Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 9:03 AM
Subject: Weekly Message from Interim State Superintendent Randy J. Dunn 12-20-04



In many of your schools and districts around the state, I know these are very “exciting” days as students and staff anticipate the holiday break.  While usually hectic for all involved, it’s also an opportunity for fun and fellowship among everyone in a school that gets at the heart of being a true “school community.”


Many of you know that I try with diligence to keep up with the emails I receive.  These past couple of weeks have gotten me behind in that regard, but I seek to catch up a bit as things quiet down here at the State Board—and in your schools—over the break period. 


To all of you who emailed back to correct the defibrillator information from last week’s message, we appreciate that heartily.  I could tell there was some sort of problem as I watched my in-box fill at lightening speed as you were all reading the bulletin.  You will find another entry on that topic in today’s message that I hope gets us all on the same page.  Of more recent vintage, many others of you have written to express an opinion around my recommendation that we continue to include a college entrance examination as part of the Prairie State Achievement Exam.  I probably won’t get responses back to each of you on those topics, but I will read each message that’s been sent.


Also, you will note that I joined the Governor’s call to ensure that children are not exposed to violent video games in school—to that end, we’ve pledged to develop a model policy that school districts can adopt for this purpose.  More on that will be forthcoming.


Finally, this is the last edition of the weekly message for 2004.  Each year just seems to pass that much more quickly.  My hope for all of you is a peaceful, restful, and safe holiday break, leading into a great 2005.  Unless something urgent takes place between now and then, our next issue will appear in the new year.  The best to you and yours!  



Best wishes for a Happy Holiday season.


Randy Dunn

State Superintendent of Schools (Interim)


Also in today’s message:


Title IID (Ed Tech) Funds not net applied for by eligible districts

To all districts receiving Title I funds, please be aware that you may still be eligible for Title IID “Enhancing Education Through Technology” funds through the E-Grants system and the NCLB consolidated grant.  These funds are made available for professional development, hardware, software and infrastructure costs associated with using technology in your schools.  To find out if you are eligible, please log into IWAS and the NCLB consolidated grant and check for your allocation under the IID section in the pull down menu in the upper right hand corner. A list of funded schools is also available on the ISBE website at:


All districts that receive Title I funds are also eligible for IID.  The process is relatively simple, only requiring a few goals, CIPA certification and a budget that includes at least 25 percent for professional development activities in the area of learning technology.  If you have questions, please call Lou Berkman at 312/814-3853.  Upon receiving approval for this grant, you can utilize the funds until June 30, 2005.  Please make sure your district accesses and uses this resource before the end of the school year.


Defibrillators in public schools

Last week’s message misstated the date by which schools must have AEDs on-site and trained users.  Under PA 93-910, schools to which the Act applies must have medical emergency plans in place by July 1, 2005.  However, schools will not need to have AEDs installed until July 1, 2006.  Since the timelines for implementation and the number of AEDs required varies according to the nature of the facility, and to determine which provisions apply to your school, please visit:


Resource for administrators, teachers, health service providers

Preventing drug use, bullying, violence and the other health and safety problems in schools takes effective practices and resources, which are often hard to find.  For Illinois schools, a wide range of effective materials are available for the asking from Prevention First, a training and information resource nonprofit specializing in drug prevention and related issues.


With funding from the Illinois State Board of Education and Department of Human Services, the research library of Prevention First includes books, videos, curricula, journals and kits on substance abuse, bullying, dating violence, sexually transmitted diseases, domestic violence and related prevention issues.  Materials include professional development for educators, classroom programs and information for parents.


The library is accessible online or at locations in Chicago (720 N. Franklin) and Springfield (2800 Montvale Drive). Items can be shipped directly to patrons at no charge. 


The Prevention First clearinghouse also offers free brochures, posters, bookmarks and other materials. To browse what is available, go to or call 800-252-8951, ext. 128, for bibliographies and a clearinghouse catalog.


This service is partially funded by a federal Title IV Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Grant through the Illinois State Board of Education and the U. S. Department of Education.


New National Board Certified Teachers

ISBE is thrilled that 412 Illinois teachers are among the National Board Certified Teachers recently announced for 2004.  National Board Certification is the highest credential in the teaching field.  The voluntary process certification is achieved through a rigorous performance-based assessment that takes between one and three years to complete. Check out the listing of all teachers and their subject areas at


Classroom temperatures

The ISBE Accountability Division has received several telephone calls from parents inquiring whether there is a “state temperature” at which schools must set facilities to keep students warm during winter weather.  As most of you already know, each district develops its own policies and procedures for the district or individual school buildings.   Several factors could enter into your decision-making process.  These could include: areas available for inside activities, personnel available for supervision, the nature of outside play areas and the school schedule.  


Scam alert 

ISBE has received information regarding a situation in which an individual has contacted a school and asked to verify the principal's name and phone extension so that confidential information can be sent from ISBE. 


ISBE staff members are always willing to have you verify their names and contact information.  If you are unsure if a caller is a member of our staff, please call us to verify the source before providing any personal or confidential information to callers you do not know.


Weekly news clips

This week’s news clips may be accessed at