Sent: Friday, March 28, 2003 3:20 PM
To: 'Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents '
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 3/28/03

Good afternoon. This week, staff from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) visited Illinois to review our compliance with the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The visit concluded with broad positive comments by the USDE staff, but also with their identifying areas that need improvement.


Other topics in this message include the following:


·        Announcement of an April 2 education rally in front of the state capitol.

·        A reminder that accuracy in reporting school enrollment is critically important because of NCLB accountability requirements

·        A reminder that the Annual Financial Report verification deadline is April 15

·        Notice of a change of address for returning instructional materials for students who are blind or visually impaired

·        Announcement of the Teacher of the Year for 2003


April 2 Education Rally


State Board Chairman Ronald J. Gidwitz and I will speak at a rally for education funding to be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, 2003, at the Lincoln statue in front of the state capitol.


The rally is being organized by David Welch of the Unity for Our Community group in support of increased funding for public education in Illinois. A large crowd of concerned parents, citizens, legislators and educators is expected to attend. Please join us. This is a great opportunity for us to show elected officials that there is broad support for our position on this issue.



USDE Peer Review on the Illinois Assessment and Accountability System


Staff from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) plus peer reviewers visited Illinois on March 27, 2003, to review the Consolidated State Accountability Workbook ( The purpose of the review was to ensure that the Illinois plan meets, or will meet, all of the technical requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). State Superintendent Schiller, Senator del Valle, Representative Mitchell, and ISBE staff addressed the team of four reviewers. The reviewers received considerable documentation in addition to the workbook (for example, enrollment grid for ISAT and PSAE assessments, draft report cards for 2003, and the Illini Plan). The team will consider what they heard and received and then make recommendations to an oversight panel that will in turn recommend appropriate final action to USDE. We anticipate that Illinois will receive the final staff findings soon and then revise the Consolidated State Accountability Workbook accordingly. The intent is to have all revisions complete and accepted so that Illinois will receive its federal funding as of July 1, 2003.


Sen. del Valle addressed the USDE team about the educational needs in his area as well as the bill that he is sponsoring to ensure Illinois compliance with NCLB with respect to accountability. Rep. Mitchell, a member of the Assessment and Accountability Task Force, also spoke about educational needs and the bill he is sponsoring to ensure Illinois compliance with NCLB with respect to assessment. At the end of the day, the team was informed that HB 2352, sponsored by Mitchell et al., had passed the House unanimously.


I  also spoke directly to educational needs and school improvement and addressed the need for acceptance of the Illini Plan (regarding the pace of school improvement towards the 100% goal of meeting and exceeding state standards in the 2013–2014 school year) by USDE.


The team review ended with the team making some broad positive comments and identifying some items for improvement. Some of the items will be discussed at the next Assessment and Accountability Task Force meeting on April 9, 2003, in Springfield.



Accuracy Matters in Collecting Data for NCLB Accountability


District superintendents outside Chicago District 299 will soon receive forms to report enrollment for determining whether the schools are making adequate yearly progress (AYP). The superintendents will receive forms for district-level enrollment and forms to forward to principals for building-level enrollment.


District Demographic Sheets and School Demographic Sheets will be sent to district offices in early April 2003 and must be returned to our scoring contractor, NCS Pearson, for receipt no later than April 30, 2003. At the district option, the School Demographic Sheets for each school in the district may be given to the principal to fill out or the School Demographic Sheets may be completed by district office personnel.


ACCURACY MATTERS – Reporting these enrollment counts accurately to NCS Pearson is absolutely essential, since these data will help determine whether schools and districts make AYP. The district is accountable for the accuracy of this information.


For the 2003 administration of the state tests, this enrollment information is being collected with scannable forms. For the 2004 administration, we are exploring the possibility of collecting this enrollment information online.


For more information, visit the Student Assessment Division Web site at



School District Annual Financial Report Verification Deadline:


The 2002 Operating Expense Per Pupil (OEPP)/Per Capita Tuition Charge (PCTC), Indirect Cost Rates (ICR), and Financial Information Summary reports were mailed to all district superintendents in February and March 2003. Superintendents need to compare these reports to their district’s FY2002 Annual Financial Report and verify their accuracy. The final deadline for any changes to these reports is Tuesday, April 15, 2003. If you have not already done so, please review the reports immediately. Contact ISBE only if there are corrections.


If you did not receive the reports or if you have questions, call Debbie Hemberger or Sally Cray in the School Business and Support Services Division at 217/785-8779, or e-mail them at or .



Change of Address for Returning Materials to the Instructional Material Center


The Illinois State Board of Education, The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, and Springfield School District 186 are providing this notice to inform all schools in the State of Illinois that have blind or visually impaired students that the Instructional Material Center, currently located in Springfield, is relocating to The Chicago Lighthouse in Chicago.


Effective April 1, 2003, all Braille, large-print books, and other instructional materials that schools intend to return to the Instructional Materials Center should be returned to The Chicago Lighthouse. Returning materials directly to The Lighthouse rather than to Springfield will not only save reshipping costs but will help expedite filling orders to Illinois school children for the next school year.


Effective July 1, 2003, all orders placed by schools and teachers should be directed to


Barbara Perkis

Instructional Materials Center Director

The Chicago Lighthouse for People Who Are

Blind or Visually Impaired

1850 W. Roosevelt Road

Chicago, IL 60608


312/997-3699 (direct line) or

312/666-1331 (general number)


Direct any questions to the above numbers.



Teacher of the Year


A Mt. Prospect High School music and band teacher, David Morrison, was named on March 23, 2003, to be the 2003 Illinois Teacher of the Year. Teachers with David’s strengths and dedication are the reason Illinois education continues to improve. His commitment to helping students learn, coupled with his own passion for continuous learning, makes him an educator to emulate. You can find more information about David and the Teacher of the Year program at



Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education