Sent: Friday, August 20, 2004 3:13 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 8-20-04
Good afternoon,


There were several key reports and important data presented to the State Board during its monthly meeting this week.  I am particularly pleased to present ISBE’s first report on Special Education.  The report, the first of its kind from the agency, is a result of the Illinois Continuous Improvement Plan (ICIP) which calls for improved outcomes for students with disabilities.


Where we previously measured efforts of services, we are now measuring, and reporting, the rsults of those efforts.  In future years we will be collecting and reporting data on parent satisfaction.  A link to the press release on the “2003 Annual State Report on Special Education Performance” is at  The report will soon be posted and available online through the release or via the Special Education section.


I presented the results of the ACT results for the 2004 graduating seniors.  I was once again pleased that the average score in Illinois rose for the second straight year in 2004.  Illinois’ graduating seniors in 2004 earned an average composite score of 20.3 on the ACT, up from 20.2 last year and 20.1 in 2001.  ACT assures us that the .1 percent increase is statistically significant given our large student pool.  We should all be encouraged that the mandated testing has also led to more students recognizing their potential to pursue college studies in cases where they might not have even thought about college in the past.  However, I am still concerned with the gaps in achievement scores among minorities and with the fact that more minority students opt to take a non-core curriculum than the number who do.  A news release with links to data can be accessed at


We also released the “2003 Educator Supply and Demand Report in Illinois.”  The report indicates Illinois will need nearly 40,000 regular teachers and more than 9,000 special education teachers through 2007.  The demand is tempered, somewhat, by the stability in the retention rate, the increase in the number of certificates issued and the number of students enrolled in college education programs.  This annual document is critical for policymakers and for the universities that offer education curricula.


The Board also took action to update the negotiations with a vendor for the FY06, and beyond, state assessments.  See the attached link to view the resolution


Finally, please note that this week and next week will be the final messages sent using our old email listserve.  Addresses for sending the message will be gleaned from the CDS (County District School) online system, which is the agency’s master contact information file.  So, please make sure superintendents’, principals’, etc., information is all up to date.


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education


Included in today’s message:



Deadline August 21 for 2004 Assessment Data Corrections on SchoolHouse


By August 21, 2004, all district Superintendents have the responsibility to:

            1) approve enrollment data for each school in their district,

            2) approve enrollment data for their district as a whole, and

            3) approve student demographic data for all students in their district.


The Quick Reference Guides sent in the July mailing should help Superintendents achieve this task. These guides are online also at


The first window for verifying 2004 state assessment data on Pearson’s SchoolHouse system closed on Monday, June 28, 2004. By this date, district superintendents were to have reviewed and approved demographic data that were collected on answer documents of tested students and first-day-of-testing enrollment data that were previously entered by districts on SchoolHouse (March 22 - May 21, 2004).


During the second correction window (July 27 - August 21, 2004):


When the second window closes on August 21, 2004, only data that have been approved by the district superintendent in SchoolHouse will be used to produce final score reports and to calculate AYP status. Districts with schools that participated in the Grade 2 Assessment of Reading and Mathematics must return a final approval form.


There will be NO additional opportunities after August 21, 2004, for district superintendents to review and approve their 2004 state assessment data. If you have questions, feel free to contact the Student Assessment Division at 217/782-4823.


Your Immediate Attention is Needed: School Report Card Data Collection


There are a number of schools that have not submitted their data for the school report card (86-43) via IWAS.  This information was due on August 16th.  Please check and make sure that all schools in your district have approved and submitted the required data to ISBE.   Some of you may have entered data but not approved it for submission. The status must indicate “approved” before ISBE can receive the data. We will not be able to complete the school report cards until we have data from all the schools.


Criminal Background Check Information – Public Act 93-909

August 17, 2004


Effective immediately, school districts are required to perform a fingerprint-based criminal history records check for all certified and non-certified applicants for employment.  The criminal history check must be initiated prior to employment.  To view this notic, please go to:


Select ISBE Programs Impact on Federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)


The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), in cooperation with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Human Services, has determined that the following five state education programs administered by ISBE can be part of the Illinois’ federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) claim:

Regional Safe Schools Grant program (Revenue Code 3696)

Regional Safe Schools-General State Aid (Revenue Code 3001-93)

State Free Lunch and Breakfast (Revenue Code 3360)

Extended Learning Opportunities-Bridges (Revenue Code 3825)

Early Childhood Block Grant (Revenue Codes 3705-00 & 3705-50)


These programs are being used either to maintain state effort or as federal match for the TANF program.  Please be advised that if you are receiving these funds, you may not claim the expenditures locally for any other federal match or maintenance of effort claim.  Moreover, if you expended Regional Safe Schools Program funds between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2004, you must count these expenditures as if they were “federal funds” in your calculations to assess whether you need to file an A-133 federal single audit.  A-133 or “Single Audits” are required by the federal government whenever a non-federal entity (state, local government or not-for-profit entity) has expended $500,000 or more in federal funds within a given year.  You are strongly encouraged to provide this information to the Certified Public Accountant firm or fiscal officer responsible for preparing your agency’s audit or completing financial reporting agreements.  Since Regional Safe School expenditures are being used as a TANF match, your auditor must include the CFDA number of 93.558 for the TANF program.  This number will be reflected on the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards (SEFA) form which is included with each A-133 Single Audit.


Further, in addition to the normal quarterly expenditure report required for some of these programs, please ensure that you accurately report the following information for each of these TANF programs:


Finally, all fiscal and program information for these programs should be maintained for audit purposes for a period of at least five years.  If you have questions regarding this information please contact the Division of Funding and Disbursement Services at 217-782-5256.


Technology Survey Deadline Extended

Near the close of the past school year, the eLearning Division of the Illinois State Board of Education conducted an online technology survey of teachers and students. The survey is being used to support professional development, technology funding through the No Child Left Behind formula grant, enable the Illinois Virtual High School to benchmark and track student readiness for virtual learning, and assist us in identifying adequate state and federal technology funding for school districts.


A large number of districts contacted us requesting an extension to administer the survey at the start of the new school year.  Our survey provider, The Center for Teaching and Learning, has agreed to keep the on-line survey portal open through October 30th, 2004.  To participate, please ask your faculty and staff to visit the website at and follow the directions provided.  This will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.


The cumulative data for your district and individual schools will be available to you online and can be printed for use in your technology plan, school improvement plan, and competitive grant applications. The data will clearly identify areas where your local professional development efforts will be most beneficial. By targeting your professional development funds, your limited resources will have greater impact on teaching and learning. Your participating faculty will also be able to access their personal confidential data online in the form of a bar graph.


The student survey is also administered online. Each teacher who participates in the above teacher survey is asked to randomly select three students to take the survey with the teacher entering their responses. This process takes about five minutes to complete.


ISBE is looking forward to your active participation in the survey. If you have any questions, please contact the survey technical support representative, Robert Dumke via email, or call 1-866-426-0700.


2003-2004 Driver Education Cost Claim Open


The 2003-2004 Driver Education Cost Claim is now open in the Illinois State Board of Education’s Web Application Security (IWAS) system.  School districts who operate Driver Education programs must file a cost claim on or before October 1, 2004 in order to be eligible for FY 2005 Driver Education reimbursement per Section 27-24.5 of the School Code.  Please be advised that a new edit check has been implemented this year to verify that student fees are not being used to supplant Driver Education salary, overtime and benefit costs per Section 252.30(a)(6) of the rules for Driver Education.  Questions, about the Driver Education cost claim can be directed to the ISBE Call Center at 217-558-3600.


Homeless Program Grant


Prior to fiscal year 2005 the State Board of Education (ISBE) had used the homeless program grant to fund a combination of individual school district and limited regional proposals.  As a result, not all school districts were receiving services under the program.  In February 2003

a regional format was implemented, along with the local grants, to establish a lead local education agency liaison to provide training to all school district liaisons and assist them in meeting the

requirements of the homeless law. In FY 2005 ISBE combined the locally funded programs and lead liaison effort into a single regional system of program delivery.


Seven grants were funded to provide services and programs to all of the school districts in their region of coverage to ensure that homeless children and youth have an opportunity to meet the same challenging state standards to which all students are held.  Within ISBE, Rich Dehart coordinates the efforts of the seven regions to insure a uniform and coordinated delivery of services.  School Districts are encouraged to contact Rich (email or phone 217/782-2948) for information on whom their regional contact is and how they may participate in awareness opportunities to assist the homeless students in their area.


As a new school year starts, more will depend on the assistance of this program.  Thank you for continuing to assist!


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