Sent: Friday, September 17, 2004 4:25 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Robert Schiller 9-17-04
Good Afternoon,


I am looking forward to hosting the Annual Superintendents’ Conference next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Springfield Hilton.  I also look forward to seeing you and your associates at the conference.


If you have not already made arrangements to attend, I encourage you to do so.  We have put together an exciting program with well-known speakers and educational workshops.  There will be limited on-site registration available at the conference beginning September 20 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.


For additional details, please refer to the conference program online at


Robert Schiller

State Superintendent

  of Education


Also included in today’s message:


NIU’s Illinois Interactive Report Card

NIU has developed an Illinois Interactive Report Card as part of an intergovernmental agreement/partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education. Parents, teachers, school administrators and anyone interested in the state of public education in Illinois can begin to better understand school performance through the Illinois Interactive Report Card, a Web-based tool created and maintained by NIU.  The Interactive Illinois Report Card (IIRC) displays five years of Illinois Report Card data in a dynamic, easy-to-use format. In addition to providing academic performance information for all schools and districts in Illinois, the IIRC enables analyses of performance data, comparison of schools, and quick access to learning standards and other classroom resources.  The site can be accessed at


2003-04 Driver Education Cost Claim DUE OCTOBER 1

The 2003-04 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.  Delinquent claims will not be accepted.  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.


Tax Anticipation Warrant Program

The State of Illinois has become increasingly aware of the necessity for many school districts to borrow on a short-term basis.  To assist schools, the State of Illinois Finance Authority has created the Pooled Tax Anticipation Warrant Program.  This program “pools” the needs of school districts into one issue, allowing schools to share the costs and share in the savings.


For information or assistance, please contact Nona Myers or Eric Watson with the State of Illinois Finance Authority at (217) 782-5792.  Applications can be obtained by accessing the following link:


A Program for Rural Middle and High School Teachers

The National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina are partnering to bring leading-edge information and communication tools to teachers and students in rural Illinois and North Carolina.  The goals of the Program are to introduce technologies to enhance collaboration and lessen isolation, stimulate exchange of ideas and activities, build communities of practice, and enhance professional growth to improve teaching and learning. The Program applies visualization and modeling approaches to strengthen standards-based curricula and provides educators with advanced tools for teaching and communicating. Visualization can help students meet many of the learning standards that include, but are not limited to, reading and interpreting graphs, collecting and analyzing data, formulating questions, solving problems, and communicating mathematical and scientific ideas.


FY 2005 Title II-D Allotments Available

The Enhancing Education through Technology allocations through Title II-D of No Child Left Behind are now available.  Districts eligible for the Title I Basic grant are also eligible for this grant.  Allocations are available online at  To apply for these funds, submit an amendment to your approved NCLB Consolidated Application in eGMS.  To be approvable, the FY 05 Title II-D budget must clearly identify that at least 25% of funds will be used for professional development activities.  Budgeted funds should be connected to goals identified in your district technology plan.  If you have any questions please contact Lou Berkman from the Curriculum and Instruction Division at or 312/814-3853.


Metlife Essay Contest

MetLife is sponsoring the 2004 MetLife Scholars Program Essay Contest for students in Grades 6 to 12. The topic of this year's essay contest is "Immigrant Contributions to America." Twenty-six winners will receive scholarship awards worth $1,000 to $10,000 in U.S. savings bonds at maturity. Essays and entry forms must be postmarked by September 28, 2004.   

For more information, contact 

National Book Scholarship Fund Offers Literacy Materials

ProLiteracy Worldwide is accepting applications for its National Book Scholarship Fund (NBSF), an annual program that supplies books and materials to local literacy programs. New Readers Press, the publishing division of ProLiteracy Worldwide, provides the books and materials that are available from the NBSF.


The NBSF makes grants to literacy or educational programs. First priority will be given to programs that focus on family literacy. English as a second language projects, adult basic educational programs, and projects that involve women-focused literacy or ESL programming will also be considered for support.


NBSF grants have ranged from $500 to $7,000, although greater or lesser amounts of funding are considered. Programs awarded a grant must provide a cash contribution to ProLiteracy Worldwide equal to 20 percent of the grant award. These funds are used to defray the costs of NBSF program administration. Organizations that have been affiliates of ProLiteracy for one year or more provide a cash contribution equal to 10 percent of the grant award.


Proposals will be considered immediately upon receipt. Awards will be made until funds are exhausted. For complete program information and application form, visit:


English Language Learner Students in US Public Schools: 1994 and 2000

This Issue Brief examines growth in the population of English Language Learner (ELL) students in U.S. public schools between the 1994 and 2000 school years.  Data are drawn from the Schools and Staffing Surveys (SASS) of 1993-94 and 1999-2000.  Nationally, the number of ELL students in public schools increased from approximately two million students in 1993-94 to three million students in 1999-2000.  Regionally, over half the national total of U.S. public school ELL students in 1999-2000 were in the West region.


The Issue Brief also examined the extent to which ELL students were concentrated in schools in 1999-2000.  Nationally in 1999-2000, 62 percent of public school students were in schools with an ELL student population of less than 1 percent of the school population.  However, in the West, 19 percent of students were in schools with ELL populations comprising at least 25 percent of the school population; 7 percent of students in the West were in schools comprising over 50 percent ELL students.


To download, view and print the report as a PDF file, please visit:


Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created in 1995 by Prudential Financial, Inc. in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals ( to honor middle and high school students for outstanding volunteer service to their communities. Over the past nine years the program has honored more than 55,000 young volunteers at the local, state, and national level.


To be eligible for the program, a student must be in fifth grade or above, in any state, the District of Columbia, or Puerto Rico as of October 29, 2004; have engaged in a volunteer activity that occurred at least in part after September 1, 2003; and complete an application and submit it to a school principal or the head of an officially designated local organization by October 29, 2004. The officially designated local organizations are a Girl Scout council, county 4-H organizations, Camp Fire USA council, YMCA, American Red Cross chapter, or member Volunteer Center of the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network.


Each participating school/organization will collect applications from interested students/members by the October 29, 2004, deadline, and will then select local honorees to compete in the state-level awards program.


Local honorees receive certificates of achievement from their schools or organizations. State honorees receive a $1,000 award, an engraved silver medallion, and an all-expenses-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., in May for several days of recognition events. Ten national honorees will receive an additional $5,000 award, an engraved gold medallion, and crystal trophies for their schools or organizations. They also will have $25,000 worth of children's products donated in each of their names to needy children in their communities by Kids In Distressed Situations, Inc.


Complete program information and application instructions are available at the program's Web site:


Teacher Surveys

ISBE is repeating the very successful on-line Teachers Survey of Needs as a tool for the Mathematics and Science Partnerships planning.  The survey can be found at: (between September 1 and November 1).  It is vital to have as many teachers complete this 10-minute survey as possible.  It includes questions about experience, teaching assignments and out-of-pocket expenses.  We had more than 2,000 responses to last year’s survey, but it is vital that we exceed that baseline this year.  Please encourage your district’s teachers of science and mathematics to become a part of the process.  Their input is very important.


As previously reported in the Superintendent’s Bulletin, the statewide teacher technology survey has been extended through October 31, 2004. This survey can be accessed at and measures staff technology competencies.  This survey system from The Center for Teaching and Learning includes an online report module that includes local and county level summary reports.  Please continue to encourage your teachers to participate in this important survey.  Please contact Bob Dumke at 1-866-426-0700 for further information or questions.


Hearst Scholarship Applications Due 9/28/04

A $5,000 scholarship and week-long trip to Washington D.C. will be awarded to two Illinois junior/senior high school students. The United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP) brochure and application for the Hearst Scholarship are now available at  The application may be printed from our website, but a hard copy must be completed, signed, delivered/sent and received by our office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, September 28, 2004.  If you have any questions or concerns please contact Cornelia Powell by e-mail ( or call 217/557-7323.


Harriet Fulbright to Speak

Mrs. Harriet Fulbright will be speaking at the Illinois State Library in Springfield on the evening of November 8. She will be speaking about citizen diplomacy. Past recipients of Fulbright awards for the teachers and administrators exchange program are invited to meet Mrs. Fulbright and attend a reception preceding the official presentations. For more information contact Anne Sustik at

Principal’s Flip Chart

The division of Curriculum and Instruction is proud to announce a new publication entitled “Principal’s Flip Chart for Grades 4-8.” This flip chart is intended to give administrators an overview on effective literacy practices that should be taking place for students in Grades 4-8. Specific information is provided relative to content area reading and writing instruction. Copies should be available in October. The division is also working on a flip chart for high school administrators as well as updating the previous early grades flip charts. These should be available in late November. For more information contact Anne Sustik at


REMINDER - Assessment Data Update

Due to the large number of data corrections, final ISAT and IMAGE reports will not be posted on SchoolHouse ( until Monday, September 20, 2004. PSAE reports will be posted later that week. The IAA reports will be available online Monday, September 20 as well; however, these reports are not different from the ones mailed to districts in June 2004. Hard copies of ISAT and IMAGE reports will arrive early October. The Preliminary AYP Participation Report is preliminary data only. Official AYP status will be sent to school in early October.

Log onto


REMINDER - Prairie State Achievement Examination as a Condition of Graduation

Public Act 93-857

This is to notify you of the enactment and implementation of Public Act 93-857 – Prairie State Achievement Examination as a Condition of Graduation.


On August 3, 2004, Governor Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 2769 (Public Act 93-857) to require all students to take the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) as a condition of receiving a regular high school diploma unless the student is exempted because:


Changes for the 2004-2005 School Year

As the new law is effective immediately, school districts will be required to ensure all students graduating during the 2004-05 school year, and all subsequent years, have taken the PSAE prior to the issuance of a diploma.  Any seniors for this school year that have not already taken the PSAE should register by September 17, 2004, for the grade 12 retake. 


Day 1 of the retake is to be taken on Saturday, October 23, 2004, at an established national ACT test center. Students must register using a paper ACT registration folder and use a PSAE Grade 12 Retake Voucher provided to high school counselors in August.  Day 2 is to be taken on Tuesday, October 26, 2004, during an in-school test session.  Schools must order Day 2 test materials directly from Pearson Education Measurement (PEM) by September 17, 2004.


During the 2004-05 school year, students who are not able to participate in the retake may take just Day 1 on another national ACT test date (see schedule below) to meet the new requirement.  In order for these ACT scores to meet the requirement for taking the PSAE, students will need to register using a paper ACT registration folder and a PSAE Day 1 Voucher.  Directions and copies of the voucher to be used for test dates beyond October will be provided to superintendents shortly.

ACT Test Date

Registration Deadline

December 11, 2004

November 5, 2004

February 12, 2005

January 7, 2005

April 9, 2005

March 4, 2005

June 11, 2005

May 6, 2005


Future School Years

School districts are reminded that the Prairie State Achievement Examination is to be administered to all eligible grade 11 students. Additional direction will be forthcoming concerning the examination process for students in future years who have not taken the PSAE prior to entering grade 12.


School Board Policy

School boards should adopt policies concerning this new provision in the law, including:


Within two weeks, the Student Assessment Division will provide you with details related to the use of vouchers for 2004-2005 ACT national test dates beyond October.  All of the above information will be online at .


REMINDER - Illinois Assessment Frameworks Update

The Illinois Assessment Frameworks are blueprints for the state assessments that will be administered beginning in the 2005-2006 school year. These frameworks are not intended to be content curriculum guides but instead provide districts with guidelines to what and when areas of the Illinois Learning Standards will be assessed.


The Frameworks were first posted in October 2003, in order to move along our test design process. Through this process, however, practitioners have provided input and guidance on these documents. Therefore, the Student Assessment Division has incorporated this input into the Frameworks. The revised Illinois Science Assessment Framework for grades 4 and 7 and the revised Illinois Mathematics Assessment Framework for grades 3–8 will be available on Friday, Sept. 10, 2004. The revised Illinois Reading Assessment Framework for grades 3–8 are now online as well. You may download these Frameworks online at


We appreciate greatly the input and work that we have received from practitioners around the state in order to provide frameworks that reflect the standards.