Sent: Friday, September 24, 2004 5:23 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from Interim State Superintendent Randy J. Dunn 9-24-04
Good Afternoon.


It’s been a hectic first week to say the least, but I have just about survived it.  Again, I appreciate your good wishes and messages of support over the past few days.


Thank you all for your participation in the ISBE Annual Superintendents’ Conference.  I trust you all made it back to your districts safely and are now fully immersed in the work of leading your districts.  From my vantage point, the conference seemed to be well received and many positive comments on it were received.


The slides from the presentations are available on the web.  They can be accessed from the ISBE web page ( under Hot Topics and Resources.  Double click on “PowerPoints from Superintendents’ Conference” and you can select the slides you wish to view. 


We will continue the practice of sending out the weekly (or near-weekly) information emails updating you on things we are doing here at the agency to assist you in the work you do.  I look forward to continued communication over the next several weeks and months, and wish you and your districts the best in this coming school year.


Randy J. Dunn

State Superintendent of Education (Interim)


Also included in today’s message:


·         Notice to Superintendents of districts that made changes in their list of schools receiving Title I funds for FY 04-05 compared to FY03-04 or that are declining Title I funds for FY 2004-2005

·         2003-2004 Driver Education Claim Report due October 1

·         Safe and Healthy Schools Grants

·         Prairie State Achievement Examination as a Condition of Graduation Public Act 93-857 – Reminder

·         IMAGE Testing Grades and Dates – Reminder

·         Illinois Assessment Frameworks - Reminder

·         Homework Assistance Information

·         Educating Students on the Electoral Process

·         News Clips


Notice to Superintendents of districts that made changes in their list of schools receiving Title I funds for FY 04-05 compared to FY03-04 or that are declining Title I funds for FY 2004-05

Please be advised that the window for applying for NCLB Title formula grants via the consolidated application (Title I-A, Title II-A, Title II-D, Title IV, and Title V) remains open until at least December each year. Therefore, as of now, any changes a district has indicated in their FY 04-05 NCLB consolidated application with regard to the schools receiving Title I funds compared to FY 03-04  are not currently reflected in the school status determinations made to-date by the Data Analysis Division.


Similarly, any district which has formally notified the Federal Grants and Programs Division that it is declining all Title I funds for FY 04-05 will not immediately see this fact reflected in school status reports, as the district will currently show simply as "not having applied for funds" in the e-GMS system until the application window closes in December.


Any district superintendent who has withdrawn a school or schools from Title I services for FY 04-05 or who has indicated that his or her district will not be accepting Title I funds for FY 04-05 may request a letter from the Federal Grants and Programs Division that clarifies whether a particular school(s) is subject to NCLB sanctions such as Choice or Supplementary Educational Services (SES). Contact Christopher Walczak, Division Administrator for Federal Grants and Programs at 217-524-4832 or e-mail at for further information.


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.


Safe and Healthy Schools Grants

As you may know, Governor Blagojevich has launched a Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative to help K-12 schools find ways to improve the environmental and energy efficiency of their buildings and operations. This program offers schools free on-site assistance to identify ways to reduce waste, save energy and improve the indoor environment.   Small grants are also available to help schools fund environmental improvement projects.  For more information, contact the Illinois EPA at 217/557-4959 or visit the agency's website at:


Prairie State Achievement Examination as a Condition of Graduation

Public Act 93-857 - Reminder


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:

·         the student’s individualized educational program developed under Article 14 of the School Code identifies PSAE as inappropriate for the student; or

·         the student is exempt due to the student’s lack of English language proficiency; or

·         the student is enrolled in a program of Adult and Continuing Education as defined in the Adult Education Act.


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. 


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:


Expect additional information from the Student Assessment Division in a few weeks related to the use of vouchers for 2004-2005 ACT national test dates beyond October.  All of the above information will be online at .


IMAGE Testing Grades and Dates - Reminder

Due to the new assessment changes in state law, IMAGE for spring of 2005 will only be testing reading and math in grades 3, 5, 8 and 11. 


For this year, the grade 11 students taking IMAGE will be tested at the same time as PSAE – April 27 -28; makeup May 11-12  Testing dates for all tests can be found at


Illinois Assessment Frameworks Update - Reminder

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 are available. The revised Illinois Reading Assessment Framework for grades 3–8 will be available next week. You may download these Frameworks by going to


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.


Homework Assistance Information

Homework assistance information is available to parents on ISBE’s webpage.  By clicking on the Students/Parents category listed in the left margin of ISBE’s homepage, scrolling down to Student Learning, and clicking on Homework Assistance, students and parents have a wealth of resources at their fingertips.  From language arts to biographies to foreign language, this collection of web-based resources offers students and parents quick and easy access to all their homework queries. 


Educating Students on the Electoral Process

iVote is a project to encourage Illinois K-12 students to participate in the electoral process by

reporting on the candidates and issues for the 2004 Presidential and Senatorial elections and

participating in a State-wide online vote. 


Register your class at


Please direct any questions to or contact your local Learning Technology Center.


iVote is sponsored by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois State Board of Elections, in partnership with the Northwestern University Collaboratory Project and ISBE Learning Technology Centers.


News Clips