From:                     STATE SUPERINTENDENT

Sent:                      Friday, August 30, 2002 1:38 PM

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

Subject:                 Administrative Update from State Superintendent Robert Schiller

Good afternoon.  On the eve of the three-day weekend that, at least for you and I, marks the end of summer, I would like to call several important administrative items to your attention. 


I would also like to share with you the administrative message I sent my managers and staff this week.  As you know, the State Board has charged me to work with you and other partners in the state to find solutions to our three biggest challenges – the Funding, Achievement and Teacher Gaps.  I have a fourth very important charge as well – to make the state education agency a more efficient and effective organization that supports the work of school districts and communities to improve student achievement.


I firmly believe this agency is staffed with outstanding and committed individuals who want to do their very best for you.  I also believe that some systemic problems have sometimes made it difficult for staff to perform to their highest potential.  That must change. 


Earlier this week I met with agency management to outline my expectations for our work here at ISBE.  I asked the managers to discuss these expectations with their employees and begin to develop strategies to ensure that those expectations are met.  I have attached that document for you to read as well.  As our primary constituent, you and your staff should know what I expect – and what you should expect – from the people at ISBE.  I hope it gives you a better understanding of what we are doing to improve our service to you.


Following that memo are those important administrative items for you.


·  Corrections to school, district reports of state test results

·   High Schools:  grade 12 PSAE retake voucher use

·   IDPH: take precautions against West Nile Virus at outdoor events

·   IDPH update on immunization, health examination rules




My expectations for ISBE staff


The purpose of this communication is to clarify the direction our agency is going and the expectations for our work on behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).


1.    Mission & Goals: Our work advances ISBE’s mission statement and goals.  Please have this mission statement and goals posted at your work site.  The objectives and targets we have established within our business plans must be aligned to ISBE’s mission statement and goals.


2.    Focus:  Our efforts must be field-centered.  How we approach our jobs must be in direct support of the schools’ and districts’ work to improve teaching, learning and services to students, staff, and community.  Our agency has clearly defined functions:  policy, support, transactions, and compliance.  While there may be some blending, the more we focus our work within these areas, the greater clarity we will have as an agency and as individual employees.


3.    Policy/Decision-Making Roles:  Decisions with policy implications reside at the State Board and Superintendent level with input and recommendations from the Core Team.  Decision points you encounter that have policy implications should move expeditiously to your director’s attention.  As managers, division administrators, and supervisors, you are expected to analyze the issues, review available options, and offer recommendations based on data and provide reasonable explanations.  Final decisions will be made at the State Board and Superintendent level.  Once the policy directions and decisions are determined, then our professional role as management is to support, advocate and implement the decisions.


4.    Ethos of the Agency:  Our work must be conditioned upon being supportive, timely, accurate, and data driven.  Since we do not teach students or administer the operations of school districts, our value is in serving as facilitators of services, distributors of funds, providers of information, technical assistance and advice, and assurors of district/school/program compliance with legal/legislative/federal requirements.  We must maintain a mode of thinking, planning, and staging our efforts to anticipate challenges that require solutions that are attained in short-term, mid-term, and long-term segments.  Agencies have a tendency to work in the present and plan prospectively with the advent of a task.  We want our agency to be proactive and anticipatory and not reactive.  Within the evolution of our organization, I see us focusing our efforts in planning and implementing programs, services and regulatory functions in segments of three, nine, and 15-month intervals. Our plans need to work backward from exact rollout and due dates.


5.    Value-Added Services:  Our future as an agency is dependent upon how our clients and /partners perceive us.  To the extent they value our services, seek our advice, use our information, and learn from our compliance/regulatory reviews, our work will be positively received.  That perception will shape the decisions of lawmakers and how they support and fund our agency and jobs.  If our partners and clients recognize value in our service, then our future is secure.  Conversely, we cannot expect the General Assembly to support our budgetary requests if the agency’s services are not valued by the field.


6.    Alignment of Priorities & Personnel:  As part of our implementation of the Deloitte & Touche Report, we will continue to analyze our activities and personnel to align staff with priorities.  For example, as individuals retire or leave ISBE employment, functional analysis decisions will have to be made on whether we replace the position or allocate the position and new hire to another area aligned with ISBE priorities and needs.


7.    Performance-Based Evaluation System for Supervisors, Division Administrators, Managers, and Directors:  As part of our implementation of the Hewitt Report (Goal #4), I see the annual evaluation system for the agency supervisors, division administrators, managers and directors becoming much more outcome and result centered.  The job descriptions, evaluative criteria, and performance targets will become more tightly linked with ISBE’s mission and goals.  As a result, midyear reviews and annual evaluations will be closely tied to progress made toward achieving specific, measurable targets in support of ISBE’s mission and goals for the year.


8.    Guiding Questions to Ask Yourselves:  As we plan our work, communicate and interface with the field, and execute our work plans on a daily basis, think along the following lines of an informal checklist. 


Ask yourselves, “If I were a field administrator...


·    …would I understand and respond positively to the timelines, complexities of an RFP/application, paperwork requirements, information request, visitation, telephone call?”


·    …would I see consistency and clarity in the correspondence and direction of the staff of ISBE?”


·    …would I see redundancies of information requests or duplication of efforts?”


·    …would I see an agency that is lacking internal communication and, as a result, does not give me the same answer to my questions or one division not consistent with another division’s expectations/interactions?”


·    …would I, if asked by a legislator or a member of the public, be able to advocate for the work of the staff of ISBE and be able to speak to the value of ISBE?”


·    …when being reviewed or audited for compliance, would I be treated fairly and according to the regulations, consistent with how another district/school is being treated, with the same expectations?  Would I understand the reason for the audit/visit/review and findings?  Would I perceive ISBE staff as attempting to assist and support?”


·    …when seeking a service, such as technical assistance, information, or certification processing, would I experience a supportive and responsive ISBE agency and staff focused on service and outcome or would I see a staff and bureaucratic agency mired in process?”


Organizations need to evolve continually in order to define and redefine their operations while remaining viable.  Our goal is to have our agency model these outlined points as soon as possible.  Our future depends upon our capacity to change and meet future needs.  We need to develop a mutually dependent structure to facilitate teamwork.         


Thank you for your continued hard work and dedication to ISBE and Illinois’ children.  At 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 27, we will meet as a management group to discuss this direction.




Corrections to School, District Reports of State Test Results

State regulations allow corrections to state test reports during a 45-day review period commencing with the receipt of state test reports.  The deadline for reviewing and correcting state test results is the close of business on Monday, September 16, 2002.


Revisions that are not received by NCS Pearson, the state’s scoring contractor, by this deadline will result in incorrect results being reported on the School Report Card and used for federal NCLB accountability.


No revisions or corrections will be made after this deadline.


If you have not already done so, please check your state test reports for accuracy.  The most common error is the misclassification of students. For example, no students were coded as being eligible for free or reduced lunch benefits, even though some students who took state tests are receiving these benefits.  To detect these types of errors, check the Participation Summaries that you received with your state test results.  These reports list the participation rate of all students who were tested as well as the participation rate for the various disaggregated groups reported, such as ethnicity and free or reduced lunch.  Also, check the School Rosters to ensure that all students listed as being in your schools are enrolled in your schools.


Changes for individual students should be marked on the School Rosters.  Make copies of these School Rosters for your records and return the originals to:


NCS Pearson

Attention: ISAT (or PSAE or IMAGE, as appropriate) Reporting

2510 North Dodge Street

Iowa City, Iowa 52245


Please include a cover memo that describes the changes needed and is signed by the person authorizing the changes.  Revised reports will be sent when the changes are finalized.  Call NCS Pearson at 800-627-7990, state code 814, if you have questions.




High Schools:  Grade 12 PSAE Retake Voucher Use

Your Grade 12 students will have an opportunity in October to retake the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE).  Students who chose to do so will take day 1 (ACT Assessment) on Saturday, October 26, 2002, at a national ACT test center and day 2 on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 during an in school testing session.  To earn new PSAE scores, students must participate in BOTH day 1 and day 2 of the retake.


Students’ registration fees for day 1 of the retake (ACT Assessment) will be paid by the state through the use of a Day 1 PSAE Voucher.  A supply of vouchers was sent in July to the director of guidance at each school that participated in PSAE testing in April/May 2002.  Please remind your school staff that vouchers may be given only to students who intend to take BOTH days of testing (day 1 and day 2).


To register for day 1, students must complete an ACT paper registration folder and mail it to ACT with a completed PSAE Day 1 Voucher that has been signed by authorized school staff.  ACT’s registration postmarked deadline for the October test date is September 20, 2002.




IDPH: take precautions against West Nile Virus at outdoor events

Football season has begun, and many games are held in the early evening, which is one of the most active times for mosquitoes. West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes or animals in most counties throughout the state, and the number of human cases is expected to increase. Please advise your students and spectators to follow these simple precautions to avoid mosquito bites while enjoying football games or any other extracurricular activity held outdoors in the evening:


1                    Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Loose-fitting, light colored clothing is best.

2                    Use mosquito repellent containing 25 percent to 35 percent diethyl tolumide (DEET) when it is necessary to be outdoors, applied sparingly to exposed skin or clothing, as indicated on the repellent label. Consult a physician before using repellents on young children.         


If any treatment for adult mosquitoes is done before such events, it must be conducted by an individual licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture.


The attached fact sheet should answer health-related questions about West Nile virus. For further information, visit ; or the IDPH home page at




IDPH update on immunization, health examination rules

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has made changes to the immunization rules and regulations as stated in the Child Health Examination Code (Part 665), effective July 1, 2002.  The most significant revision involves requiring children entering a school operated program below the kindergarten level or kindergarten for the first time on or after July 1, 2002, to provide proof of having received one dose of varicella (chickenpox) vaccine on or after the first birthday or proof of prior varicella disease.  As stated in the immunization rules, proof of prior varicella disease must be verified by one of the following: 1) date of illness signed by a physician, 2) a health care provider’s interpretation that a parent’s or legal guardian’s description of varicella disease history is indicative of past infection, or 3) laboratory evidence of varicella immunity.  The following is a summary of the other July 2002 revisions: 


3                    Add abbreviations associated with vaccines containing diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio antigens to reflect current terminology used in reference to the various vaccines available.


4                    Modify the minimum interval between doses of polio vaccine (IPV and OPV) to be consistent with current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).


5                    Require that any physician diagnosis of measles disease made on or after July 1, 2002, must be confirmed by laboratory evidence.


6                    Require a four month minimum interval between the first and third dose of the hepatitis B vaccine series for children entering a pre-kindergarten program operated by a school or the 5th grade for the first time on or after July 1, 2002.


7                    Clarify that the one month interval between dose 1 and dose 2 of measles vaccine be defined as equal to or greater than 28 days.


8                    Revise the format of the Hib Vaccination Schedule (Appendix B) to make it easier to understand.


9                    Add hepatitis B to the vaccine-preventable disease susceptibility list maintained by schools (necessary to be consistent with the requirement as set forth in the Immunization Code/Part 695).


1                     Delete the reference that laboratory evidence of mumps immunity is only acceptable if a specific diagnostic test is utilized to assess immunity.


2                    Clarify that references to 12 months of age or later in various sections in the rules be defined as on or after the first birthday.    


These changes were necessary to ensure that the immunization rules are consistent with the current recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).   A complete copy of the Child Health Examination Code (Part 665) is enclosed.  Please review these rules for complete details regarding the rule changes.  


Vaccine Shortages:    While there has been significant improvement in the availability and supply of most vaccines, there still may be spot shortages of Tetanus-diphtheria (Td) and varicella vaccines that could present a problem for some students entering school in fall 2002, in complying with the immunization requirements.  As in past years, if a student is unable to receive the required vaccine(s) from their health care provider because of a vaccine shortage, schools will need to observe the following procedures.


1.         Inform parents of students unable to comply with the vaccine requirement because of a vaccine shortage to obtain a statement from the student’s health care provider indicating that the immunization(s) will be deferred until supplies become readily available.  Place a copy of this statement in the student’s health record file.


2.         Make up a “susceptibility list” of all unvaccinated students who are required to present evidence of compliance with the immunization requirements once vaccine supplies become generally available.  The deadline for providing the school with the deferral statement is October 15th or an earlier exclusion date established by the district.  


3.         When preparing your 2002-2003 Immunization School Survey (ISBE form 70-11), report all the students on the susceptibility list as “Unprotected but In Compliance” (use category B.3, “Approved Schedule”).  Do not exclude students who are unable to receive immunizations due to vaccine shortages. 


4.         Once you are notified by the State Board of Education that the vaccine supply (i.e. Td, varicella) has been restored, notify parents of students on the susceptibility list to schedule the required vaccinations.     


Legislation (Senate Bill 929) :           Effective July 19, 2002, Public Act 92-0703 amended The School Code by allowing advanced practice nurses (APNs) and physician assistants (PAs) to:


1.         Sign the student’s Certificate of Child Health Examination form if they performed  the health examination as authorized by their supervising physician.


2.         Issue a medical objection statement if the physical condition of a child is such that one or more of the required immunizations should not be administered .  The APN or PA writing this statement must have been the individual responsible for performance of the student’s health examination.


The Illinois Department of Public Health will be amending the Child Health Examination Code (Part 665) to incorporate the provisions of P.A. 92-0703.


Certificate of Child Health Examination:  The Certificate of Child Health Examination form is being revised to accommodate the recent changes in the immunization rules and regulations.  The State Board of Education will notify schools when the revised form has been finalized and copies are available. 


Please contact the regional immunization program representative in your area (see enclosed map), the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Immunization Section at 800/526-4372, or staff of the Illinois State Board of Education (Sharon Neely, at 217/782-3950 or, if you should have any questions. 







Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

 of Education