Sent: Monday, February 07, 2005 10:44 AM
Subject: Weekly Message from State Superintendent Randy J. Dunn 2-7-05
Good morning,


I want to take a moment today to share with you a sentiment I have already passed on to the staff members here at the Illinois State Board of Education.


Along with you this past Thursday, many ISBE employees followed the Governor’s State of the State message.  While many approached the event with some anxiety, I think, it did turn out to be a more pleasurable experience than was the case for ISBE employees last year.


I am appreciative of the positive attention the Governor provided and certainly welcome the kudos the Agency received.


The point that I felt was important to share with the folks here at ISBE is as follows: Any acclaim or praise we garnered this past Thursday was due to both the work and dedication of the ISBE staff, and not just those of us who joined the Agency this past September.  Whether it was tackling the certification backlog, handling Report Card corrections, or just dealing with individual school and district issues—any successes we’ve had over the last few months are due to the hard work and collective effort of a large number of people at ISBE, both in the Springfield and Chicago offices.  That fact is not lost on those of us who started here on September 20.


We will continue to get better in our direct service to you and, indirectly, all children of the State of Illinois.  I continue to be very grateful for your support and assistance during this period.




Randy Dunn

State Superintendent of Schools (Interim)


Also in today’s message:


Ad Hoc rules committee

Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Jesse Ruiz has established an Ad Hoc Rules Committee to review all suggested revisions to administrative rules during the agency's rules streamlining initiative.  All board members will serve on this committee.


The first meeting of this committee will be on Wednesday, February 16, as will be noted in the schedule of meetings when posted


Corrections windows announced for 2005 state assessment

In order that schools/districts can more fully prepare for data corrections for the 2005 state assessments, the ISBE Student Assessment Division has posted a detailed schedule of critical activities and dates at It is imperative that school personnel be available to assist in the correction process during the dates specified.


Prairie State Achievement Examination request for sealed proposals (RFSP)

The RSFP for Prairie State was released on January 28, 2005.  You can see the RFSP at  The RFSP is posted officially on the Illinois Procurement Bulletin.


Illinois Alternate Assessment

Schools administering the Illinois Alternate Assessment should have received student binders and demographic forms this week.  If your school did not receive its materials or is in need of additional materials, contact Amanda Breitmaier at Measured Progress at 877-732-5306.  Friday, February 11, is the last date to order materials for the 2004-05 test.  Friday, February 25 is the last day to ship portfolios to Measured Progress for scoring.  If you have additional questions, contact Marilyn Leveque in Student Assessment at 217-782-4823.


Apply for the Student Advisory Council

The State Board of Education is pleased to announce its decision to reestablish the Student Advisory Council (SAC).


Originally created in 1975 by the Illinois State Board of Education, SAC is made up of 20 or more students representing all regions of the state. At the expense of the agency, members are invited to Springfield and Chicago for Board meetings, sessions of the General Assembly, and applicable education-related conferences. They review and critique ISBE’s existing or proposed programs, policies, and regulations, sponsor cooperatively with the ISBE conferences, seminars, etc., pertaining to student-related, education issues, inform Illinois students of SAC activities; and provide testimony at legislative or board hearings.


Eligibility to apply for the 2005-2006 SAC will be limited to public school students. Given the need to hear from students on some of the more complicated issues faced by our state, special consideration will be given to applicants from low-performing schools or districts. An application form, due April 29, 2005 is now available at


Notice of completed rulemaking

Please be advised that a rulemaking item recently adopted by the State Board of Education is now in effect.  This updated set of rules has been posted on the agency’s website 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.)


Part 1 (Public Schools Evaluation, Recognition and Supervision)


This rulemaking consists almost entirely of technical corrections that are needed to ensure continuity in certification policy.  When the personnel-related portions of Part 1 were most recently amended (effective June 1, 2004), no changes were intended in the requirements for serving in the middle grades.  However, by virtue of the way the various rules work together, the specific lists of required coursework for teachers whose fields are reading or library/media science became inapplicable and were not replaced.  Section 1.720 therefore needed to be amended to restate the specific topics that the required 18 hours in the field must address.


Similarly, in the recent amendment process several long-standing requirements for the assignment of teachers in career and technical education programs were inadvertently omitted.  These details chiefly have to do with the requirement for work experience in the field to be taught and need to be added to new Section 1.737.  The wording change in the title and in subsection (a) of Section 1.737 is being made only to ensure that it is clear that the requirements expressed apply to grade 9 regardless of the configuration of grades among schools in a district.


The only policy change being made via Appendix A is to re-amend the validity of the provisional vocational certificate.  Educators in the field as well as representatives of the regional superintendents who deal with certification issues have indicated that smaller districts in particular will be unable to offer career and technical education programs if they are required to employ different staff for exploration and orientation (grades 7 through 10) than for the “skill-level” instruction in grades 11 and 12.


Affected Sections:         1.720, 1.737, and 1.Appendix A


Effective Date:  January 24, 2005


Microsoft Select Agreement savings

ISBE has a Microsoft Select Volume Licensing Agreement in effect through February 2007 enabling public schools and public academic organizations to order Microsoft products at significant discounts. Software licenses and media can be ordered under the Select Program and there is no minimum order requirement for your organization. All key Microsoft products like Microsoft Office and Windows Servers as well as Macintosh versions of Office are available to order from the Select Program.


Many Illinois public schools and organizations have benefited from savings provided through the Microsoft Select Program over the past ten years. You can find current information on how to use the Select program and a listing of the Microsoft approved Resellers who have enrollments in place with ISBE to process your orders at:


Social/Emotional Learning Standards available online

The Social/Emotional Learning Standards were approved by the Illinois State Board of Education on December 16, 2004.  The standards and benchmarks are now available as downloadable PDF or Word Documents on the Illinois Standards page

of the ISBE website.  Performance Descriptors and other resources for the Social/Emotional Learning Standards will also be placed on this site as they become available.


Weekly Message email reminder

Last week we asked that anyone wishing to receive this weekly message should send a note making that request to and including the email address.  Some systems put up filters to exclude group emails.  Please tell anyone to whom you forwarded the message that in order to receive the message they need to make sure their webmaster or service administrator allows group messages from ISBE.


Health and academic achievement

The Society of State Directors of Health, Physical Education and Recreation has made the PowerPoint document “Making the Connection:  Health and Student Achievement” available for use on its website.  This presentation provides an overview of the research linking health status and behavior with academic achievement.  It can be downloaded at


Applications available for National Youth Science Camp

Governor Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois State Board of Education are pleased to open the process for delegate selection to the National Youth Science Camp (NYSC).  This exceptional opportunity for graduating seniors is a four-week, all-expense paid program that will take place between June 30 and July 25, 2005.  Delegates are challenged to explore new areas in the biological and physical sciences, art, and music with resident staff members.  They also may present seminars covering their own areas of interest and research.  The delegates visit Washington, D.C., to take advantage of some of the nation's premier scientific, governmental, and cultural facilities.  The four-week experience includes three overnight expeditions into the Monongahela National Forest featuring backpacking, rock-climbing, caving, mountain-biking, or kayaking opportunities. 


More information about the program can be accessed at:


Applications are due February 18.  Please contact Gwen Pollock at

for electronic copies of the application materials.  If you need hard copies of the materials, please call 217/557-7323 for assistance.


Early Reading First Program

Early Reading First, part of the President's "Good Start, Grow Smart" initiative, is designed to transform existing early education programs into centers of excellence that provide high-quality, early education to young children, especially those from low-income families. The overall purpose of the Early Reading First Program is to prepare young children to enter kindergarten with the necessary language, cognitive, and early reading skills to prevent reading difficulties and ensure school success. The Early Reading First application package is available electronically at


For more information regarding Early Reading First, contact Becky Haynes at or 202/260-0968, or Eric McGhee at or 202/205-8736.


Black History Month Living Histories Project (January 17– March 4, 2005)

As part of Illinois Black History Month activities, the Northwestern University Collaboratory Project, in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education and The HistoryMakers, invites all Illinois K-12 students to participate in the Black History Month Living Histories Project.  Students can use a shared virtual library of Internet resources to learn about the stories of today’s Black America, share reviews of books they have read about Black Heritage and its heroes and take an on-line survey to learn about the other students who are participating in the Project.  Using videos in The HistoryMakers archive of oral histories ( ), information from books and web sites, students can share and discuss essays, reports, oral histories, documentaries, etc. they create using text, graphics, sound, and/or video.


More information about participating in the Black History Month Living Histories Project can be found on the Collaboratory Project Web site


Enhancing chemistry conference announced

Chemistry teachers are invited to attend “Enhancing Chemistry” to be held on Friday, March 18, at The Illini Union in Urbana.  For additional information and registration please visit


Tourette Syndrome camp programs

The Tourette Syndrome Camp Organization has two residential camp programs for boys and girls aged 8-16 who have a primary diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome.  Please visit for additional information and registration forms.


Weekly newsclips

News clips may be accessed at: