Sent: Tuesday, February 22, 2005 12:16 PM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy Dunn 2-22-05
 Please forward the Superintendent’s Weekly Message

to principals and other district and building administrators.



Good afternoon,


It was my good pleasure to see so many superintendent and other professional colleagues this past weekend in San Antonio at the 137th National Conference on Education sponsored by the American Association of School Administrators.  One of the highlights of the Conference each year is the naming of the national Superintendent of the Year—and our state was well represented in the competition this year by the Illinois winner, Dr. Fran Karanovich, Superintendent of Macomb CUSD No 185.


As you would expect, my email in-box has been overflowing with your various thoughts around both the FY 2006 ISBE proposed budget and the budget process.  It is going to be difficult for me to answer these individually—but please continue to send me your comments and I’ll continue to monitor discussions on the list-serves.  I will try to address a few of the broad issues that are collectively raised in a future opener to the Weekly Message.


This upcoming weekend I’ll be attending the National Education Summit on High Schools that is preceding the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington, DC.  I hope to have some more information on President Bush’s plans for high school testing and reform coming out of that meeting.


Have a good week.   




Randy Dunn

State Superintendent of Schools (Interim)



Included in today’s message:




Illinois Childhood Hunger Relief Act

On February 15, 2005, Governor Rod Blagojevich signed the Illinois Childhood Hunger Relief Act. House Bill (HB) 756 which stipulates that all schools in which at least 40 percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches must also provide a breakfast meal.  The law allows districts 90 days, or until May 15, 2005, to determine which of their schools qualify under the 40 percent threshold.


To assist you in this process, the State Board will be posting a listing of sites that may be required to implement a breakfast program under the new law.  We hope to have this information available through our website at no later than March 1, 2005. Districts that will be included in the listing will also receive hard copy notification in the mail. 


Funding assistance is available to districts in two forms—grants, and federal and state reimbursement per meal served.  Our Nutrition Programs and Support Services staff is available at 800/545-7892 or 217/782-2491 to provide assistance with grant/reimbursement applications or program operations (e.g., cost analyses from school to school, quality of meal determinations, student participation, menu planning, implementation options).  


The full text of the legislation is available at



March 11 postmark deadline for School Code waiver applications

Friday, March 11, is the next postmark deadline for submitting requests to waive School Code mandates.  Such requests must be received by March 11 in order to be included in the May 1, 2005 report that will be sent to the Illinois General Assembly for consideration during its spring 2005 session.


Please note that this deadline does not apply for requests to modify School Code mandates or to waive or modify administrative rules; however, approval must be granted before a modification can be implemented.


Most requests addressing School Code mandates are considered to be waivers, with the exception of those dealing with legal school holidays, the Prairie State Achievement Examination and instructional time, and block scheduling of physical education. 


Applicants eligible to apply for waivers are:

·         school districts,

·         independent authorities established pursuant to Section 2-3.25f of the School Code,

·         joint agreements made up of school districts (i.e., special or vocational education cooperatives),

·         Regional Superintendents of Schools applying on behalf of schools and programs operated by them, and

·         Intermediate Service Centers (ISCs) applying on behalf of alternative schools established pursuant to Article 13A of the School Code. 


In addition to other public notice requirements, the waiver law now requires an applicant with a governing board (i.e., a school district, a joint agreement, or an ISC) to hold the public hearing on a day other than the day of a regular board meeting.  All applicants must provide written notification about the hearing to their state legislators.


The two links below will give you more detailed information on the waiver law and process.  If you have any questions, please contact the Rules and Waivers Unit at (217) 782-5270 or by e-mail at:  Introduction to waivers  Waiver application and instructions



Illinois State Board of Education to host forum on assessment and accountability for students with disabilities

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) will host a forum on Friday, February 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. regarding the assessment of and accountability for students with disabilities. The forum panel will hear from personnel from local school districts that have appealed the AYP status of their schools and/or districts because of their special education subgroup performance. The panel will consist of Dr. David Fields of the State Board of Education, Chair of the Board’s Education Policy Planning Committee, a representative from the Illinois State Advisory Council on the Education of Children with Disabilities, a Director of Special Education from a school district, State Superintendent Dr. Randy Dunn and other members of the ISBE staff.


Presenters will be able to express local concerns to the panel. They have also been asked to offer short and long-term recommendations on how to assess all students and hold all districts accountable. Specifically, ISBE is asking for recommendations on how to amend its Accountability Workbook. Your attendance is welcome. If you have recommendations to share, please leave that information with ISBE staff at the forum or send them in via email to Gail Lieberman at  The forum will be held in the Fourth Floor Board Room at the Illinois State Board of Education, 100 North First Street, Springfield.



Early Childhood Block Grant RFPs released

Two Early Childhood Block Grant FY 2006 Request for Proposals (RFP) for new funds have been released.  For FY 2006, the Early Childhood Block Grant for new funds has been separated into two RFPs, one for ages three to five years and one for birth to age three years. 


The Early Childhood Block Grant for Ages Three to Five Years:  New Learning Partners – 06 includes the Pre-Kindergarten Program for Children at Risk of Academic Failure initiative and the Model Early Childhood Parental Training (three to five) initiative. 


The Early Childhood Block Grant for Birth to Age Three Years:  Early Learning Partners – 06 includes the Prevention Initiative for Programs Offering Coordinated Services to At Risk Children and Their Families initiative and the Model Early Childhood Parental Training (Birth to Three years) initiative.  Public school districts, university laboratory schools approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), charter schools, area vocational centers and other entities are eligible to submit a proposal.  Applicants other than public school districts must provide evidence of existing competencies to provide early childhood education programs.


The RFPs are available online at . The RFPs can also be obtained by contacting the Early Childhood Division at 217/524-4835.


ECBG bidders’ conferences will be held for both RFPs.  Attendance at a bidders’ conference is recommended but is not required.  Security procedures require a photo identification for entry at each location.


Springfield                                                               Chicago

IEA - Professional Development Center                   James R. Thompson Center

3440 Liberty Drive                                                  100 West Randolph

Thursday, March 10, 2005                                       Thursday, March 17, 2005

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.                                           10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Board Room                                                           Concourse, Auditorium


Should the conditions of this RFP change as a result of the bidders' conferences, the State Board of Education will notify all recipients of the RFP of the changes.



Early Childhood Block Grant continuation applications go electronic

Continuing applications for the Early Childhood Block Grant (ECBG) will be offered through the Electronic Grant Management System (eGMS) for school year 2005-2006 (FY 2006).  All Early Childhood Block Grant programs funded in FY 2005 will apply online for their FY 2006 continuation grant funds.  Two ECBG continuation grant applications will be available – a birth to three application and a three to five application.  Applicants will complete both applications if they are authorized to offer programs for birth to three and three to five.  Applicants will be notified of the availability of the Early Childhood Block Continuation Grants via the Superintendent’s Message and information will be posted on the Early Childhood Block Grant webpage  The grant applications are expected to become available during the second half of March.


Continuation application training sessions will be provided on the following dates:


Chicago - March 17, 2005 - 1 to 3 p.m.  

James R. Thompson Center, Concourse, Auditorium       

100 West Randolph


Springfield - March 21, 2005 - 1 to 3 p.m.          

IEA – Professional Development Center, Board Room

3440 Liberty Drive


Southern Illinois1 to 3 p.m. - Date to be announced

Location to be announced


If you have questions, please contact the Early Childhood Division at 217/524-4835.



Upcoming survey of critical technologies for CTE/math/science teachers

ISBE will launch a special survey of Illinois’ mathematics, science and career/technical education teachers (selected by a scientific random sampling from grades six through 12) very soon.  The survey has been designed to assess the needs for teaching and learning the emerging scientific and mathematical concepts for 21st century advanced research and entrepreneurial venues.


We need to learn from Illinois teachers about their knowledge bases, professional development interests and curricular preferences associated with concepts like biotechnologies, biodefenses, bioremediation, post-genomics, nanotechnologies, modeling complex non-linear systems and graph theory. 


The findings will be vital as we deliberate accessing new curricular resources and providing more effective professional development.  We will share the findings in a report that will be distributed to the leaders in science, mathematics and career and technical education, as well as decision-makers at all levels.  They will substantiate your ongoing interest in accessing the best current and emerging research and applications for our future scientists, mathematicians, engineers and most importantly our future citizens. 



Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) was established to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.  Free meals that meet Federal nutrition guidelines are provided to all children at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children.  SFSP operates during school vacations, primarily in the summer months—May through September.


Contact Amy Bianco at 800/545-7892 or visit the Nutrition Programs and Support Services SFSP’s website at for more information or assistance.



Severe Weather Preparedness Week

Severe Weather Preparedness Week is scheduled for February 27 through March 5, 2005.  The statewide tornado drill is scheduled for Tuesday March 1, 2005, at 10 a.m. 


There are a number of severe weather hazards that affect Illinois, including thunderstorms, tornadoes, lightning, floods and flash floods, damaging winds and large hail.  Severe weather hazards have the potential to cause extensive property damage, injury and/or death.  This week is observed to highlight the importance of knowing what steps to take before, during and after severe weather strikes.  Also, at the back of the booklet, we have included information for creating an emergency supply kit.  These suggestions can, of course, be adapted to specific family needs.


The Severe Weather Preparedness booklet is available at



Discover! Institute  June 26-29, 2005, West Lafayette, Indiana

DISCOVER! is a high-quality summer institute in the Midwest for educators committed to gifted education and talent development that integrates components of learning, enjoyment, and relaxation in a collegial atmosphere. Developed by Purdue’s Gifted Education Resource Institute (GERI) in association with the National Association for Gifted Children’s Counseling and Guidance division. It is funded in part by the Indiana Department of Education. The program promises to help educators effectively serve gifted and talented children, and to help educators discover and develop talents in all children.  For more information please visit, or call 765/494-7243.



ISBE employment opportunities

An external vacancy list is available at



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