Sent: Friday, November 19, 2004 5:09 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from Interim State Superintendent Randy J. Dunn 11-19-04


Good afternoon,


November has proven to be a very productive month at the new State Board as we worked together to get the 2004 Report Cards completed accurately. I thank all of you again for your patience and cooperation in ensuring that our corrections to the report cards were accurate and thorough.


Special thanks to my staff for its hard work and leadership. Ginger Reynolds, our Interim Assistant Superintendent in Teaching and Learning has only been here a short time, but she really rolled up her sleeves with the rest of our team to get things moving!  Becky McCabe in Assessment and Connie Wise in Data Analysis, along with their staff members are also to be commended for their hard work.  Several came in on Veterans’ Day to keep working on the Report Cards and finalize the data in as timely a fashion as possible.  I feel lucky to have these individuals on board at the agency.


As I have said, we are further along with the release of the Report Cards than we were last year and we are releasing information that’s accurate.  But we have to make sure that we do not find ourselves in the same predicament next year, and have developed a three-pronged plan to ensure that it does not happen again.  If you haven’t read our release on this you can do so from our home page


In other news, the Governor has announced his support for school consolidation incentive grants; we have identified $2.6 million in operational savings at the agency that can be made available for the grants this year, and another $3.8 million that can be reallocated to schools next year.


This week before Thanksgiving I offer my sincere gratitude for all you do each and every day for our kids.  Those of us who are passionate about education know that often our only reward is in seeing our students succeed.


You will not receive a weekly message from me next week because of the holiday, unless urgent information must be communicated.  That said, I do hope to see some of you at the Triple I Conference this weekend in Chicago!


Best wishes to you all for a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.


Randy J. Dunn

State Superintendent of Education (Interim)



Also included in today’s message:


2004 report cards now available online

The 2003-04 report cards for your district and school(s) are now available online through IWAS at  After logging in by entering your Login Name and Password, select System Listing on the left, and then click on E-Report Card listed under My Systems.


At the Early Access 2004 eReport Card site, you can access (1) your report cards, (2) your district summary, (3) a template for the last page of the school report cards regarding Planned Improvement for the School and District, and (4) 2004 Report Card Definitions and Sources of Data.  Prior to disseminating to the public, please complete the page regarding Planned Improvement for the School and District for each school.  The contents of these pages need not be submitted to ISBE.  All documents at the site may be printed and saved on your own disks.


State (Better Schools Accountability) and federal (No Child Left Behind) laws require school districts to release report cards annually.  Following is a summary of the statutory requirements:



To ensure that districts have adequate time to report to your community, the State Board will not release individually identifiable district or school information to the general public until December 15, 2004.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact the Call Center at 217/558-3600.


Agency streamlining press release

Yesterday, you received a news release regarding ISBE streamlining agency operations.  Due to a computer error, some of the information may have appeared garbled, repeated or run together on your computer screen. To view the news release in its entirety, please go to the following link


Reading First district meeting

The ISBE Reading First team will meet with all Reading First Districts on December 1, 2004 at the Springfield Hilton. The meeting is for District Administrators and Reading First Coaches.  This meeting is to provide ongoing technical assistance to the districts and also to provide an outline for the continuation of Reading First in Illinois.


Invitation to comment on rules

At its October meeting, the State Board of Education released one set of proposed amendments for public comment.  This item has been posted on the agency’s web site at; choose “Proposed Rules and Amendments”.  Please submit any comments or suggestions you may have to


Part 1100 (Procurement by the State Board of Education)


This set of amendments responds to two recent pieces of legislation that amended the Illinois Procurement Code.



Deadline for Public Comment:    December 20, 2004


ISBE employment opportunities

The most recent external vacancy list for jobs at the Illinois State Board of Education may be accessed at


Young Authors’ Conference

ISBE is pleased to announce that the 31st Annual Illinois Statewide Young Authors’ Conference will be held May 21, 2005 on the campus of Illinois State University in Bloomington.  Conference guidelines can be found at


The Illinois Young Authors’ Conference is a celebration of the written work of children in kindergarten through eighth grade and is cosponsored by ISBE and the Illinois Language and Literacy Council.  The purpose of the conference is to support classroom teachers in their efforts to encourage and improve students’ abilities in writing, reading, listening and sharing, and to recognize the accomplishments of young authors.  All children in kindergarten through eighth grade, including those in special programs, are encouraged to participate.


In the spring, young authors selected by their local districts are invited to attend this one-day statewide conference where their books are read, discussed and affixed with the official seal of the Young Authors’ Conference.  The conference emphasizes language as a vehicle for communication.  In small groups, children are encouraged to share ideas with noted children’s authors, educators, and other young authors.  Adults who accompany children to the conference are invited to a session designed to further their insights into children’s writing.


For further information on the Young Authors’ Conference, please contact Leigh Ann Smith at or 217/782-4648.


Center for African Studies  grant opportunities  for  K-12 and community college faculty

The Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign invites applications from K-12 and community college faculty in Illinois schools for a summer fellowship of $1000. The fellowship will support someone whose teaching of African content may be enhanced by using the resources of the University of Illinois Center for African Studies, University Library, faculty members and/or acquiring materials for their classrooms and school.  This grant will support curriculum development projects conducted during the summer of 2005.  The fellowships are not aimed at students working on doctoral dissertations or masters’ theses.


Application procedure

Applications consist of a single page statement of proposed activity that includes how the applicant expects the award will enhance their teaching of Africa (culture, history, arts, music, language, literature, theatre or economics).  Applicants should indicate in their proposals previous teaching or related experience in Africa, courses taught with African content and the percentage of African content covered in the course.  Applicants are further required to submit a curriculum vitae and two letters of reference. 


Awardees are expected to share the outcomes of their summer fellowship as a report that outlines the newly created curriculum materials.  The report is due by September 15, 2005.


For application procedure and more information, please go to


Meeting the Challenge XV

Meeting the Challenge XV, a fine arts conference for all educators, is planned for January 7, 2005 at Sauk Valley Community College, outside Dixon, Illinois.  This fine arts conference is arranged by the Whiteside Regional Office of Education and Sauk Valley Community College.  Three workshop sessions will be available to each participant in the areas of drama, visual arts, music, and dance.  Many of the sessions are hands-on and provide curriculum which participants should be able to duplicate in their classrooms. The full day of activities will be awarded five continuing professional development units (CPDUs).  Registrations postmarked by Friday, December 10, 2004 will be eligible for an early-bird discount.  Full conference information, including registration form, may be accessed on the Whiteside Regional Office of Education website of For additional information or to request a flyer, please call 815/625-1495.


Weekly Newsclips

May be accessed at