Friday Sent: , May 21, 2004 4:41 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 5-21-04
Good afternoon,


On Monday we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on Brown vs. Board of Education. Many of you probably participated in the commemoration that was held at Chicago State University and put together by the Illinois Commission of the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. It was an amazing event. The taped program is available at


Over the last month, as we prepared to celebrate this monumental decision, many of us focused on the continued inequities in education. And yes, they are there. But this week we also had an example of our successes. Wednesday evening was the first of three receptions where, together with Northern Illinois University, we honored 38 of 98 schools that have seen remarkable improvement over the course of the past couple of years. What we witnessed Wednesday is evidence that successful schools are colorless, they are not bound by zip code, they are not closed-minded, they are not about the status quo, they are not of the mindset that there is only one way to do business. Every one of these schools had a principal who encouraged change, a superintendent who supported it, faculty who embraced it and students who were receptive to it. In each of the schools that we recognized on Wednesday we honored a team comprised of people who were willing to take chances that yielded positive results classroom-by-classroom.


We saw schools that receive a large portion of state and federal funds and others that are greatly dependent on property taxes. Each of them in their own way illustrates that while our passion for education is universal, simple math challenges every district to stretch every dollar. We do have to reflect on the fact that 50 years after Brown v. Board, while success is not defined by zip code, funding is.


And that continues to cause me great concern, especially this week with the Governor, who instead of hammering out a budget with legislative leaders, continues to govern by press conference. We all know that the Legislature approved a $250 per pupil increase in General State Aid. The Legislature has made it abundantly clear that they want the GSA increase. The Governor has yet to approve this legislation, so we have no substantive movement on this front. Without the GSA increase – and funding our other critical needs like the Mandated Categoricals – our schools will be detrimentally affected. Another alternative is flat funding – which would mean no growth at all.


Advocacy for equity of funding is as important as it was 50 years ago. I believe that our State Board has been honest and forthright in addressing this area. Sadly, we saw one of our best resign from the State Board this week, Bev Turkal. She remarked the other day that since January alone she has driven 5,000 miles around this state to address the real needs of education, none of which are found in any plan proposed by the Governor. Bev will leave her state role and continue her advocacy at the local level in Robinson Community Unit School District 2, where she was appointed interim superintendent this week. As vice-chair, Bev, was a voice of reason, who recognized that every district is unique but every one is equally important. She will be missed.


Bev’s vacancy brings three Democratic vacancies to the State Board, which if the appointments were made today would grant the Governor the political majority he now so curiously desires.


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education


Included in today’s message:



Legislative Update

As you may be aware the General Assembly was scheduled to adjourn today but due to the budget impasse will have to come back next week and possibly beyond that time to finish their work this session.  There are still numerous education issues pending before the GA. I have previously addressed the budget but there is also the issue of the poverty grants.  SB 86 was amended by the House this week to add a permanent Hold Harmless to the poverty grant.  HB 4522 would allow for a 1-year Hold Harmless as well as eliminate the practice of taking any potential GSA shortfall out of the poverty grants.


As I mentioned in previous messages ISBE and other groups have been working on legislation to streamline and strengthen the teacher certification process. I am hopeful that we will see movement on this issue in the coming week.


The Senate has approved Senate Joint Resolution 75 which makes denials to certain school waiver request.  Below is a link  to the resolution.  Please keep in mind that if a waiver is not specifically denied by the General Assembly it is deemed approved.  The House now needs to approve this resolution.


Early Review and Correction Period for Participation Data—June 10-28

This year the assessment division will electronically post the preliminary 2004 assessment data and calculations for AYP participation rates from June 10-28. During this time period the districts will be able to correct their data online.  Data posted during this period will include the Student Information Rosters (a roster of individual student demographic information taken from the pre-ID labels and/or the information gridded on the covers of the answer documents), Demographic Verification Reports (enrollment information taken from the electronic enrollment system), and a page with the preliminary participation AYP calculations for the ALL and subgroup categories for each building. Special attention should be paid during this time to making sure that all student demographic information (low income, IEP, race/ethnicity, etc.) is entirely accurate.


NOTE:  Districts that did not submit their approved enrollment data by the May 21st deadline will not have preliminary AYP calculations posted at this time.  However, they will be able to enter their enrollments during this window so their participation rate calculations can be made when the window closes again.


Scoring will not have been completed at this time so you will be working only with student demographic data from the answer documents and pre-ID labels (numerator data) and with your enrollments on the first day of testing (denominator data).  After this correction period, the AYP participation rates will be recalculated using the corrected data from the districts.


During the June 10-28 period we will also be collecting requests to remove students with medical emergencies from the denominator and schools/districts will also be identifying their immigrant students who are new to the U.S.  These are two new pieces of data we have just learned about in the past few months from the U.S. Dept. of Education.  (Specific information on how to do this will be provided during this time period.)


Letters are being sent to each district containing a detailed timeline describing the next steps in the data correction process.  ISBE is also scheduling a series of in-service training sessions across the state through a partnership with the Illinois Principals Association during the early correction window in June so that administrators will have an opportunity to look at their school’s data first, attend a training session and ask specific questions as needed, and then go back and make any necessary changes.  User Guides will also be posted electronically which will walk people through the correction process screen-by-screen.


All of the energy local districts put into verifying and fixing this data early should have a tremendous payoff in more timely and accurate reporting this year.  To access more information about each step in this process, please go to the assessment website at


Electronic Grants Management System (eGMS) Update and Training CD

It is expected that the electronic Grant Management System (eGMS) will be available in production through the Illinois State Board of Education’s Web Application Security system (IWAS) next week.  A broadcast email will be distributed through the IWAS system as well as through a special Supt Weekly Message to notify you when it is available.  The first grant to be offered through eGMS is the 2004-2005 NCLB Consolidated Application.  If you should have technical problems with eGMS, please contact the ISBE Call Center staff at 217/558-3600 or via email at  Staff are available Monday – Friday from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day.


ISBE has also developed an eGMS Training CD for the 2004-2005 NCLB Consolidated Application which includes a User Guide.  The Training CD was mailed this week to all attendees of the eGMS spring workshops, as well as to all school district administrators who were not able to attend.  In addition, you may access the eGMS User Guide and Training presentations from the CD on our eGMS web site at  If you would like additional copies of the CD please contact the ISBE Call Center at 217-558-3600 or via email at


2004 Summer School Approval & Reimbursement for Special Needs Children

The process for approving special needs children with disabilities and subsequent reimbursement for summer 2004 is outlined in a memorandum which can be accessed at  Please contact the appropriate staff indicated on the last page of the memorandum if you have any questions.


Deadline for Consolidated Applications for English Language Learning Programs

Consolidated Applications for English Language Learning Programs for FY 05 are due to the ISBE by May 28, 2004.  For more information contact us at 312/814-3850.


Invitation to Comment on Rules

At its April 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 575 (School Technology Program)


P.A. 93-368, effective July 24, 2003, made the following changes to Section 2-3.117a of the School Code that necessitate amendments to these rules:



General state aid is proposed to be used as collateral in the case of a loan recipient's default on a loan, and the proposed amendments describes the process for the State Board of Education's accessing general state aid when a default occurs.


Deadline for Public Comment:    June 22, 2004


Notice of Completed Rulemaking

Please be advised that two other rulemaking items recently adopted by the State Board of Education are now in effect.  Both these sets of rules have been posted on the agency’s web site at  choose “Rules Currently in Effect” and scroll to the relevant Part number.  (If you print only the affected Sections, remember to include the table of contents for the Part, which changes every time the Part is amended.)


·         Standards for Certification in Specific Teaching Fields (Part 27)

      This rulemaking accomplishes two technical corrections, one in the common core of standards for science (Section 27.140) and the other in the common core of standards for social science (Section 27.200).


      The performance indicator stated in Section 27.140(j)(2)(A) has been expanded to reflect the original intent of the drafters of these standards.  Section 27.200(q)(2)(D) has been made consistent with Section 27.230 in its use of the time references “AD” and “CE”.


            Affected Sections:         27.140, 27.200, and 27.230

            Effective Date:              April 29, 2004


This rulemaking implements P.A. 93-212, effective July 18, 2003, which amended Section 18-17 of the School Code to allow schools to purchase certain science curriculum materials under the Secular Textbook Loan Program.  In addition, procedural portions of the rules have been changed to reflect the electronic submission of request forms.


Affected Sections:         350.10 and 350.15

Effective Date:              May 3, 2004

Invitation to Comment on Rules


Academic Improvement Awards

This week the Illinois State Board of Education recognized the first of 98 schools who have made Academic Improvement in their assessment scores over three years of assessments.


For more on the recognition and a list of the first recipients, please go to:


To hear the Superintendent’s comments at the event, please go to:  (dial-up)  (lan)


Environmental Improvement Grant

As part of the Governor’s Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative, the Illinois EPA has created a special grant program to fund environmental improvement ("greening") projects and activities at K-12 schools in Illinois. Funding for selected projects will be available to purchase products and/or equipment that will improve indoor environmental conditions, reduce waste and enhance energy efficiency.


Grants will generally range from $500 to $2,500.


To apply, schools must complete a grant application form including a summary of the proposed project, requested budget amount, expected results and timelines, and how success will be measured.


A one page final report will be required within 90 days of completion of the project or activity.

For calendar year 2004, the deadline for submitting applications for grants is December 31, 2004.  Applications will be processed as they are received.


For more information and the grant application go to


For further information, please contact Annette McCarthy at or Becky Lockart at, or call (217)782-8700.


Nutrition Programs and Support Service

The publication titled National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Special Milk Programs Household Eligibility Information and Special Milk (Free Option) Program and Illinois Free Programs Household Eligibility Information is now available.  The booklets contain instructions and school year 2004-2005 prototype forms including the letters to household explaining the meal benefits.  The forms are available on our website at under Forms and Documents.  Click on School-Based Nutrition Programs and scroll down to Household Income Eligibility Information.  New this year, these forms are program specific and more user friendly.  Simply click on the form you need, type in the information needed, and print.


If you have any questions, please contact Nutrition Programs and Support Services at (800) 545-7892 (Illinois only), (217) 782-2491, or via email at


Weekly News Clips

You may review this week’s news clips at