Sent: Friday, September 12, 2003 11:03 AM
To: Regional Superintendents and Special Education Directors District Superintendents
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 9-12-03

Good morning,

The State Board will hold its regular monthly meeting on September 17 and 18 in the Springfield office.  To view the agenda, visit the following webpage


This week’s message contains the following information:

·        New AYP Web pages

·        Assessment Testing Dates

·        Physical education waivers for cheerleading

·        Teacher service record electronic reporting package

·        Newsclips



New AYP Web Pages Offer Information and Answers

This is the first year that the state is applying new requirements for calculating Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for schools, based on 2003 state test data.  This process is now clearly explained on a new section of the ISBE website, along with links to additional information, frequently asked questions, and other resources.  To access the new site, either go to the ISBE homepage ( and click on the box labeled “What’s AYP?” or go to


We will continue to enhance this section of our website as additional questions and answers are developed and as new information and resources become available.


Assessment Test Dates Set

State testing dates for 2003-04 have been reposted on the assessment website at  District personnel can click on the test they are interested in and go to the test schedule for that assessment.  Test date modification forms can also be accessed via this same website.


Physical Education Waivers for Cheerleading


Districts wishing to excuse students in grades 11 and 12 from daily physical education in order to participate in competitive cheerleading, as defined in the by-laws of the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), may now do so without applying to the State Board of Education for a waiver, under the following conditions:



Districts wishing to excuse students in grades 9 and 10 from daily physical education for competitive cheerleading, or districts wishing to excuse students in grades 9-12 for non-competitive cheerleading, dance or pompons, must continue to apply for a physical education waiver through the State Board of Education. 


The next two deadlines for submission of requests for waivers of School Code mandates are postmarked by March 12, 2004 (to ensure inclusion in the May 2004 report to the Illinois General Assembly) and postmarked by August 13, 2004 (to ensure inclusion in the October 2004 report).  Please note that the requirements for waiver applications were changed in August of 2003; the new requirements are outlined on the State Board’s website at


For information on competitive cheerleading, see the following links to the Illinois High School Association: (general information and by-laws interpretation) and (by-laws; see Section 5.750).


If you have any questions, please call Winnie Tuthill or Shelley Helton at (217) 782-5270.


Teacher Service Record Electronic Reporting Package


On September 8th, we mailed the 2003-04 Teacher Service Record reporting package to all school districts that file their Teacher Service Record electronically.  This package was addressed to each district’s Teacher Service Record contact person.  If your district files electronically and has not received its package by September 17th, please call Steve Scaife at 217/782-3950 or send him an email at



Newsclips from National Association of State Boards of Education


IDAHO TO ALTER FUNDING FOR CYBER CHARTER SCHOOLS. The Idaho State Board of Education is working on changes to the state's funding formula that would provide more money for online public schools. As an example of the disparity between online and brick-and-mortar schools, last year the Idaho Virtual Academy, the state's first Internet-based public elementary school, received $2,410 per pupil from the state, compared to an average of $5,034 per pupil in traditional schools. The Board believes that most of the per-pupil funding a school district receives for a student should follow that student to a virtual school. The changes mean that students in state-approved distance learning programs would be funded by the district of the student's residence, with the state department of education deducting funds from the state's allocation to the school district and providing them to the virtual school. Source: Idaho Statesman (9/02/03).


KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI DESEGREGATION CASE FINALLY DECIDED. A 26-year-old Kansas City desegregation case was closed this week by a federal judge who stated that the district had made sufficient progress in reducing the achievement gap between black and white students. The decision ends the long-standing court supervision of the district. U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple stated that the district "is unlikely to discriminate against African-American children in the future" and will allow the superintendent to make decisions without the advice of counsel. The lawsuit, originally filed in 1977, attempted to desegregate the Kansas City School district with an exchange of students between Kansas and Missouri. Source: St. Louise Post-Dispatch (9/4/03).



A relatively obscure provision in the federal impact law has provided an additional $3.5 million to Hawaii's Department of Education. The federal formula allows states more money for military children who live on base as opposed to off base - in one Oahu district the difference is $2,441 for a child on base, as opposed to $422 for a child who lives off base. Under the newfound provision, that additional education funding can still be obtained when children are displaced from base housing because of renovations or construction as opposed to their parents choosing to live off base. An estimated 2,032 students are currently encompassed under the provision, and every branch of the military has submitted plans to upgrade housing though 2007, leading Hawaii officials to assert that the additional aid will be available at least through the current plans. Source: Honolulu Advertiser (9/3/03).


OBESITY TO BE INCLUDED ON ARKANSAS REPORT CARDS. According to a new law passed by both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly, schools will be required to annually calculate the body mass index of students and include the information on report cards to parents. Schools are also required to provide parents with explanatory information on body mass index, physical activity, and nutrition. The law also bans snack foods and beverage vending machines in elementary schools, and requires schools to disclose the amount of money obtained from competitive food and beverage contracts and how vending concession money is spent. Source: Hope Star (9/3/03).


NAACP FILES COMPLAINT OVER FLORIDA'S USE OF STATEWIDE ASSESSMENT. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) filed a federal complaint against the Florida Department of Education with the Office for Civil Rights. The complaint alleges that the state has discriminated against black students through its use of statewide assessments as a means of promoting students. The NAACP claims that Florida is not providing the same level of resources to schools with high-minority populations, and thus is not providing a quality education for all students. In response, Education Commissioner Jim Horne pointed out that the achievement gap between white and minority students has been closing in recent years throughout the state. The NAACP is seeking to have federal education money withheld from Florida until a plan is in place to close the achievement gap between white and minority students. Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (8/29/2003).


MICHIGAN RETURNING STATE TESTING TO EDUCATION DEPARTMENT. Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm intends to sign an executive order returning the operation of the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) from the state treasury department to the state education department. Former Governor John Engler had moved the state testing program out of the education department in 1999 in a downsizing move. Source: Detroit Free Press, (9/4/2003).


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education