included within the social science assessments, and Physical Development and Health will continue to be included within the science assessment, both as is done presently at grades 4 and 7.  A grade 9/10 physical development and health and fine arts assessment will continue on a voluntary basis.

***** The EXPLORE and PLAN tests are preparatory tests for the ACT.  Both are broad tests of student learning, and assess students in reading, English, mathematics and science.  The EXPLORE Test is shown on the chart as voluntary at both grades 8 and 9.  The intent is to allow school districts to decide which grade level would best fit the needs of their students.  Some may choose to give the test at grade 8 for diagnostic purposes.  Some may choose to give the test at grade 9 to fit into their high school program.  The student should not take the same test in both grades 8 and 9.  The PLAN would be given voluntarily at Grade 10 to prepare for the ACT.  These tests would be offered for local choice, to be used on a voluntary basis and at no cost to districts.

 

o       For clarification, all tests/scoring/reporting in the chart are state and federally funded, and not to be funded locally.

o       The Task Force is not recommending changes in the PSAE at this time.

o       The Assessment and Accountability Task Force members shall remain as technical/policy advisors from January 2003 through at least July 2003 so that the aforementioned motions and subsequent implementation will be reviewed by the task force prior to decision points.

 

Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) – In response to recommendations from a subcommittee on IAA, the Task Force agreed on a short-term strategy that calls for the following changes to IAA for 2002-2003:

 

 

 

 

 

 

These recommendations will be presented to the State Board next week.  The Task Force will then develop a long-term strategy for additional improvements to the state’s alternative assessment of students with disabilities.

 

Adequate Yearly Progress – The Task Force endorsed the “stair step” model developed in Ohio and will recommend its adoption by the State Board.  This model applies intermediate goals and annual intermediate objectives in a way that reflects our belief that the strongest academic gains will occur in later years, after reforms have been institutionalized and local capacity improved.  We will provide additional information on this model and its implications in a later communication.

           

 

Hazel Crest School District Finance Authority

 

The State Board met in special session on Monday, December 9, to establish formally  a School Finance Authority for Hazel Crest School District 152.5.  Legislation authorizing the creation of such an Authority and establishing an emergency loan of up to $4,000 per student was authorized by the General Assembly last week and signed by Governor Ryan on December 6.  The press release regarding this meeting may be found at http://www.isbe.net/news/2002/dec9-02.htm

 

Within the next few days, I will appoint five individuals, including two residing in the district, to serve on the Authority.  If you would like to suggest one or more individuals who are qualified and might be willing to serve on this important group, please let me know as soon as possible. 

 

Although all of us wish this situation had not occurred, the General Assembly’s discussions about Hazel Crest did provide an opportunity to focus on the financial crisis facing a majority of Illinois school districts.  I believe that many more members of the legislature now understand that this kind of disaster could also face the districts they serve.  As I indicated in last week’s message, we must work together to maintain and expand this awareness and help legislators translate it into meaningful financial reform during the next session.

 

 

State Board of Education Meeting – December 18-19  (Chicago)

 

The State Board meeting next week includes several important items in addition to the recommendations of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force.  This includes:

 

 

The Board will also hear a “showcase” report by the South Cook Education Consortium, accept the report of the State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities, receive the draft 2003 Cumulative Waiver Report and hear an update on universal preschool.

 

This Board meeting will be the last for three members appointed in 1997:  Marilyn McConachie, Connie Rogers and Vince Serritella.  On behalf of the Board, I want to thank each of them for their service to the schools and school children of this state.

 

The full agenda may be viewed at: http://www.isbe.net/board/meetings/dec02meeting/schedule.html

 

 

Board Appointments

 

Two appointees to the State Board of Education have been approved by the Illinois Senate and will assume office in January. 

 

Joyce Karon of Barrington holds a master’s degree in Instructional Media Management and Library Science.  She served as a teacher, librarian and coordinator of library media services in the Barrington School District through 2001 and also served on several state and national education committees.  Joyce is now an affiliate professor for the Education, Research, Technology, Assessment Division at Northern Illinois University.

 

 

Gregory Kazarian of Lake Forest Is a partner at Pedersen and Houpt and a member of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice group.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Biophysics and a law degree, both from the University of Illinois.  He is the Chair and Founder of Leadership for the Future of Illinois, a volunteer advocacy group committed to advancing fiscal responsibility in government.

 

Dean Clark, a third appointee to the State Board, will be considered by the Senate in early January.  He lives in Glen Ellyn, has served on its local board of education, and is a member of EFAB. 

 

 

State Board Student Advisory Council

 

Twenty-two students from throughout the state have been appointed to this year’s Student Advisory Council (SAC).  This group provides the Board with a student view of educational issues, works on projects associated with State Board goals and makes recommendations for new, expanded and/or modified Board initiatives. 

 

Plans for this year include continued work on the SAC-developed “Student School Safety Audit” (see topic below), development of an instrument for student appraisal of teacher quality, advocacy for a proposed Learning Standard on global education, and collaboration with the Illinois Association of Student Councils to add a student voice to legislative debate. 

 

This group inspires and re-energizes those of us who have an opportunity to meet with them, and we look forward to their contributions this year.  For more information about the SAC, contact Board Services Executive Patrick Mogge at 217/782-2223 or pmogge@isbe.net.

 

 

Violence Prevention Activities

 

Although most of our attention has been focused on the financial and academic challenges facing Illinois school districts, it is important to remain sensitive to school safety issues. 

 

A one-day school safety conference will be held on March 21, 2003 at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield.  The program will include a panel of principals of schools that have experienced extreme violence (e.g., Columbine, Paducah), a similar panel of students from those schools, and presentations by the author of the Secret Service Threat Assessment report on 37 school shootings, the USDE Director of Safe and Drug Free Schools program, an attorney familiar with legal issues, the co-developers of the Student School Safety Audit, and Miss America.  For more information, contact ROE 12 at 618/395-8626.

 

 

 

 

Workshops designed to help your schools organize student school safety teams will be held on January 27 in Mt. Vernon, February 3 in Moline, February 4 in Bloomington, February 10 in Schaumburg, February 11 in Lisle and February 12 in Tinley Park.  School-based teams of 3-5 students and their sponsors will be trained to use the Student School Safety Audit, which was designed by the State Board’s Student Advisory Council.  For information, contact Mike Kotner at 217/522-7041 or mkotner@hotmail.com.

 

The 5th Annual Partners for Peace Conference will be held on March 18 in Effingham and March 20 in Tinley Park.  This conference is sponsored a variety of associations, including ISBE, and will focus this year on “Children’s Mental Health and Wellness: A School and Community Partnership.”  Participants will learn about current issues in children’s mental health and obtain information to plan and implement children’s mental health prevention and intervention treatment services in their schools and communities.  For more information, contact Shannon Hartnett at 312/368-9070 x 19 or at scasey@mhai.org.

 

Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education

statesup@isbe.net